Exactly six months ago, I met you for the first time.
The moment you came into the world was strangely calm, and nothing like I expected. The room was fluorescent white and I couldn’t move. I’d planned to have you without interventions and without pain relief – I wanted to feel every second of your arrival, to experience it all with you – but luck and medical judgement had other ideas, and there I was lying half naked on a cold and uncomfortable table with a 5 inch incision just below the softest part of my belly (the part you like to smoosh with your fingers). Daddy was with me, all dressed in blue and looking every bit like one of the doctors but for the fear in his eyes. He was stroking my hair and telling me how proud he was. I didn’t feel proud, I felt scared and tired. I could feel pulling in my tummy and lots of movement, but it didn’t hurt at all. And then we heard you, a little bird-like squawk, and my eyes overflowed. I held Daddy’s hand super-tight and whispered, “He’s here!” and he kissed me and we held each other as best we could through the plastic tubes and tears.
My first glimpse of you was brief. The midwife let me see you quickly before she took you away to be checked over; you were red and swollen like a ripe strawberry, and you were still squawking, but not loudly. You weren’t as messy as I thought you’d be but you looked cold held out like that. I wanted to scoop you up and keep you safe and warm but I couldn’t. That was hard, not being able to give you the one thing I knew you wanted. Daddy went away with you and I was left alone on my metal framed island under the fluorescent sun, my head filled with doctor-husbands and little strawberries.
Our first cuddle came just a few minutes later (though it felt like hours). The doctors were stitching me back together and you came to me all wrapped up in a towel, your pink face poking out. You lay on my chest and you were completely relaxed, still and quiet, your black marble eyes gazing up at me. You were so calm. We said hello to you and you yawned back at us. The hustle of the operating theatre didn’t bother you, you just looked at me. I don’t remember much from that moment, not even your Daddy really – just your glossy eyes. Oh, and the adorable fold across the top of your nose that made you look like a pug! You had that for weeks!
You were born at 3.39am, so Daddy had to go home once we were settled on to the ward. We spent our first few hours together, you and me, curled up in bed. I didn’t sleep, I just watched you. You were so beautiful it made my heart hurt. Daddy and I exchanged a few texts but I was enjoying having you to myself and I wanted him to get some rest before he came back. I felt like your Mummy down to my soul that morning, and you were my precious baby son, and I knew I was going to love you forever and spend my life showing you how wonderful and rewarding the world can be.
And then chaos. And panic. And guilt. And paranoia. And crying. So much crying.
I can’t look at photos of you when you were tiny without feeling tearful and sad and sorry that you had to live for a while without the mama you had on your first morning on this planet, without the mama you deserved. But I have to be glad that she’s here now, and in those early moments, through the pain and confusion, she always loved you; I always loved you, more than a hundred forevers, more than life itself. I’m proud of you, my random giggler, my expert pee marksman, my enthusiastic nose chomper, my sweet little bug. Thank you for being so patient with me and for helping me heal. You’ve given me more than you’ll ever know.
I love you, my beautiful boy.