Exactly a week from today is the 9th June 2015. My 7 pound 12oz little baby boy will be a one year old.
I want next week to be about him and the celebration, and so I thought this would be a good time to have my own little "moment".
It feels huge. I call it "this" because the word motherhood doesn't quite cut it. Nor does parenthood. It's been one year since the world became a better place for me. A year since someone switched on a light. It literally feels like my life began again on the 9th June 2014.
Someone recently said to me that your baby will never need you quite as much as they did in that first year. Emphasising the poignancy of reaching the one year mark as a parent. It makes sense really. Of course they will always need us though. I'm twenty five and I need my mother on a daily basis most of the time, but they will never be quite as defenseless and innocent. They enter the world with a big scream, scared probably. Before you know it you are dressing them - never imagining that you would be so nervous to put clothes on something so delicate. The midwives tell you that they are not "that fragile" and to relax, but you can't. You want to offer this baby everything in the most perfect way possible. Anything short of perfection seems unjust. They are the purest form of beautiful perfection you have ever or will ever lay eyes upon.
That moment that your baby is placed upon your chest is something that words will never ever be able to convey for me. Their body is so warm, but not just in the physical sense. It's euphoric. Mystical almost. As I write this I am welling up at the memory of that moment. The moment I met my son. I was shocked because in the end he was born by forceps delivery. It seemed like I was dreaming when I actually saw him appear. I had imagined, dreamt and wanted this moment so desperately. I knew it would feel sensational. But I genuinely never could have imagined just how incredible it would feel. Incredible feels like a silly word to use. Not strong enough. It was just out of this world intense, raw and unforgiving love. And pride. Nothing could ever prepare you for that feeling.
My mother describes this photo as "You are my mammy". I remember him starring at me, wondering what he was thinking, and just knowing that I would do anything and everything to protect him in this life.
And then there were those first days. The skin to skin. Oh lord the skin to skin. If I close my eyes I can actually feel it again. What a sensation. Their warm quiet breathe accompanied by your steady heartbeat. Nestled against your skin, they are the epitome of content. They are exactly where they are supposed to be.
I look at this and I see how puffy my face was, the fact that my nursing nightdress is far too loose and not quite sitting properly, and yet all I can see is "pinch me". I remember lying there, waiting for visitors, and I knew that nothing would ever feel as precious as that moment.
And then there's this photo. I never expected to share it here. Perhaps because it's always been one of the "special ones". I'm sharing it though, because I came across it only this week on my boyfriend's phone. He came to visit myself and Billy (I say visit but he was there pretty much constantly for the six day, always being kicked out eventually) and this is what greeted him. Both asleep. He said it was a very special moment for him. His new family. This photo just touches me like no other. It's as though I'm back there in that moment. I can almost smell that new baby smell again. Amazing.
And this one. He looks like a porcelain doll. And he felt like one. Delicate and perfect. This photo reminds me of how amazing that first shower felt. I had tried to have one the day I gave birth but ended up fainting as I stepped in to the shower. The next morning I was able to have one and it felt so wonderful to get in to clean PJs and snuggle up with my baby (who was wearing newborn clothes and yet they were completely swimming on him. Can anything prepare you for the sheer tinyness?).
The next few days were centred around skin to skin, starring at his perfect face, his first bath and trying to establish breastfeeding. A whirlwind of love, fear, exhaustion and gratitude.
I didn't want to leave his side. Sure I still don't most of the time. See that bottle beside me? I had given up breastfeeding at this stage, devastated that he just wouldn't latch. A midwife has recommended constant skin to skin. Little did I know that the next morning I would try again and it would be the true beginning of our beautiful breastfeeding journey.
On day six we arrived home. A ready made family. Daddy had a new best friend. It was a truly magical time.
And somehow we've ended up here. A year on. We're in a new house, he's in a new size clothes, and he has a lot more hair.
He is also the most incredible little boy. Full of life and smiles. His laugh would make anyone's day.
Billy, my darling, thank you for choosing me to be your mother. Thank you for every single laugh, tear, cuddle and sleepless night.
Never ever change my love.
Labels: birth, breastfeeding, parenting