Monday 17 October 2016

Seven Weeks and Counting

Time is a funny thing, isn’t it? You’ve only been here for seven weeks but it feels like you’ve always been a part of this family. I can barely remember life before you arrived. It seems you’ve always been here, snuggled up asleep on my chest. I don’t remember what it was like to sleep without you in my arms. Life before you is a distant memory now.

So much seems to have happened in those seven weeks. Each week of pregnancy seemed to stretch out before me like an eternity, and now that you’re here, a week passes in a heartbeat. Sievenweeks, can it really have been so long?

It doesn’t feel that long ago since you were brand new. That surprisingly big baby staring up at me in the delivery room, taking my breath away with those deep murky blue eyes. I loved you so much straight away, even before I had properly laid eyes on you. It almost physically hurt me when I couldn’t hold you straight away, I just needed you in my arms. A minute later and there you were, where you should always have been, wrapped in my arms so I could breathe you in and make sure you knew where you belonged. That minute away from you felt like a lifetime, time has never passed that slowly before and I hope it never will again.

The early days of rawness are behind us now. The toe-curling pain at the beginning of each feed has been banished to my memory. Everything feels so easy now. I feel healed and brand new and it’s crazy to think that it was just six weeks ago when every inch of me hurt after the birth. How can the body heal so quickly from such a life-changing experience? There is nothing bigger in life than birth and yet just a few weeks later, I feel myself again. At the beginning, I had a bath every morning. I would sit in the bath, looking at my bruised veins from the cannula, and my stretched out tummy slowly trying to shrink back down, and I would wonder if I would ever feel like myself again. And now I do, so much so that I already feel I have forgotten what it feels like when your body feels damaged by birth.

Six weeks ago, I was busy grieving the birth I didn’t get. I wanted candles, music and strength. Instead I got bright lights, beeping machines and IVs. It wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t the beautiful empowering experience I wanted it to be. Six weeks ago, I thought I’d never come to terms with that. I thought I’d feel upset about the birth forever. I thought I’d never be able to process what had happened. But just six weeks later I feel a lot better. I have talked and talked and talked. I have researched and read and asked questions and now, finally, I can find the positives in my experience. I did what I had to do to keep myself, Ebony and the new baby safe and happy during the birth. I couldn’t really do anymore than that, could I?

I have already forgotten what it felt like to have just one child. I am so used to the chaos and sometimes seemingly impossibleness of having two. The rushed mornings trying to get everybody fed and dressed and out of the door on time. The manic afternoons of trying to cook dinner whilst caring for a baby who doesn’t want to be put down and a four year who is ‘starving to death’. The fun of including you in our games. Your big sister answers for you as we all play schools in the playroom. One of my favourite parts of the day is seeing the huge smile you give your sister when you see her for the first time when she gets home from school. I can tell she is already your favourite person and I’m not ashamed to admit I feel a little jealous of that.

The time we spend just the two of us is so unbelievably precious. Once your sister is dropped off at school, we have six hours ahead of us to spend just the two of us. You sleep for most of the day, snuggled up on my chest as my cuddle under a blanket in front of Gilmore Girls or held close to my chest in the wrap as we walk for miles. Those hours of calm and quiet bonding before we pick your sister up make me feel certain that this was the right age gap for us.

You sleep in my arms, you head propped up against my arm. I breathe you in as you sleep and love nothing more than seeing your face first thing in the morning. I love the huge smiles you give me when you first open your eyes. At some point during the night, your sister usually creeps into my bed as well, and I spend the night sandwiched between the two people I love most in the world.

A lot has happened during these seven weeks, you have already changed so much. You still spend most of the day sleeping, but you are awake for longer stretches now. You are more alert and will happily spend time just taking in your surroundings. You have the most beautiful smile and seem to be a very happy little (big) baby. You chatter away to us when you are awake and I love hearing the sounds you make. I am desperate for you to laugh and know that milestone can only be a few weeks away. These early days feel all the more special this time because I know how soon they will be gone. All those old ladies are right, babies really do grow up quick.

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