Happy first birthday little man! I cannot express in words how much I love you and how perfect you’ve been for our family and for me. Maybe you are shaking your head, I mean I found out about you one month after your twin sisters had their first birthday and Punkin was a mere 3.5 years old; who in their right mind thinks another baby at that point is perfect?
My wounded heart did.
Why was I wounded? I’ve never lost a child, never had to deal with the strain and pain that is a special child with disabilities. My children have all grown up “perfectly” and all my pregnancies have been without complications, officially anyway. I think all people (and especially parents) can understand the battles of dreams versus reality and how a dream is rarely the winner. If you have suffered through loss, unwelcome surprises, disappointments and a change you just weren’t expecting maybe you can empathize with me.
I’d had a beautiful dream. A dream where I snuggled my new baby in one arm while holding my big boy in the other. A dream where I juggled a second child with ease and grace. A dream where I got to wear my baby (Punkin lived in his ring sling), where I got to co-sleep (Punkin kicked me all night long as a week old infant so that didn’t last) and where I got to nurse past their first birthday (Punkin self-weaned at 11 months) and nurse exclusively. A dream where I let my baby lead me in sleeping and eating (I scheduled Punkin early on). Even before I had those rosy visions I dreamed of a perfect birth, a homebirth, naturally without the interventions and medicine that were pushed on me for Punkin’s birth. I dreamed of it all as I planned that second pregnancy.
Those dreams were short lived.
Within 10 days of a positive pregnancy test (after one super easy month of trying–I am aware after just those 2 weeks of waiting how lucky I am to be able to get pregnant so easily) I felt miserable. I knew immediately that something wasn’t right even though I was assured by my OBs office that every pregnancy is different and to just relax. At nine weeks we found out it was twins and I went into a temporary state of shock (and wanted to vomit off the exam table). The dreams started shattering soon after. The financial worries, the logistical worries (we’d just bought a Toyota Corolla that could not possibly fit three five point harness carseats), the guilt over not being able to care for my son (I was exhausted and felt sick all the time throughout most of the pregnancy) the guilt over letting the house go to shit… it was horrible. And then the babies came. A birth that wasn’t quite what I’d wanted but wasn’t what I would consider traumatic (though the spinal headache that sent me horizontal for a week after was pretty traumatic) it was another lost dream. More dreams came crashing down in the weeks following. Couldn’t co-sleep with twins (couldn’t SLEEP). I had to nurse them sitting up every.single.time. I couldn’t follow their individual schedules. I still couldn’t care for my older son because the babies took up my entire life. I couldn’t wear my babies because whenever I did they would fall asleep (totally the purpose of babywearing) and then the OTHER twin would need to be nursed, something I couldn’t do around a baby in a sling on my chest. It was fiasco after fiasco. I constantly felt cheated out of the experience of having two kids (I had two kids for 1 hr and 5 minutes). I was bitter and angry through the pregnancy and the first months about having twins. I was angry. I was lost. I was broken.
But you healed me.
I had a wonderful experience having my midwives come to my house (during naptime) for my appointments once a month. I felt a connection and a bond with them and felt none of the anxiety and “what ifs” I felt when preparing for my first two births. The birth itself fit in nicely between lunch and dinner and it brought me closer to my husband than I had ever thought to dream. Just like that the icky feelings I had about my first two births were all but washed away.
And then I had you.
You, my perfect boy (all 11 pounds of you!), who I felt like I’d known all along. My missing piece. I loved you immediately because I’d been waiting for you, you were not a stranger to me. Your father, you and I spent one glorious day alone together and from the very beginning you were so present so much a solid part of our family (not a pun on your chubby legs, cheeks and neck I assure you) that I never had room for the longing or sadness I’d felt before. You healed my heart of all the little cracks that stress and loss had created. You gave me what I wanted so desperately but couldn’t have with my other children (don’t worry, they gave me great things from all that confusion and pain too).
Maybe I wish you did sleep in your own bed, maybe I wish you didn’t nurse all night, maybe I wish I did go to work and leave you at daycare, and maybe I wish you didn’t look so damn cute when you grin so I could stay mad at you for all the trouble you get into. But I’m really glad I get to wish those things in the rare moments I do.
I’m so lucky to have you.
My baby. My heart.
Happy birthday buddy, Mama loves you.
Yes, you really are kind of a big deal 🙂