My sweet Jude,
I’ve tried to write so many things since you were born. Between exhaustion and busyness and pain meds and generally feeling overwhelmed with emotions, the words just haven’t come. Now you’re three weeks old and asleep beside me while I write, and I want to try to capture at least a few thoughts.
Bringing you into the world was not what I anticipated. I expected pain. I expected to be exhausted. I did not expect to check in to the hospital completely sleep deprived. I did not expect the epidural to fail. I did not expect to labor for 25 hours and wind up with a cesarean anyway. Maybe that felt like failure. Did I not prepare enough? Should I have done something differently?
This is what 25 hours of labor and an emergency surgery looked like that night. It wasn’t pretty. I felt entirely too much of the surgery. My first look at you was through a sheet of plastic – a far cry from the skin-to-skin “golden hour” that we’d planned on. I laid on the table, in tears, frustrated and tired and medicated. One of the few things I remember was your dad looking at me, telling me that you were here, and that was the only thing that mattered. I left the OR in a drug haze, much too aware of the pain, able to move my legs despite the epidural. I remember sobbing, overhearing your dad asking the nurse what was wrong with me. Then they gave you to me and it didn’t matter. None of it mattered. The surgery didn’t matter, the pain didn’t matter.
Because you are perfect.
Now that you’re here, the fears and concerns are different. There are so many decisions, so many things to be afraid of. So many things the world tells us we should worry about. What should I eat or not eat while nursing? Are you gaining enough weight? Am I holding you too much? Not enough? Are you going to get sick if we bring you out in public too soon? Which vaccines do you need? Is our faith strong enough? Can we teach you enough? Will we be able to give you enough?
It feels overwhelming. I had no idea you could love someone so much you just start to cry sometimes. I understand why people do this over and over. It’s not because it’s easy, because it’s pretty much the opposite. It’s because these moments are so fleeting, and these sweet newborn days will be gone way before I’m ready for them to be gone. I’ll be back at work way before I’m ready to be back at work, missing more and more of your days. Life will start to return to “normal” after my recovery, but everything is different.
So, right now, I’ll hold you too much. I’ll enjoy the 4am feedings, the endless diaper changes. I’ll stare at you while you sleep instead of trying to keep the house clean, because before we know it this will be over and our “normal” will change again.
We love you so, so much, sweet boy. We are so excited about who you will become, and as much as I want to cling to these first days and weeks, I know that I will love first steps and first words and first days of school and every other day and week to come.
Love you to the stars,