This is an entry into Kristen (Motherhood Uncensored) and Rebecca (Girls Gone Child) Baby Shower Contest. I am a HUGE fan of Rebecca’s blog and her book Rockabye: From Wild to Child. So this is an incredible honor and I couldn’t resist entering.
My pregnancy, minus the 80 pounds I’d gained, was perfect.
I loved the idea that I was creating a human being. And all the while, working full-time. Not to inconvenience myself, my body chose 6:00 p.m. on a Friday night, to start my labor. Just one hour before I’d left the office after finishing a major event I’d planned.
The anticipation was killing me. I couldn’t wait to meet him, my first baby, my first son. His name had come to me in Target of all places. I’d just found out he was a boy. And as I ran my fingers across a bundled cluster of blue outfits, so small, so unreal, the name echoed in my mind. I still can’t explain it. But I knew it would be Benjamin. I later found out that my great-grandfather, a Cherokee Indian, was named Benjamin.
I day dreamed constantly about him. About the moment when I would finally get to hold him in my arms and the moments when he would become a boy and then a man. I couldn’t stop patting my belly, feeling for a foot or an elbow, trying to create a bond before he even arrived.
The dreams intensified in the last few months of my pregnancy and once, in a night dream, I saw his face. He was above me, perhaps I was holding him up in the air, or maybe he was about to jump on me because he was older. His long dark hair surrounding his saucer eyes and his contagious smile. It was him.
Between dreaming I filled my nights and weekends with every baby show on television. I would cry at the end of every one and I tried to imagine what it would feel like for me. And when my moment came, when I felt him pressed against my chest, I buried my face in his hair and his skin and inhaled him. But, too quickly, the nurses took him back to measure him, weigh him and check for any defects. It was the first time in nine months we had been apart. I wanted him back desperately but they wouldn’t listen.
I will never give birth in a hospital again.
The next night Benjamin and I were alone in the cold hospital with the cold walls and the cold nurses. Everyone was gone, even his father. We had been alone all day and Benjamin wasn’t eating. He started to cry fiercely. I couldn’t move – no energy. I hadn’t slept in 24 hours and my body was still recovering. If I moved I would bleed.
In my desperation to sooth my child, I suddenly became a mother. My animal instincts possessed me and I just started kissing him. Over and over and over again. I smothered his face in kisses. His little nose, his eyes, his cheeks, his ears. Every inch. Like a mother cat licking her kitten, I couldn’t stop. After several minutes of these kisses, his cries slowed to sobs and then vanished as he slipped into a deep sleep.
For the next two years, when Benjamin screamed in the night, I would kiss his little face just as I had that night in the hospital. And like magic, he would calm down and slip into sleep. It’s been months now since I’ve needed to kiss him to sleep. I’m not sure if I’ll ever need to again because now my little baby is a boy.
The moments are happening.
My dreams are coming true.
But I’ll never forget those first few moments, in the beginning.
It was the beginning of his life but also the beginning of my life as a mother. Now we are still alone. Just Benjamin and I. Every once in a while I let him sleep in my bed and listen to his soft breaths. I’ll run my hands over his face and in the dark, I still see my newborn baby beside me. Then I’ll pull him tight, up against my chest and dream about the past – about those first few months – the most painfully trying yet most incredibly magical moments of my life.
This is, in a way, still the beginning. But every beginning has an end. So enjoy it! Enjoy every moment of those little feet and little toes. And when in doubt, let the kisses fly!
[Photo: Benjamin at 3 months]