little and big ones: an update
I realized the other night when I came home how huge it was, what I had done.
Not for them so much as myself. It was hard to believe I was the same person that started this blog — a woman who, aching with longing, was unable to behold a pregnant woman or tiny baby without certain anguish.
It’s not that I don’t still feel a tinge when I see how easily family building comes for others, while we worked so hard and waited so long, through so much pain and loss. Years and tears.
It’s not that I don’t miss our baby boy still, four years later. While I said that the thought of a new baby boy born on the anniversary of our son’s death didn’t consume me as it may have before, still I was more than relieved when the day passed without (yet another) birth announcement.
And it’s not that I don’t know how very lucky I am to be a mother to our beautiful daughter, who would not be with us today were it not for all that came before her.
It was the realization that I must be evolving from the woman I was then to the woman I am now. And yes, that includes finally becoming a mama myself, even if it didn’t involve giving birth or passing along our shared traits like most everyone else we know.
It was the affirmation that my experience mattered to someone other than me and my family.
The night I left our neighbors as they headed to the hospital, I came home and sighed a sense of awe, and accomplishment too. It wasn’t because I was able to help them in some small way as much as how huge that effort was for me.
As a few of you recognized in your comments, they may never have any idea what they asked of me. Or what it meant that I was able to give at all.
By the time they were admitted, she was nearly 8cm dilated. Their little boy was born a few hours later. He was perfectly healthy, though the cord was around his neck and he was whisked to the ICU. They came home that evening. When I saw their car slowly turn down our road late that night, I knew they were home safely with their newborn son, without major complications. (Those of you who know, know where my mind goes with fears that things can go horribly awry during birth, right?)
We saw them the next day. At less than seven pounds, he was teeny tiny in her arms, learning how to eat. It’s hard to remember Baby J ever being that small (I guess she wasn’t, since she was 7 lbs 10 oz at birth, but still); she is so huge now at 8.5 months.
I brought over some homemade organic lemon chicken soup, which I cooked that morning instead of doing any number of other things I should have been doing, because I figured it was the right thing to do.* I make it for us pretty regularly as comfort food (varying the ingredients sometimes to include lime and coconut milk).
It didn’t occur to me until later — after their little boy was born and the visitors started streaming in — that I would become part of their birth story. A small part, perhaps, but a part nonetheless. It was still pretty big to me.
(*I still find it interesting that just two friends brought us food when Baby J was born. Only a few people rushed to meet her too. I think people were afraid to plan or to be presumptuous because of the uncertainty of our situation. So we mostly fended for ourselves. Which honestly is how we’ve gotten through just about everything in our quest to build our family.)