Monday, July 21, 2014

Love Isn't Always at First Sight

They say that when you meet your baby for the first time it is love at first sight. That holding them in your arms in that instant a bond is formed.
With Aleks that was true. From the day the stick had a blue plus sign on it I was over the moon in love with my perfect little baby. I spent 9 months awaiting him and just so in love with him. I heard them say "He's out", and then held my breath until I heard him cry out. I had tears running down my cheeks as I exhaled and heard them say, "9 lbs 7 ounces, 21.5 inches, healthy baby boy". Then they handed Rob this big bundle of baby and he held him close to my face and I felt my heart break and all the pain and hardness I ever felt just melted away and I felt so much love for this tiny perfect little man. I was pretty scared though as they wheeled him away to the nursery, I hadn't gotten to actually hold him and I wondered if I would still feel that way with him in my arms. When I got to my room, they brought him in to me and placed him in my arms. I was officially in love. I just could not even believe I had spent 26 years of my life without this tiny perfect person and I knew my life was perfect now. Even now that he is almost 5 years old I still feel that way. I still hold him sometimes or just stare at him and think, I love this person so much my heart is going to explode.
With Asya, I knew she was gone before she was born. I knew what to expect or I thought I did. I envisioned a lot of blood and not really being able to tell what was a baby. That it would all be over so fast and I would just feel empty. Instead my water broke. I felt contractions and I pushed. I gave birth to a very very tiny baby in my bathtub. There was no blood, there was no mess just a tiny, perfect 1.5 inch long baby that was resting in the palm of my hand. I had expected to feel sad, I had not expected to feel love. I just stared at her, knowing that in many ways this birth had healed something inside of me that was lost when Bug was born via c section, but that it also had broken something in me, my ability to trust that all would be safe or well or to give my heart so openly. I buried my daughter and wept for her, my heart more guarded now.
With River I spent 9 months waiting for what I felt was the inevitable, the announcement that we had lost another baby. When 14 weeks went by, I began to try to have hope, try to love this new life growing inside of me. When 20 weeks went by and we found out she was a girl, I again tried to feel that love, but my fear was stronger than any love. When 30 weeks, 35, 38... went by I was pretty sure now that I would get to take home my baby girl but I still didn't feel love. I guess worry and anxiety is in itself love, but I didn't feel that warm all over intense love I did for Aleks. When they pulled her out of me in the OR they briefly showed her to me and Rob and then almost instantly both she and Rob were gone leaving me alone for 2.5 hrs while they finished my surgery and I was sent to recovery. Almost 3 hrs after my daughter was born I was finally back in my room and they finally brought her to me and placed her in my arms. I immediately felt love, in that I wanted to protect her, keep her safe. I was still so panicked that something would happen to her. What I didn't feel was affection. I was more than happy to pass her to Rob, friends, family. I just wanted my Bug back. He wasn't allowed in the maternity ward and I missed him so much. I didn't know if I would ever feel for this tiny girl what I felt for Aleks. Yet day by day I started to feel a little more for her. It wasn't instantly, it wasn't at first sight... it was a little here and a little there. It was hard though, we had issues breastfeeding, she preferred her Daddy to me, sometimes it felt as though she didn't need me at all, or I was failing her as a mother. Then a couple of days ago (she is 7 weeks now) she smiled at me. At me.. not at the wall behind me, not at her father or her brother, or the dog, or because she had gas. She saw me, recognized me and SMILED! A big toothless grin. AND I FELT IT! I suddenly felt my heart burst. This baby loved me and after almost 7 weeks I suddenly realized just how much I loved her back.
Sometimes even with your own children, love has to build and grow. It isn't always instant. With Aleks it was instant before he was even born, with Asya my heart was broken before she was even born and with River it took 6 weeks after she was born.

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