Nine years ago today I became a mother. My boy was kind enough to come pretty much on-time and considerate enough to allow me a drug free labour. He scared me a little though when he was born a blue lump with a slightly squashed head.
“It’s a boy!” my husband cried. We didn’t find out at the time of the ultrasound but inside, I always knew he was a boy.
“Why is he blue?” I asked the obstretrician and the midwives. “He’s blue!”
My obstretrician busied me with birthing my placenta, the midwives grabbed my boy and turned their backs to me so I could not see what was happening. “Is he ok? WHY IS HE BLUE?” The midwives managed to get him breathing and I saw a pinkness to his skin colour. Then a group of about seven(!) doctors rushed into the room, my baby was quickly wrapped up and I was allowed the smallest of kisses and he was taken to neonatal ICU.
After a shower in the birthing suite, I was wheeled to the ward. I could go and see my baby after a while but first I needed to rest. They told me this like new mothers separated from their baby could even contemplate sleeping while their baby was in ICU. I walked to ICU and together with husband, the paediatrician told us the news: His breathing was getting stronger but there was concern about his left arm. It didn’t seem to move properly. At that stage, the differentials were either a fractured collar bone, nerve damage (permanent or temporary, developmental or acquired they could not say) or simply that his arm had decided to stay this way in the womb because there was no room and so it was just a bit stiff just as you or I might keep our arm at a funny angle for oh I don’t know, 9 months or so.
He was a tiny little bundle, skinny legs and even skinnier arms. His face didn’t have that characteristic chubbiness of newborns. He slept in the incubator which looked 10 times bigger than him, his oxygen stats at a comfortable 98%. A nurse quickly took him out of his chamber after the ok from the doctor and we attempted our first breastfeed. I am so grateful that in all that was happening, it was not forgotten that he needed to feed, and not from a bottle.
Oh he was such a patient little baby. Latching wasn’t as easy as I thought, there was the chin that needed to be here, and the mouth had to be here, and then the nipple and areola needed to be here and his mouth had to open just like this and oh no we missed it, that latch doesn’t quite look right, see his lips? … we took a few tries for the latch to be perfect but as frustrated as he was, he only cried once.
His arm started to move more freely and I was again instructed to get to my room so I could rest. I left him there, happy knowing that he had his first feed of colostrum and he was going to be ok. They finally brought him to my room that evening and he slept next to me. I could not keep my eyes off him. My first days of motherhood were a blur of complete exhaustion like I had never experienced but made all worthwhile because of this immense feeling of joy that this tiny, hairy little bundle brought into my life.
It hasn’t always been easy to be a parent and still there are times when I struggle with knowing what is the right thing to do. Being the first born, he is the guinea pig for all our parenting trials. He is always harder to parent than his younger brothers but I am so grateful that God allowed us to keep him for these 9 years and I pray that He allows us many many many more years.