“She felt as if the mosaic she had been assembling out of life’s little shards got dumped to the ground, and there was no way to put it back together.” -Anne Lamott
I wondered when it would hit me. The days had been passing in a blur of color and activity and I barely had time to pause.
It happened when I was feeding my baby. In a darkened room, curtains drawn. I was kissing the soft top of her head, covered in a thin layer of dark hair. She looks SO much like her older brother. As I cradled that thought in my mind, I also thought “I bet your sisters looked just like you.” And the tears flowed while I kissed the top of her little head, for the babies that I never got to meet.
I anticipated that I would be nervous and constantly scared. I am, and I was, but it has been more similar to what I felt with Theo and Quentin. The first few days brought about strong anxiety, especially at night, but it has settled as she has gotten bigger and somehow I am able to finally assure myself that she is a normal, healthy baby. Something I was never able to quite convince myself of during the 38 weeks of pregnancy.
In her 22 days since being born, I watch every little thing she does. I almost wrote “in her 22 days of life” but that felt incredibly wrong, not acknowledging the time that she lived in utero, and therefore somehow negating the time that her sisters lived, only in utero. Strange how simple words take on a whole new meaning. In her 22 days since being born, I watch so many changes. Eyes open more, looking around, lifting her head. It is with a joyful heaviness that I watch. Not the type of heaviness I would expect in this being my “last baby, last time I will see these milestones” but the heaviness in not having seen my other babies do these things. Never seeing their open, bright eyes looking around. I caught one of the elusive “sleeping baby smiles” on camera and mourned the smiles I never got to capture.
I keep thinking of Bob Dylan’s song (I may have been rewatching Parenthood on Netflix…) and the words are so bittersweet as I watch my baby girl grow so quickly in the ever-changing newborn days.
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young