Diapers and Dragons

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The First Moment of Motherhood

This one will be long, but then, I have a lot of memories to impart...

Three years ago today ComputerDaddy and I woke up early. It didn't take much--I had slept little with a mixture of excitement and quasi-terror all night. I had filled myself as much as my compressed stomach could take the day before at the one Thanksgiving in years that I had not hosted. I hadn't even done the turkey; my only provision was my famous candied sweet potatoes that are an absolute requirement every year (I think my sister-in-law would still consider it a successful Thanksgiving if nothing else was on the table.) Otherwise, I had eaten and drunk nothing since midnight.

ComputerDaddy drove. It was snowing, one of the first real snows of the year, and it was bitterly cold. We hadn't done a hospital tour or practice run, which we regretted, as we nearly got lost navigating the difficult route to Providence Southfield, a good 40-minute drive with no easy access off the freeway. MapQuest didn't help much, either. We arrived almost ten minutes late, which had me panicking, sure that they would turn us away and say that they would have to reschedule because we had missed our check-in window.

I needn't have worried. They checked us in cheerfully, sent us up to the prep area, and our waiting began. There were various tests, a divestment of all clothing, the donning of that little hospital gown that doesn't fit even when you aren't carrying an oversize beach ball in front. ComputerDaddy shot a "before picture" that betrays my mixed emotions. A good forty-five minutes after I was supposed to enter the operating room, they finally wheeled me in. ComputerDaddy was taken off to scrub up, and they did the final preparations.

I had been terrified of the spinal epidural, because I'm terrified of needles and had seen (much to my horror) a video of what it looked like to get one. Again, lots of needless (ha ha, just saw the pun) worry over nothing--I barely felt a thing, and since it was all happening behind my back, I didn't have anything to see and therefore cause a reaction. My lower body went numb shortly after, and they strapped my arms down to the unsettlingly cross-like apparatus. A curtain was erected over my chest; a mirror on a pole was wheeled over so that I could see the miracle happen when (and if) I wished.

ComputerDaddy came back, only his gorgeous brown eyes showing above the surgical mask, and held my hand. It began.

It's hard to explain what a cesarean section feels like. There's no pain and really no other sensations until they begin to remove the baby. You see them moving about, you hear their cheerful conversation, and then the tugging begins. It's like someone is wrestling with your insides, and perhaps that most of your interior is being removed, but there's no pain at all. Odd. Surreal, even.

And then they moved the mirror so I could see it: the amazing, jaw-dropping, beyond-words sight of my own child, the fruit of my womb, the love-made-flesh joining of ComputerDaddy and myself being lifted from my body. He came into the world, paused, took a breath, and began yelling. Dramatic from the beginning.

My eyes filled with tears. I hadn't anticipated the sheer emotion of the moment. ComputerDaddy's were welling as well as we looked at each other and he kissed me tenderly. They did what they do with these new lives on the other side of the room, with much rattling of metal and vociferous complaints from our feisty firstborn. Then they brought him, wrapped and mumbling in sleepy warmth, and placed him in ComputerDaddy's arms.

I love ComputerDaddy with all my heart, and I love my parents and siblings and friends dearly, but there is a different kind of love that is reserved for one's child. I know not all mothers bond with their children immediately, but I fell in love with that tiny, perfect being in the instant I laid my eyes upon him. There were no reservations.

It's been a long road in the three years since then. I will likely post later today about who DramaBoy has become, hopefully with pictures once I pull them off my home computer. But this morning as I watched my little boy, baby no longer, do the things that seemed impossible he would ever be big enough to do back when he was our little SqueakerMouse...

I remembered.

4 bits of love:

Kathleen said...

What sweet, sweet memories! Happy Birthday to Drama Boy!

Heidi said...

Happy birthday, DramaBoy!

Anonymous said...

I remember that day too, my first sight of my first grandson, the look of dazed wonderlove on ComputerDaddy's face as he brought him to us, the tired overjoyed look on yours. And now he his three, and more loved than ever, because now he has wormed his way into our hearts with every breath he takes. Happy birthday, DramaBoy! Happy celebration of motherhood, TeacherMommy! I'm celebrating grandmotherhood with a very warm heart. Mom

Glenn said...

The miracle of birth and the bonding between mother and child. I know what being a father feels like, and now a grandfather, but I imagin I only have the inkling of what exists between mom and child. What wonderful memories! Dad

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