Tomorrow will mark exactly two weeks since Sweet Baby Z was born. In many ways, life feels completely different – foreign in ways I hadn’t anticipated. In other ways, our life has seemingly gone on without skipping a beat, as if this was how we always existed…as a family of four.
Last week, when I posted my very short entry announcing Z’s birth, I mentioned that this week I’d be blogging about this very moment:
Z’s birth story is beautiful in it’s own right. It tells of an unbreakable bond between mother and child – a symbiotic relationship demonstrating trust, partnership and concern.
The short of the long is that I needed to be induced at 37 weeks due to increasing signs of preeclampsia (pregnancy induced hypertension). In a nutshell, while I had intuitively sensed early on that my pregnancy wouldn’t go the duration of 40 weeks, the thought of forcing Z outta the womb didn’t sit well with me. The remarkable part of this story is that for every mention of medical intervention which left me feeling uneasy, I talked intently with Baby Z about my concerns, and then sat back and watched her take matters into her own decided hands, where she remained one step ahead of the doctors at every bend in the laborious road. For instance, when my obstetrician wanted to break my water – I talked with Z about my concern in artificially pushing her along, and sure enough, 30 minutes later, my water broke on it’s own.
Our whole journey was chock-full of serendipitous happenstance. So much so that I actually can’t, won’t, believe that it was ironic or by chance. I absolutely believe that Z and I share a bond so incredibly deep that we had started our intimate mother/daughter dance while she was still in the womb. I believe our connection far surpassed her recognizing my voice, or the cadence of my beating heart. She recognized my thoughts – my fears, my hopes, my wishes….because, she was, in fact, a very piece of me – sharing in all that I am.
My friends and family know that my biggest fear in having another child was how on earth I’d love them both. I have been so totally in love with my eldest daughter, DJ (now 2 1/2), that I simply couldn’t imagine dividing my heart and attention with another. I feared that I would secretly consider DJ my favorite for the rest of our lives, and that I would have to exert a ton of energy in actively loving our second daughter. I was afraid the love wouldn’t come naturally. I was even scared that I might resent Z for coming in between DJ and me. Everyone assured me that, until you experience it, you just can’t imagine your heart expanding to envelope both children – but that it absolutely does. I talked myself into believing this experience wouldn’t escape me, though I honestly doubted it would happen so seamlessly for me.
And then, Z was born and placed on my chest. I looked at her sweet face and my life changed – instantly. My heart was unrecognizable from what it had been just seconds before. Where there was once room for only one, suddenly, there were two and without noticing how it happened – my heart grew exponentially. The heights and depths of it’s capacity pushed limits to the point of literally aching. My chest ached, my arms ached – and that ache could not be squelched until I had both of my girls, together, in my embrace.
With DJ, I was instantly in awe of the overpowering feeling of unconditional love that washed over me the second I felt her warm skin. I was taken aback by just how much I had to have her. I had to be touching her, loving her, caressing her, protecting her – every second of every day. She was my baby, my first child, and that alone qualified her as my favorite thing on earth. Over these past 2 1/2 years, as her personality has grown, we have gotten even closer. I appreciate her now for the person that she is, not just because she is. My love for her in those first few moments after birth is what has bonded us together – for our lifetime. And it just keeps getting bigger, better, stronger.
With Z, while I absolutely experienced that same unexplainable love, I also looked into her eyes and saw so much of myself. It was literally like looking at a piece of me. In those first quick moments that seemed to last a lifetime, I was struck by the miracle of creation. Baby Z is a part of me. She and I had been in agreement about her birth story, and she had made herself known to me early on. I feel like our conversation, our relationship, showed it’s strength long before our eyes ever met. My words here aren’t doing the feeling justice.
I am so grateful for the ways each of my girl’s birth stories differ. I am so thankful that while the love is universal, the connections are unique. This allows me to love both of my daughters with equal intensity and loyalty, but for different reasons. They are both so special – and yet, so different already. My heart is full, and that happened organically, without dispute or coaching. It just happened.
I am currently overwhelmed by how blessed I am feeling. My husband and I have all that we could ever want, and truly believe our family is complete. Z was the missing piece that we didn’t even know was missing. To think that our life is even more full than it already was just 2 weeks ago makes me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. We are humbled by the gifts with which we’ve been entrusted.
….Now, tune in next week as I’ll likely talk about the epic tantrums DJ has been having as we adjust to this wonderful miracle! Trust me, I am not trying to paint a false picture of our happiness. While we are indeed overjoyed, it hasn’t been flawless by any means……and yes, I am totally and completely exhausted, unshowered and wearing clothes with dried spit-up on them.