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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Watching our little man grow
We didn't really plan to have an only child.  I had always thought that we would have at least 2 children until it almost didn't happen for us.  At 41, we are very blessed with our miracle baby and are blissfully happy with one.

However, after the NICU and all of the difficulties making it through the first year, I'm having to reconcile with myself that there will not be any more babies.  There have been lots of hard pills to swallow when it comes to this, and to many they may sound selfish.  But, they are real.  And, I'm certain that I'm not the only mother to have gone through this.

Holding him while beds are being changed.
This only happened because of sweet nurses!

First, I really feel cheated that I didn't enjoy a normal happy pregnancy.  Its an odd thing to see people in the last trimester of pregnancy.  I didn't make it that far, and cannot relate to pregnancy in those stages on any level.  I think that there is a part of me that will always wonder what that would have been like.  Pregnancy for me for uneventful at first and easy.  But after 20 weeks, I was terrified and living day by day hoping to make it just one more day closer to my due date.

When I see happy pictures of mothers holding new babies after delivery, I sometimes cry.  Its a sad reminder that I was able to view my baby through a box while I laid on the table in the delivery room watching them hurry him away to the NICU.  We spent 3 months watching him through that box and graduating to a bigger baby bed before really being able to hold and cuddle him like most mothers.  Even after graduating from the little box he outgrew, our little one remained on the vent through his first Christmas and several more weeks.  We watched him grow while being carefully tended to by loving nurses for 16 weeks before coming off the ventilator.  

So, every first and event is an EVENT!  A big one.  I have tried to treasure every bit of motherhood because I know that this is it!  It isn't a dress rehearsal for the next one.  We will not have hand me downs or other babies down the road.  He is the ONE for us.


I worry some days that this may make me a smothering mother that is just too much in every sense of the word.  Then, other days, I think that it may make me a better mother because my existence is devoted to him.

Mostly, I am coming to terms with the fact that motherhood for me is a bit of both grief and joy.  I feel sadness for somethings that I wish could have been in my life as part of happy pregnancy and start to motherhood.  But, I am also aware of the wonderful joyous life that feels our home.  And I know motherhood is part joy and grief for probably every mother.  This is mine.

During the first months that we were home from the hospital, I was figuring out how to handle the day to day functions.  Do I let him cry it out or pick him up?  One night I found myself picking him up and crying right along with him while trying to calm him back to sleep.

Bed time cuddles in the hospital
We had spent such a long time waiting to hear his cry while on the ventilator.  Finally, we could hear him cry.  For so many months I struggled with how to comfort and soothe him while he was very sick and fragile.  But our only means of doing so was a hand on his back or wrapping his hand into mine.  Now, we can hold and comfort him any time.  And we do it often.

Yes, I know about crying it out.  This is the most difficult part of motherhood for me on some days.  I simply cannot let him cry because I once knew the helpless feeling of watching that "cry face" and not being able to help him.

These moments are the ones that remind me of the importance of motherhood and help me to reconcile with the loss of what is never to be.  I pour myself into this child and his needs, and cries and desires.

I may never live to see grandchildren or other babies in my arms other than this one.  It is part of being an older parent.  But, our one and only brings me joy and laughter through the tears that I still sometimes cry.  I am reminded every day to be thankful for our sweet miracle.  I feel like the honesty of owning the longing to have had other children is normal and okay.  And hope that one day my son will realize how much we truly wanted him and love him because he is truly our one and want nothing but the best for him.

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