This week my not-so-little E celebrated his 4th birthday. This little boy is now a bundle of rambunctious, over-the-top, hard to control, 100% boy. Most times I feel like I was never quite equipped to be this little man’s mommy. To celebrate his birthday, he requested a Paw Patrol party, complete with a Paw Patrol cake. Mommy did her best to deliver.
From the very beginning, little E has kept me challenged – including his entrance into the world. I love this boy dearly and with all my heart (remind me of this when I want to smack him across the head for never listening), yet sometimes I forget how much he has effected change in my life. When little E came into this world, he was whisked away after about 12 hours to be taken to the NICU. After he was there for 4 days, I wrote him a letter. I thought, in “honour” of E’s birthday this week, I would share that letter with all of you here.
Today you are 4 days old. When I think about how your life should be when you are 4 days old, it is very different from what you are living. You should be at home, warm and safe with the people who love you. You should be in my arms and sleeping next to me; be nourished by me and comforted by me. Instead you tied up in tubes and wires and you spend all day in the bright lights and noisy sounds of the NICU. I know this is what you need right now but it makes me cry every time I think about how unnatural it is for you to be there. I hope you know how many hours I spend sitting with you and holding your hand, caressing your beautiful, tiny face. I only wish I could be with you all the time, to hold you and comfort you when you are in pain. I try to hard to cherish the one night that I got to hold you and feel your skin next to mine, but it already feels like a distant memory that is slipping away from me – further with every second that passes. My body misses feeling you inside of me and when I look at my shrinking belly, I see the place you used to live and I wish you could still be there – because it’s better than where you are.
I know there is nothing I could have done to keep you from the pain you are feeling, but I find a way to blame myself for not making someone really listen to my concern for you in the hours after you were born – maybe you would be home right now if I was more persistent, if I didn’t let other people try to convince me that what you were going through was a normal part of a newborn’s adjustment period. I thought they were wrong, and I was right. For all of that, I am very sorry.
Before you were born I worried that I would not have enough lough to share with a second child. I was nervous about bringing you into this world with the thought that I wouldn’t be able to love you and cherish you in the same way I do your brother. I have learned, however, that it is impossible for me to not love you. In 4 days I have spent more time longing for you to be in my arms, crying for your pain, and wondering how my life was ever complete without you. I know it was only 4 days ago that you were not here, but that is already another lifetime ago. When I look at you, I recognize your face – as if I have known you forever. When I touch you, I know you were always meant to be my child. Until I can hold you and care for you like I mother should, I will do my best to be strong for you and I will be by your side, loving you from a short distance, and counting down the minutes until you are healthy and ready to come home and finally join our family.
With lots of love and tears,
(March 25, 2012)