Tuesday, July 16, 2013

right where i am: four years, six months, seven days

I am late to this link up, but I still wanted to write a "right where I am" post, for my own sake as much as being part of the group!

She is warm on my chest, breathing slowly, her lips still placed carefully against the top of my breast, staying close to her precious milk. Her soft, furry head is tucked under my chin and her body melts into mine. I am drinking these moments in...the quiet ones in between our normal chaos.  In these moments I want to freeze time, to have this sweet baby sleeping on my chest forever.

In these moments I feel myself affirming to myself: She is here. She is breathing. She is okay. 

I still struggle with the last one. My old friend anxiety comes to visit sometimes, and with frantic googling, I have found a hundred things that could still be wrong with her.  I came across a study, months ago, that showed that women who have chosen to end pregnancies for medical reasons still show significant signs of post-traumatic stress even three to seven years later.  That was validating, in a way. Recognizing that helps me to keep those thoughts at arms length (almost) and realize that it is not mother's intuition (probably) but just my poor, traumatized brain, trying to be one step ahead of the game.

I figured it out the other day, why I had gone from feeling blissfully happy with my life one day, to being reduced almost to tears with fear that my baby had some rare genetic anomaly the next.  It was because I finally let myself love her.  Not the automatic love that began from the moment I knew she existed, but that big, giant mama love that is reserved only for your children. The kind that is so all-consuming that it almost hurts. 

I didn't even know it, but I had a wall up...a big one. It took weeks to break it down completely.  And when I did let the big love in, my trauma sensors went off. Because I let myself love a baby girl like that once, and then everything went wrong. There is still a part of me that doesn't believe she will be okay because she's a girl.  I'm sure to some people that seems ridiculous, but this part of my brain/heart/soul is not at all logical.

But she is okay. She is beautiful and healthy and growing and smiling and kicking. Though I feel a bit strange admitting it, she is filling some of the holes in my heart that my first rainbow boy just couldn't. She is not a replacement for her sister, but it feels like a second chance at all the hopes and dreams that came with having a daughter.

I have a sense of resolution with her...like we were missing her all this time without even knowing it. We all wonder about souls and bodies and whether Layla's has returned to a new body.  She does feel so familiar to me, but of course we will never know in this lifetime. Ironically, all of us in the 'inner circle' (those at Layla's birth) have accidentally called her Layla at some point. It's strange...or maybe not so strange. I think it's sweet that our first girl is real and remembered enough to be mixed up with her sister.

I was interrupted, both children waking from their naps, and we are quickly returning to our regular level of chaos. Two babies constantly needing me in different ways, and those needs rarely mesh well. At the end of the day I'm exhausted, but it's a good exhausted, like the feeling you get after a good workout.

And, four years, six months, seven days after the worst moments of my life, I can finally say...I'm happy. :)

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