Monday, March 09, 2015

letting go of both my babies

It's a funny thing as you lead up to the first birthday of your child.

A few things are happening to me at the moment. And I am fraught with nostalgia. The TimeHop app - both a blessing and a curse - is throwing up pictures of the nursery we had just completed this last weekend a year ago. With two little moses baskets, two mobiles, and 80 muslins ready for two little vomiting machines.
There are pictures of the daffodils starting to break through the soil after a long winter, covering the parks in patches of brilliant yellow; much like they're doing now. It's daffodil season. I was waddling through the parks being stared at for my sheer size, taking pictures of daffodils. I wasn't aware that this was the week that my second baby would've given up her fight. And her fluttering would've stopped. And I wouldn't have thought there was anything wrong, because she had turned from her breech position and we were all ready to go.

I was scared. So scared of what was about to be - two little babies, the birth, what lay ahead, but we were now ready to show off our twins to the world.

That's one thing that's happening. The breakdown of day-to-day. Leading up to the 18 March when I would've nonchalantly waddled into the hospital for my final scan, this day next week. I nearly didn't turn the radio or lights off when I left the house as I thought I would be back within the hour, back to being propped up on my bed.

Everyone was talking about MH307. And I never did go back home.

But there's another thing happening too. And every mother I've spoken to is going through this, just as their child reaches their first birthday - regardless of the individual circumstances.
We are all mourning the loss of our baby. To toddlerdom.

"Where did the last year go?" everyone says it. but what does it really mean? I was looking through all the thousands and thousands of folders of pictures I have taken of Sebastian. I want to put together a collage of the first twelve months of his life, and I am poring through all the pictures with complete sadness. Where has my baby gone?

He started out as a skinny, furry little yellow, clinging bush baby. So perfect, and so small, this thing that had just ejected himself in our lives under the most difficult and traumatic occasions of my life. Our time in hospital felt like eternity, even though it was just a week. They'd prick his foot thrice a day to check his blood sugars and jaundice levels and he would scream; a cry that would physically pull me from a place, it would haunt me, I wanted no one to hurt my child like that.

The love I felt for this thing, even though it kept me awake, caused me sleepless nights of worry, turned my life upside down, was immeasurable. He could do anything he wanted, anything, and I'd only love him more. After the initial baby phase, he turned into a new baby. He would smile, look into my eyes, bob his little head, lose all his body hair.
Then he transformed yet again, into a child who would sit, gurgle, laugh...he would know who I was and wrap his arms around my neck.

Now he bum shuffles, climbs, stands up, is starting to copy some of my words, claps, laughs, comes in for massive cuddles, has a full head of flowing, thick hair, and he has transformed again. He is now a little boy, but I can't help but mourn the loss of my baby.

I spend my day smothering him with kisses, smelling his hair, breathing in his soft, perfect skin. I want to hold onto him and scream "Stop, stop, the clocks, stop the time, freeze!" For there will be a day when he won't want his mummy kissing him and showing him affection, and I am scared my days are numbered already.

I look at the pictures and I just want my little baby back. All the night feeds and colic and screaming and sleep deprivation and "has he had enough milk?" endless Groundhog Day questions, and expressing - oh my God the expressing of milk four times a day - is all but forgotten. Life is easier now, without a shadow of a doubt. Now that he eats and can move around. But I miss my baby. He is growing up and transforming too quickly.

So if I'm crying on their first birthday, it's not just because I miss his sister. It's because I am letting my baby go.

5 comments:

Coffee and Books Cape Town said...

Xx

Coffee and Books Cape Town said...
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debbie thackeray said...

Can 150 x 1000% agree with you! Suddenly they become little independant boys. I swear sometimes I want to stuff Ben into a onesie and rock him to sleep just to have my baby back. I sense his 19mo self may not agree to this though:) There is lots of fun to come Peas, a whole new phase that makes you love them impossibly more. Except when they throw tantrums. In Woolworths. And judgy mothers eye you out. :)

charliesbird said...

Love this... my baby is nearly 4; sometimes she tolerates a hug with tears tickling her head, other times she tells me that it's enough, and I can go now. The one inevitability is that they grow, and it is an incredible privilege to witness.

po said...

Oh peas this makes me want to sob. My little guy is just 10 weeks old and I find myself wishing he was a bit older and crawling and just a bit less helpless and then I think of myself in a years time so sad that his tiny stage has gone. So I should stop wishing it away.

May I ask why you expressed so often? Was it to build up milk supply or have a freezer stash? It looks like my days of breastfeeding are numbered due to recurring infections etc so I am thinking about pumping but not sure I can bring myself to do it.