Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Being a Mom

**Warning ~ Mom is hijacking the blog for personal thoughts**
A very sweet family welcomed a 1 lb baby girl into their lives eleven months ago. Last night, they said goodbye to Kayleigh. This story hurts my heart. I can not imagine giving birth to my son, only to leave him day after day for 11 months in the NICU, watching him fight for life, to have it end and never bring him home. And yet, in all honesty, I never thought I would bring a baby home, because I never thought I would be a mom.

I can remember past Mother's Days and wondering, "will I ever be a mom?" Sitting as a guest at a baby shower wondering, "will I ever be a mom?" Masking the hurt when someone would ask when we were going to have a baby and responding with a flippant remark so they wouldn't see the pain of years of trying. Desperantly wanting to make my husband a father. Over time, the thoughts eventually turned from "will I have a baby" to "I can't have a baby". I think I hit an all time low when we were watching Battlestar Gallactica one night. A cylone announced it was pregnant. I looked at Eric and said, "A machine can get pregnant but I can't!" and sobbed uncontrollably for the remainder of the show. Yes, I was bitter and angry, irrational and hysterical that a fictional TV character could have what I wanted. I laugh about it now but infertility is a nasty beast and I never knew might trigger its arrival. Hope is pulled out from under you more times than you can count and you learn to put up a wall to avoid feeling hurt. Friends and family tell me that time in my life made me stronger but there was a feeling of helplessness which created a weakness in me. I think I have put behind me but when someone begins to talk about their fertility struggles, I'm instantly transported back to those feelings once again.

I found out we were pregnant three years ago this week and yes, I know that remembering that date seems silly to announce on the blog. But I bet every mom can remember the morning they found out they were expecting their first child. The details of that morning are etched in my mind, along with Eric's first sentence, "that can't be right. Your infertile and I'm sterile". Lovely sentiment, honey. All that I had hoped for in 3 years was about to come true for us and yet, Eric was just worried that I was going to drink coffee that morning, which was bad for the 4 week old fetus (never mind the cocktails I had drunk Saturday night with the girls).

The wounds of infertility were still fresh and I was scared to hope. I just couldn't believe I was going to be a mom. I refused to tell anyone of the pregnancy but our parents until we heard the hearbeat. I never told anyone at work. Instead, I told six of my former students in the 14th week and let them spread the news. By the time I returned to school in August, most kids knew I was expecting and hadn't just let myself go over the summer months. I had the best pregnancy but worried at each doctor appt that something was wrong. There was still part of my heart that refused to believe that I was going to be a mom.

Even as my belly grew and I waddled and ached and suffered a broken rib due to our active boy, I still didn't believe I was going to be a mom.

1 week before baby

My due date came and went and I still didn't believe I was going to be a mom.

My water broke and I still didn't believe I was going to be a mom.

before contractions hit!

Even when Alexander immediately stopped crying when he saw me after he was born, I STILL didn't believe I was going to be a mom.

But then...
Everyone had left the hospital room, except for Alexander, my mom and me. And in one perfect moment, I looked at my sweet son's face and I KNEW I WAS MEANT TO BE HIS MOM.

All of the anger, hurt, and bitterness of infertility seems a lifetime ago. I secretly loved when people said "Happy Mother's Day" to me this past weekend because I am a mom! I love it when Alexander says Mama over and over and over again because I am a mom! I love that my husband and son spoiled me like a princess ths past weekend because I am a mom. They bought me a spa day (ok, so I booked that for myself), made me breakfast in bed, let me sleep in until 10, and they told me they loved me all day long.

So, what's the point of this post? I'm sad for Kayleigh's mom. I want you to think of Kayleigh's family and send them thoughts to help them heal. I want you to hug your kid(s) or call them and tell them you love them. I want you to stop for a minute and count the blessings in your life. Or maybe I just needed to write all this out and realize that dark chapter in my life is officially closed. And the sunshine that is my son is asleep in his bed, quietly snoring and sucking on his pacifier. Music to my ears. Because I am his mom.

Before I Was a Mom

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours of the night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside of my body...
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much
before I was a Mom...


Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

Amen, my friend. I am so sorry you had to endure those painful years. I'm sorry I didn't know sooner.

But you're right, becoming a mom is something so incredibly profound that to say it is life changing is such an understatement.

I'm so glad you got the chance.

mnmommy said...

Okay, you've made me bawl like a baby...This was beautiful, Chelle. So much of it I remember, relate to and respect. You are a wonderful mother. Thank you for sharing your heartbreak and joy, and may you continue to experience far more of the latter. xoxo

Anonymous said...

My Daughter,
You make me proud to call myself your Mother. How I am typing this through my tears I do not know.
How beautifully written this is. Those painful years are a memory that are going to be with you forever but the pain will diminish with every smile from Alexander and Eric.

Joanne said...

I went through the process to recreate my password (because I forgot the one I had) so I can send you a comment on this one :)
Thank you...for everything. I love that you can share with the world and remind us how connected we all are.
I love you, Auntie

Kristin said...

Michelle - what a small world and how cosmic for this to be the first post I've read on your blog! I couldn't believe it when I realized I was buying a Craigslist espresso machine from your in-laws (!) At TJH I never realized we were going through the same infertility struggles, and your post so perfectly captures that experience. I hope Hugh (18 mo) gets a chance to meet Alexander one of these days!
Kristin Edlund (kedlund@tahoma)