I wish I could glimpse into the future and see you reading this.
I’m so impatient to see the person you become, yet at the same time, I never want you to change.
You’re sleeping now, and as I look down at your tiny little face, delicate little hands, and teeny tiny nails, I can’t believe how perfect you are.
You are everything I dreamed you would be, and more I didn’t know I was missing.
Those fat little cheeks though!
I can’t stop smiling every time I notice them.
I don’t know how you managed to grow so robust on our diet of white bread and salt and vinegar crips, but there’s no denying you are a chunk.
Relatives have been shocked at how tiny you are because you look like such a big baby in photos.
There’s already a collage of you and your cousins at the same age wrapped in Granny Smith’s homemade shawls.
You were the lightest baby of the three, but you have the chubbiest cheeks.
The moment of your birth will stay with me forever.
I wish I could say it was a joyful experience where you were lifted into my arms and we spent your first-hour bonding in a quiet, dimly lit room.
Sadly that was not to be our story
The first time I saw you I was naked and numb from the waist down, blinking under the bright theatre lights.
The surgeon held you up and the whole team gave a cheer.
Before I even had a chance to smile your little body heaved and you vomited white frothy liquid.
You started to cry, a pitiful, gurgling sound like someone was holding a baby underwater and they were struggling to get free.
The atmosphere instantly changed.
The curtain was pulled up and you were whisked away to the corner of the room.
I couldn’t see you anymore, but I could still hear those awful little cries.
We’d discussed with the nurses beforehand that you would be placed on my chest while my surgery was finished.
As more and more time passed my heart started to race.
I knew something was wrong.
I kept asking your dad what he could see, but he couldn’t see much either.
He told me you had an oxygen mask on and everyone was crowded around you.
It was probably minutes, but after what felt like forever a nurse came over and explained your oxygen saturation was too low.
She kept her tone light and told me they’d sent for another machine and a doctor as a precaution, but by this point, I knew things were very wrong.
I know now it takes around 40 minutes to finish a caesarian after the baby is born, but to me, that time stretched for hours.
Three different machines were wheeled in to check your oxygen levels, three separate pediatricians examined you and came to the conclusion that you needed intensive care.
You’d stopped crying by this point. I couldn’t see or hear you.
I was trying to keep it together but the thought, like a pulse in my brain, kept repeating I was going to lose you.
When my procedure was finished a final doctor came and spoke to us.
She said you would be going to neonatal intensive care (NICU), while I needed to spend at least 2 hours in recovery.
I wanted your dad to go with you, but we were told you weren’t stable enough.
Somehow I held it together while we were talking, but as I was wheeled out of the theatre, away from you, everything hit me at once and I burst into tears.
I cried uncontrollably in recovery for two hours.
I couldn’t bear to think how frightened you must be, alone, with all the unfamiliar sounds and lights.
There were so many questions, would you survive? Would there be long-term impacts? But no one had any answers for me.
I didn’t know what you looked like and that really bothered me.
I knew I’d seen your face, but in all the panic I couldn’t remember it.
What kind of mother forgets her own child’s face?
My mind was in a dark, dark place and nothing anyone could say was a comfort.
Finally over three hours after you were born we got the call that you had stabilized and could have visitors.
I was desperate to see you, but still bedbound from my epidural.
Your dad was torn between going to your side and leaving mine.
There were signs everywhere regarding the strict visitor policy, but the nurses broke protocol and allowed my sister to come and be with me so I didn’t have to wait alone.
Your dad raced to NICU to finally be reunited with you.
Immediately I felt so much better knowing he was with you and that you’d have a familiar voice.
He sent me photos and videos of you from NICU and I couldn’t stop looking at you.
Seven hours after you were born I was finally wheeled to you.
I held my breath as you were placed under my gown and in my arms.
There were so many wires.
You stirred with the disruption and started to cry.
“Hello little one,” I whispered and your body stiffened.
You whipped your head upwards searching for my face.
You stayed looking into my eyes for so long as I carried on talking to you, before gently laying your head on my chest and snuggling your tiny body into me.
Like a switch turning on, I finally felt like a mother. Your mother.
You recognized my voice in the chaos and cuddled into me for comfort.
I knew at that moment nothing would ever be more important to me than being your support.
As you know, this story is a happy one.
You fought with every breath and never looked back.
Your dad and I spent every moment we could by your side, and it wasn’t long before we were able to bring you home.
Now we’re here, I’m determined to focus on the future.
I can’t wait for all our adventures together.
There’s so much I want to show you, so many places I want to take you.
I hope you will grow up to be kind, loving, and intelligent. I know you’ll be fierce and determined, you have buckets of both already.
Your life is so full of potential, I hope I can help you achieve great things and follow your heart.
I can’t wait to smother you with kisses at the school gate and embarrass you in front of all your friends.
To take your first boyfriend aside and pointedly remind him I castrate for a living.
Please be patient with me as I navigate this new world of motherhood.
I know I’ll make plenty of mistakes and I won’t always be proud of my actions.
Know that my intentions are good and no matter what I love you unreservedly and unconditionally.
You are the sunshine that lights up my life
I love you always