I am a Mom?
I am REALLY a mom?
It's almost 11. And, your crying. You've been to bed for a few hours now - and yet your crying. I came to bed early, to read. Perhaps it is the light from the bedside light shining into the hall that is upsetting you. I switch it off. Then I hear,
You never really ask for me. Usually you call out for your Dad. I roll out out of bed, switch on the light. I creep into your room. There you are, legs all askew and your little hands are clenched together on your chest. Your eyes are as big as saucers. Its hard to tell if you are really even awake or if you are sleeping with your eyes open. We never took your hair down when you went to bed, and your using your beloved bear as a pillow. I pry your little hands apart, and soothingly stroke your cheek. I tell you that all is going to be okay, and that you need to close your little eyes, its time to sleeps and it's late.
As I stand there, the soles of my bare feet become stuck to the imitation hard wood flooring we put in your room. Suddenly, with no mental warning, I am instantly thrust backwards into a sea of memories - how my life with you started out. How things were, exactly two years ago ...
I remember the screaming and the writhing in pain. I remember the projectile vomiting of formula with in 15 minutes of you drinking a bottle. I remember pacing the hall with you, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day. Nothing made you comfortable. Nothing. You were inconsolable. We rocked grooves into the floor. You would lay on your tummy, clearly exhausted, deep purple rings under your eyes, to tired to sleep, to tired to eat, to tired to move and too tired to scream. I remember tracking every ounce you drank, every poop diaper and every time you burped. I remember being told that I was a new mom, that all babies cry and that you just have colic. I frantically read every parenting book I could get my hands and none of them really talked about what we were going through. I had finally reached my wits end and was ready for a vacation in a padded room. I knew having a baby and becoming a parent was hard - but, this, this wasn't parenting. It felt too much like failure mixed with fear. Enough was enough - this was not normal - babies cry - but you are in pain. The ER doc wondered if you had Pyloric Stenosis. I racked my brain trying to think of what I did wrong those 37 weeks I carried you. I worried myself into a panicked frenzy. I remember laying your little, teeny tiny body on the x-ray table, the bottle filled with barium and our diagnosis of Pediatric GERD. We tried Zantac, but that didn't work. And, finally, through trial and error, found that 15mg of Prevacid twice a day, would take just enough of burn out of your GERD to allow you to be comfortable. From the time you were three weeks old we had to medicate you to make you comfortable. You still puked up what you ate, but at least now you did it with a smile on your face. Eventually, we settled into a routine, bottles, meds, screaming, puking, bottles, puking, meds, bottles. We found our version of a comfortable normal.
Your eye lids are fluttering, your breathing in starting to deepen and the death grip you have on my index finger is starting to loosen just a bit. I wiggle my finger free, and your eyes pop open as if on springs. I whisper to you that I am just going to grab you a blanket - there is a chilly rain scented breeze coming in the window. I tuck it around you, and bring it up under your chin. I fold you little arm under the blanket and gently rub your cheek. Your eyes begin to close again, your breathing becomes rhythmic, and a peacefulness envelopes the room.
As I peer down at you, I am very aware of how tiny you really still are - half curled up on your side snuggled under a this thin cotton blanket. There is no denying you are finally fully asleep again. I kiss the tips of my fingers and gently press them to your forehead, murmuring to you how much I love you. As I turn to go out the door, I peek on last time over the edge of the crib. I need to make sure you haven't suddenly awakened in the the time it took me to move those five steps. Nothing changed.
I step into my bedroom, clicking the light off as I pass by the nightstand, and crawl back into the space I just rolled myself out of 30 minutes before. I can hear your Dad downstairs watching the game and roar of a starting car a few houses down the road. As I pull my own covers up to my chin, I wonder if your Dada is even aware of all that has happened in the last 30 minutes.
A stillness finally settles between your room and ours. I turn on my side, searching for my own sleep, only to find that my brain is lost in the memories of yesterday.
I start to cry.
I am a mom.
I am REALLY a mom.