It has been 6 years and 14 days since I became a mummy. Since I gave birth to this tiny little 6lb 10oz dot of a thing at 37+4 weeks gestation, on the strike of 3:46pm. That December day in 2010 as everyone else was winding down after Christmas and getting ready to welcome in the new year, I was very ready to welcome in a whole new life in more ways than one, and in that very moment my life completely changed.It changed in ways that I could never have imagined, never even thought possible and I changed, forever. I will never forget that moment, that your life is now lived for someone else and that you are absolutely and totally ok with that.
It took me a whole 5 years to start this blog, something I now kick myself for but something that has made me reflect. We are not having any more children, for a mixture of reasons but with Hyperemesis and loss unfortunately topping that list it is not something we can ever go back on. Therefore the fact that I don’t have any of that recorded, the pregnancy, the baby bump, the newborn days, the bleary eyed and emotional ramblings I know I would have produced in those early days of breastfeeding for hours on end, and alot of their firsts. It makes me a little bit sad. I have loved blogging so much that I almost look on this as time lost. I want to remember. The main reason for this blog is to remember.
I want to remember the small things, the fact that Eva was born with thick black hair that stuck up like she had been electrocuted and there wasn’t anything we could do to keep it down. The surprising day that at just 5 months Roma crawled, and subsequently got into so much trouble like eating the coal bits from the gas fire, covering herself and the carpet in black and giving me a fright. Twice. Or the moment that these two sisters met for the very first time and my heart grew even more than I knew was possible.
Since I started blogging, reading others blogs has become so much more that just reading. More than just curiosity, more than beautiful writing and photography and much more about sharing someone’s story, their unique journey through this life we all experience. It also means that as I read the posts, the ones that I identify with, that I know I felt but cannot articulate in the same way retrospectively, it almost makes me feel like I want to do it all again!!
So here I am, I am going to write them down, sort of a look back, to reminisce. Of course I will recall and record these differently to the time that they happened, with hindsight in mind and with some emotion that these days are behind us. Rather than the raw “is this ever going to end?” feelings; it will be filled with the knowing that “this too shall pass” – yet I am excited to look back, to go through photos and have it stir memories and feelings I can express and share. The photos might look a bit different than what I would take now and a bit more rough round the edges but these are my wonderful moments to record. Hopefully, time willing I will start this series to post on a Friday, I know I will love looking back and I hope you will too.
At the start of this blog I did write up the birth stories for both Eva and Roma and I have talked numerous times about pregnancy in the context that I found it really terrible to suffer with hyperemesis. So it seems a good place to start therefore with the first few days of Eva’s life. The ones when I really had no clue what motherhood had in store for me or even how to look after this tiny human being on not much sleep, but also that I was so happy to meet after all this time I could not stop staring at.
If you don’t know Eva was born on 30th December, in that time that still has remnants of the magical Christmas feel about it, the relaxed week where most people can’t even remember what day it is whilst they also go into the excitement and reflection of a year coming to an end and a new one beginning. I have always been a reflective person at this time of year and to be honest I have never been a fan of New Years Eve celebrations. That is until 31st December 2010 when I got to take my baby girl home and not only start a new year but a whole new life, as a family.
After deciding not to have visitors in the hospital we spent the afternoon welcoming close friends and family to meet her and were just so excited to show off our tiny little surprise bundle. Those hormones and the adrenaline of a newborn baby, especially your first, is like nothing else in the world and I would have shouted from the rooftops and ran around the streets if I could. Ok maybe not run as it took me 45 minutes to walk tentatively from the maternity ward to the car park!
We had a takeaway, popped the obligatory champagne and as the clock struck midnight we walked outside of the front door with our new baby girl wrapped up in our arms to toast in the new year and watch the fireworks going off all around. As the curtains twitched and our neighbours caught sight of the baby that was suddenly in my arms and not in my stomach they came out to meet her and congratulate us. Oh it makes me feel so emotional just thinking about it. It really felt special and even though she may grow to hate the birthday she has I will always be thankful of that night, where the fireworks she slept so soundly through felt like they were there just for us.
Of course the next few days were a blur of feeding, visitors and not much sleep as my little dot thought that sleep anywhere other than on my chest was for the weak and absolutely hated the moses basket which stood so beautifully in the bay window beside my bed. We would sit all night taking it in turns to just hold her on our chest and trying not to fall asleep, I would spend hours feeding her, feeling ridiculous after pains that no-one warned me about, wondering if she was actually getting anything at all and we realised we had no idea what we were doing, it was so totally overwhelming. Overwhelming and utterly wonderful. In fact wonderful doesn’t even seem enough. I literally cannot find the words to express the mix of emotions these first few weeks brought me. I mean how can it feel so blissfully magical and utterly terrifying at the same time?
I would literally sit there and just stare at her, it just felt so addictive just to watch, to try to take in every single last crease in her perfect little face, laugh and smile at the extra skin she had hanging onto her tiny little body willing to be filled, her neck that looked like a turtle as she nestled on my chest, skin on skin, hour after hour. Every bit of her was unique and I was the one that was privileged to get to know her, yet actually I felt like I already did. I knew her, I felt her, I made her. But I didn’t know the jet black hair that would cover her head, the way her chin would go in before it met her mouth, the little button nose just like mine or the quiet little screech she would make. The one that others thought was adorable yet sent my motherly instincts into overdrive.
I just wanted to hold her, to show her off of course but to hold her and squeeze her and show her how much she was loved. After the worst pregnancy where I wished every day would go by faster than the last I felt like this was my time. Our time. I could not believe that I made her, that just a few minutes, hours, weeks ago she lived only inside of me, it truly is a miracle.
And we took our little miracle everywhere, we are the kind of people who like to get up and out of a morning and a baby didn’t change that, in fact we were probably up and dressed even earlier now! It made me feel human, like myself again and also amazing to be out and about as proud as I have ever felt. We were in Mothercare when she was just three days old and I remember the shocked looks and the comments that I should be in bed or still in my pjs for a few weeks. Yet for me this was the best time, other than feeding and going through a ridiculous amount of clothes with the oh so lovely explosive nappies you endure in those early days (you know the ones where you weigh up the choice of putting babygrows through the washing machine or cutting your losses and throwing them away!), other than that, it was sort of the easiest time. And it was also very exciting for us to be buying clothes other than white now we knew she was a she at all. We would go out for lunch, visit friends and spend this precious time together as our family.
It seems strange to think that I am talking about this very time 6 whole years ago because I can both feel like it has only just happened and also like it was a million years ago in the same thought. I look back at these photos below and remember that baby, I remember that skin, those eyes and that hair. I just can’t recall it was Eva.
These first few weeks were intense and exhausting. Recovering and mothering, learning about my new life and about her. I may not have known what lay in store for her, who she was going to be, that she would end up hating animals and loving books, that she would have allergies and troubles in her midst and would become possibly the bravest, kindest, most sensitive and quite frankly best human beings I have ever met. I may not have known any of that but I knew that I was the luckiest mummy in the world, that I got to go through this with her, that she was mine.