Today my oldest turns Five. FIVE! That means that five years ago today I was giving birth to my first child. I walked into the hospital at 40 weeks + 3 days for my first of two appointments to be monitored that week. I told husband not to worry about driving over to be there with me because it was just checking to make sure baby and fluids were OK. I knew nothing was happening. I was sure this wasn’t the day he would be born. Well, I was wrong. The first of many times since becoming a mom. While on the monitor, baby’s heart rate was so low they rushed me into Labor and Delivery and hooked me up to all sorts of monitors as the doctor ran over from her office. For whatever reason, I didn’t seem to be worried which the doctor was surprised by. I had a surprising sense of calm come over me and I knew things would happen as they were meant to. It was the first time I’ve completely given up control and it was heavenly. I should probably do it more often.
His heart rate stabilized and if I had known better I would have asked to go home but since I was after my due date I stayed. About 5 hours later my first child was born via cesarian. It was a beautiful experience. Similar to how moms describe a water birth or a natural birth. There’s just something so magical about the whole thing. By no means did things feel good or it was pain free, in fact quite the opposite. It’s a strange thing that happens when you’re in the hospital delivering your baby. All of the anticipation and worry about needles and contractions suddenly disappear and you don’t care what they have to put on you or in you to keep that baby (and you) safe.
I had the voice in my head of every professional I had run across in my pregnancy that said to make sure the baby has skin-to-skin contact right after birth. My biggest issue was how was I going to do that after a c-section? I hadn’t really figured it out until I saw my husband take off his scrubs and t-shirt and put our baby right on his chest laughing and crying looking at me saying “Oh my God, Oh my God, I can’t believe this. He is so beautiful!” I couldn’t stop shaking enough to make my teeth stop chattering and all I wanted was a blanket and to sit up but that vision of them standing right next to my head will never disappear from my memory. In fact, even after another birth and five years, I still remember the feeling.
I thought I would feel jealous or upset that I couldn’t hold my son, but I didn’t feel either of those things. I was reveling in the birth of my first son and the instant change in my husband, now a Dad. Then they bundled him up and it was my turn. They handed him to me and I was in complete awe. I was a mother. I was HIS mother.
In the last five years, I understand why I am his mother. I have never felt so much joy, happiness, sadness, stress, heartache, satisfaction, pride, disappointment and guilt all at the same time. I had no idea what a rollercoaster ride being a mom was going to be. I had no idea how much more purpose my life would have. I had no idea how much my heart was going to burst into pure love. A love you will never know until you have children.
For some reason, five makes me emotional. Five means kindergarten. Five means deeper friendships, more independence, elementary school and maybe even a first crush! Five means better social skills, more self-regulation and the ability to express his feelings, wants and needs. Five means more inquisitive questions. And most recently, five has meant more affection, snuggles, hugs and better moods. If that’s the case, I’ve never been more ready. It’s always sad to say goodbye to another year but if five is better than three and four, I will happily kiss them goodbye!
So five…nice to meet you, let’s do this!