It's early morning and he starts to shift from side to side looking for me, but some how he's ended up on the other edge of the bed. I scoot towards him and slide him towards me. He rubs his nose and I know that means he's hungry. I place him close to me and let him nurse. He's still asleep, but he nurses diligently. He always nurses every hour in the morning, when he dreams and tosses about from side to side.
This morning I'm awake, reading amazing blogs and wishing I could write half as well. I watch his face as he bursts into laughter. He's having a fun dream. I'm so glad! I remember the early months when he used to cry in his sleep. It used to break my heart. It still breaks my heart. I wondered if he was dreaming about his NICU stay...about the times when I wasn't there...when they were holding him down to poke his spine 12 times...unsuccessfully.
I remember when the APRN told me how odd it was that no one was able to extract spinal fluid from him. She was so distracted by her failure, but I was distracted by how many times these people hurt my baby to satisfy their type A need to succeed...only to fail anyway! I was also mad that they decided to poke my baby twelve times, without telling me. They risked paralyzingly my baby twelve times without informing his mother. Why does the mother have to know anyway?
But I'm afraid to say anything. I'm afraid my anger and fear will be labeled as difficult mother and it will negatively affect the way his nurses treat him...especially when I'm not around. So I smile, brokenly, but she doesn't notice, she is still amazed by her first failure in eleven years. I try not to imagine how many people held him down...because I believe you have to lay on your side or hunched over in a sitting position. I try not to visualize it in my head. I must stay strong. I must stay strong. My baby needs me.
When I finally bring him home, he starts having crying dreams. He doesn't always wake up. Huge tears roll down his face as he struggles to move. I had a hard time moving after the c-section. It was so hard to get him out of the bassinet. It felt like an eternity passed while I struggled to bring him next to me. I guess this is the hard part of being a single mother. There's no one else to bring him to me. After a couple weeks, I leave him on my bed. It's so much easier. I barely wake up to nurse him. Then when he cries, I pull him closer and nestle him in my arms. He seems happier, more settled.
He's 13 months old now. He's such a toddler already, threatening to be independent tomorrow. He rarely cries in his sleep now. He mostly cries from frustration when he falls. He lets me comfort him, but he avoids eye contact. He doesn't want to be embarrassed. He's such a happy boy! He loves playing hide an seek...he can really squeal when he finds me around the corner. Sometimes he waits after I've gone around the corner as he revels in the anticipation! Then he practically runs, squealing with flailing limbs, almost hitting whatever is in his way, while staring at my face. I just love to see the pure joy in his face!
I am so grateful to be here! I am so ecstatic that we are doing so well! I know there is more therapy and more struggles to come, but I feel more confident today than a year ago. Maybe I can do this motherhood thing after all! Maybe I'm strong enough, smart enough, and good enough to be his mother. I do know one thing for sure. I love this kid more than I have ever loved anyone before. I feel so connected to him...whole body, heart, and soul!