Sunday, May 10, 2009

On Becoming a Mother

I am so grateful for my kids. I struggle, daily, with being able to parent three of them well. But I am so, so grateful for them. And although I have plenty of moments where I think "Heck yeah, every day should be Mother's Day!" I like to remember that without them, I would not be a mother. Gifts for Mother's Day? They are my gifts. People struggle to conceive, and there are those whose children are called to Heaven earlier than what seems fair. And while I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that being a mom is so, so hard, I am focused on my loving my kids and remembering that as often as they challenge me, they reward me tenfold.

This Mother's Day I celebrate 4 years, 6 months, 25 days, and 4 hours (give or take) of being a mom. To mark the occasion are my first pictures with each of the kids:

This is my very first picture ever taken with Mason. He was two days old, and it breaks my heart that it took us so long. But we were first time parents reeling from the shock of having a NICU baby, and for whatever reason the camera was not a priority. When we were taking these pictures, I remember feeling weird, like we were taking pictures in an art museum where photography is forbidden. (Now that I think about it and psychoanalyze myself here, this could have something to do with the NICU nurse ordering me not to touch him when I came down to see him for the first time. But I digress.) Even with the IV, the bruised head (that you can't see in this picture), the fact that he couldn't coordinate eating and breathing, often resulting in him turning blue and setting off a zillion alarms with every feeding, he was beautiful. Perfectly beautiful.

Cole was seven hours old when I met him. I was under general anesthesia for his emergent birth, so I was not there to witness it, and (due to hospital policies) neither was Rey. I was so jacked up on morphine during our first meeting that I don't really remember it. (I can't believe I am posting a picture on the World Wide Web of myself looking like a total stoner, but hey...) As the cloud lifted, I remember being a) astonished that he was born 1.5 lbs bigger than Mason and b) that he really was a strikingly beautiful newborn. And by the way, he was a nursing prodigy. I declare to the world that no neonate nursed as well as him. Which just goes to show you that Cole had a love affair with food from the moment he was born!

Last but not least, Baby Lila. This was the happiest moment of my life. She was born, she was healthy, and as an added bonus, so was I! (Third time's the charm?) I've said it before, I am proud I raged against the machine and had a VBAC, especially since I had a daughter. It was important to me to do what I could to hopefully prevent her from giving birth in a world where it's expected that you be cut open to do so. I want to make her proud and be a good example of a mother, wife, sister, friend, and--most importantly--a woman.

With each new child, a new responsibility comes over me. These are human beings that we are supposed to mold, shape and guide into responsible adults. That, my friends, is a very tall order. Sometimes I marvel at how I had three very different pregnancies, three very different deliveries, and three very different babies. This should have been my first clue that my motto for motherhood would become "Expect the unexpected." I have definitely had a varied curriculum during my quest to become Mom, PhD.

It seems like the most popular Mother's Day gift request is sleep. And while I am quick to want to opt for this also (especially since the Night Singing Devil Bird is outside my window giving a serenade from 2-5am lately, and I am quite behind on sleep), I am going to try to stay conscious and spend some special time with my kids. I think I will instead request Daddy to do all the Dirty Duties--diapers, dishes, and discipline. And I will have all the fun.

I suppose this means for Mother's Day, I get to be the father!!


Amber Greenawalt said...

Happy Mothers Day Love, hope your day is as fabulous as you are!

JONES said...

I know this post was a long time ago but I just happened to come across it at the bottom of your current post. It is a beautiful post, thanks for sharing all the intimate details of each of your pregnancies. I always enjoy hearing mom stories!

JONES said...

I know this post was a long time ago but I came across it at the end of your current post. Beautiful post. thanks for sharing many of the intimate memories of your childrens' births. I love to hear amazing mommy stories!