Next week is Mother’s Day, my second to celebrate with my own children. The emotional Momma that I am, I will probably wake up, hug my kids, and shed a tear or two while I reflect on ups and downs of the past 17 months.
One of the things I think often about is the moment I first became Momma. Part of me feels like I became a Mother the day I went on bedrest (10/1/10). I was 24 weeks pregnant to the day and having preterm labor symptoms. My motherly instincts crept in and I knew I had to do what I needed to do to protect the babies. But, that wasn’t when I became Momma. That happened after they were born.
Hannah. Now that girl I fell in love with the first time I saw her. I didn't get to hold her (and I don't really remember seeing her) right when she was born. She was whisked away to the NICU and I was faced with another birth... But after I was done delivering Ben and all recovered, I got to go to the NICU. That was when I first saw Hannah and my heart filled up with love. There was this little tiny creature in an incubator with the wildest, darkest hair I'd ever seen. And soft, furry, pink skin. They let me hold her and I loved loved loved loved her. She felt so small and so warm and so much mine.We checked each other out or a while - I have a picture of her "waving" from her swaddle. She didn't have a name at that point, but when I saw her beautiful face the name Hannah popped in my head. It fit perfectly.
|Say Hello to the world, Hannah!|
|Instantly bonded, mother and daughter|
Ben. He’s a different story. He was harder to deliver (face down - ouch!) and I was so exhausted. He finally came out and he wasn't crying and was a little blue. His first Agpar score was like 1 or 2. It was scary. They whisked him away to the NICU and got him set up on CPAP. After I held and fell in love with Hannah, I went to his room to see him. He was equally small, but I couldn't see him. He had the CPAP contraption on his face. Honestly, it was a little scary. I had a hard time thinking of him as my boy and I felt very detached from him. The instant "I LOVE HIM" feeling wasn't there and I am ashamed to say I didn't feel like his Momma right away. To make matters worse, he was having a hard time with O2 saturation for his first 2 days, so he wasn't even allowed to leave the incubator. I didn't get to hold him until his 3rd day of living. So, at first, I hate to admit it, my focus was on Hannah and Ben was a bit of an after-thought. Like, "Oh, I guess I better say hi to Ben while I'm here in the NICU."
|First time holding Ben|
|Once a snuggler (age 2 months)|
|Always a snuggler! (age 4 months)|
|Even toddler snuggles! (age 16 months)|
Now that my babies have become busy, busy toddlers, my love is there, and still as strong. Hannah has become my independent lady. She likes to do what I do and gets mad if I don’t let her. Oh heavens, the pretend grown-up things we are getting in this house – toy keys, cars, babydoll strollers, kitchen, phones. She’s a mini-mogul. Sometimes she likes to cuddle and kiss and sometimes she doesn’t. So, when she does want to give me kisses – I take them!
|Miss Independent "helps" me with the laundry.|
|About as close to snuggling as this girl gets...|
Ben continues to be my snuggler. He hugs me for minutes at a time several times a day. There’s no doubt about it: this boy loves his Momma! He is cautious and thoughtful and usually quite content to sit and read books. His language is taking off and like most boys, his favorite words are car, truck, and bubbles!
|Thoughtful Ben, reading Where the Wild Things Are|
(his new favorite and my ALL-TIME favorite!)