Everyone said life would change.
They held my hand and looked at my growing tummy and smiled. They shared stories, advice, and tried to convey the drastic shift that was going to come to my life after giving birth.
I already anticipated some of that change. I’d read the books, seen all the cute quotes, and I naively thought I had a handle on just how much life would change.
I had already imagined our baby sleeping in their crib, tucking them in and turning on the mobile above at night.
I had already imagined strapping them into the Baby Bjorn that my husband would wear when we did our walks in the park on the weekend.
I imagined the baby in the high chair in the kitchen, even imagining what we would do when the baby got fussy.
I didn’t take time to imagine how I would feel though.
The complete wave of fragility that I felt after Callie was born. My body and mind had just gone through a complete upheaval. Completely turned inside out in all essence of the word. The modicum of privacy and modesty I normally craved was completely gone as I grabbed the doctor’s hand and just told them to do what was needed to do to save Callie.
I felt like a warrior. Strong. Powerful. I went through almost 12 hours of labor and most of it was without any pain medicine. I brought a new little human into the world and was in absolute wonder at what women can do. How beautifully fierce, masterful, and capable we are.
I felt raw. All of my emotions were heightened times ten. All of my previous understanding of love, sadness, joy, pride, protectiveness, and fear paled in comparison with what I was feeling the day of her birth. This was love. This was pride. This was joy. Every color was brighter than I’d ever seen. Every sound magnified. Lines were sharper. Curves were softer. She was perfect and whole. Time slowed down and once we met with the doctors I understood what true fear, terror and heartbreak felt like, each grabbing my heart in a closed fist grip.
I felt like I was just inducted into part of a new club. A new club of mothers. The word “generation” meant something different now as did legacy. That day, I could feel that interwoven twine that connects mothers and their babies and it made more sense to me than it ever had. I understood the links to my past and those memories of others that we had carried with us from before. I understood that this baby, Callie Grace, would be the dot that would connect the lines from generation to generation.
I felt a new love for my husband. Seeing him step into the role of father, becoming her protector and the quiet tender love he showed our baby girl was like falling in love all over again. On that day, he became her hero, her biggest fan, her advocate, and her best friend and I got to witness that. I always knew he was an amazing husband but on that day I fell in love with him as a father. Up until that day, he had my whole heart but seeing him rock her in the NICU, it was if I was looking at the newly formed two halves of my heart and I knew that the world and how I traveled through it was utterly and profoundly changed forever……..