Day 1 – May 30, 2012 3:51a.m.
I look at you, this minute being who has been powerfully fighting inside me to come out for 52 hours. My contacts are dry. I haven’t eaten in what feels like years. I am in desperate need of a shower. The area between my legs has been through a war. I peek down at my stomach and run a hand across the skin. You are no longer there. You are snuggled in my arms, sleeping, content, beautiful. The only word I can think of when I look at you is: mine.
Day 3 – June 2, 2012
Our stay at the hospital comes to a close. You have been exceptional, save the one night we couldn’t console you. Your strength astounds. The way you can move your neck and arms and practically roll yourself over. Already. You are a newborn, yet you aren’t new at all. You are familiar and strange and perfect and magical. Your eyes, which are so large and wide, seem to be searching for something. I marvel at how natural Alex is with you. I try and avoid mirrors. The only thing I want to look at is you.
Day 5 – June 4, 2012
Post-partum has hit. I cry for no reason and for every reason. I feel connected to you and yet like you are a stranger. I feel so happy and so lost at the same time. I don’t want my mother to leave. I don’t want Alex to go back to work. I feel like I won’t ever be able to do a good enough job for you… how will I manage this on my own?
Day 7 – June 5, 2012
We took you to the pediatrician and he said you were a perfect baby. My thoughts exactly. When I hold you, I feel complete.
Day 9 – June 8, 2012
I look down at you. You bring one securely wrapped fist up to your face. Your nails are sharp, even though I’ve clipped them twice since you’ve been home. I have the scratches around my breasts to prove you are getting enough calcium.
As I take in your every feature, I am overcome: why is your face getting that baby acne, what’s that goop in your eye, why did your cry all night last night, for no reason, when you’ve been such a good sleeper? Should we be taking you out yet? When can I exercise? How can I pay more attention to my dog? How will I ever do this when Alex goes back to work on Monday?
Hormones continue to rage as I stay in pajamas all day with leaky breasts and my boppy, balancing my precious little girl on me in various ways. The hours pass in the blink of an eye. Time is reduced to feedings, or if you’re wet or dirty.
This person needs me.
But what do I need?
Day 11 – June 10, 2012
If I could bottle your smell, I would. Why do babies smell so good?
Day 13 – June 12, 2012
The blues have passed. You have started to smile. We are learning your likes and dislikes. You seem to grow by the second. You grunt and fart like a grown man. You coo, especially while nursing. You get more beautiful by the day. I miss my parents. Skype doesn’t do our visits justice.
And my one repeating thought, which plays like a record in my head: I can’t believe you’re mine.
Day 15 – June 14, 2012
Today, I left you twice – once to go to the gym and once for a business meeting. I felt like myself and yet somehow empty. I couldn’t wait to return and breathe your scent and kiss your full cheeks. And yet, it felt good to be on my own, to stretch my limbs and begin to reconstruct myself again – for you.
I’ve been waiting for you my entire life, and I never even knew it.
Sophie, my daughter, my love, thank you for choosing me.