Damon finally gave me a break and arrived after 24.5 hours of labor and 2.5 hours of pushing and wishing I were anywhere but there, doing anything but that.
The moments following his birth were nothing like I’d imagined they would be. I didn’t cry, I wasn’t overcome with emotion, and my baby boy that I’d just about killed myself to get here wasn’t put in my arms immediately. Everyone else in the room seemed much giddier than I felt. I was exhausted and in pain, and I just wanted to hold my baby. They always got to hold their new babies on A Baby Story, darn it.
But he was being taken care of by nurses and doctors and being watched like a hawk by his dad. So I guess that was okay, too. Still, I just wanted to cry when they let me glance at him, in someone else’s arms, for a brief second before they took him off to the nursery. I’d just done all that work for THAT? For a 2-second glance at him??
Motherhood was off to a pretty disappointing start.
Of course, I had plenty of time to bond with Damon in the hours, days, weeks, and months that followed.
Eight years ago, my life changed forever.
I learned that I wasn’t as “grown up” as I thought I was at 24. I can remember very few times in my life when I needed my own mother more than I did then. Mom helped me bathe in the hospital the morning after Damon was born; and she helped me give Damon his very first bath when we went home. Mom walked the floors at night with Damon and discovered that my new, colicky baby had a thing for Conway Twitty; “Hello Darlin” was the only thing that calmed him down for weeks, and it will always be Damon and Grandma’s special song. Mom laughed hysterically with me the first time I attempted to use a breast pump; and Mom comforted me and told me it would be okay (like only a mother can) when I decided I couldn’t breastfeed my baby anymore after 4 weeks of desperately trying.
I needed my mom in those days just as much as my baby needed me — his mom. And I began to realize what an awesome responsibility it was, to be a mom to this perfect little person who had arrived and turned my world upside down.
Eight years later, I’m still learning how to be a mom. And I still look at Damon today and think he’s the most perfect, little person I’ve ever laid eyes on. Damon and I have both grown up a lot in the past eight years, and I know that we both have a lot of growing left to do.
Today, Damon will celebrate his 8th birthday, surrounded by family and friends, cake and ice cream, and light sabers. And I will celebrate that day, eight years ago, when I was so blessed to become his mother.