My little love came screaming into the world. Obscured by a powder blue curtain, his was a voice I’d never heard, but that I knew by heart.
“He’s here,” my husband whispered.
The wail that escaped my body took with it the fear that had held siege since the moment they wheeled me into this unexpected surgery.
Screaming, furious, and beautiful, he was here, and I was fine. Their words about risks fell away… The heightened dangers that this commonplace surgery had for me, ever the uncommon case were far away now that I knew: he was here.
And, I want to remember that. I want to remember the moment that I stepped down from my perch to allow someone’s life to matter so much more than my own.
I never want to forget how Elliott made me brave by simply being born.
It wasn’t until our second long night that Elliott and I clicked into place.
He was born at 10:18pm on Thursday, and that first night was spent in the delirium of new personhood, for him, and new mamahood, for me. I was heavily sedated, unable to walk from the surgery, and sleep deprived from several days in the hospital spent trying to evict my stubborn boy from the womb.
On the first morning, I stared down at him, struggling to feel like his mama, hell, trying to feel anything more strongly than I felt my exhaustion and hunger; I hadn’t eaten for days. I went through the motions of healing myself and worked to memorize the curl of his lip (like mine), the shape of his face (like Daddy), and his adorable nose (like grandma).
When he looked at me, I couldn’t help but wonder if he felt overwhelmed by it all, too. Only hours ago, we were one, and here, we’d been torn apart and had to somehow figure out how we fit back together again.
Those first nights were filled with trying and failing, as I guided his tiny mouth to my breast over and over again.
Perhaps it was our shared frustration, our mutual exhaustion that finally bonded us, but as I sat there with tears streaming down my face, stroking his cheek, he looked up at me, and suddenly, my uncertainty fell away and I knew.
I was his mama, and he was my Elliott. Forever.