When you give birth to a child, your firstborn in particular, you feel a great sense of awe and amazement. You wonder what that child will be when they grow up, if they will like the things you like, will they enjoy sports, music, theater, reading, etc. You stare with incredulity that you made this tiny perfect little being. The first time you hold that precious infant in your arms, you are completely and utterly in love. It’s the kind of love you can’t explain to anyone. It’s not like romantic love, but yet it is, in a way. It’s a love that has no boundaries. This is unconditional love. You know that no matter what that beautiful little creature does, whether good or bad, you will always go on loving them, all because they are yours.
As a mother of 3 daughters and a son, I have been so blessed to have this experience 4 times and each and every time, the love and the feeling of being starstruck felt exactly the same. But the first time it was even more intense. I had labored with this child for 24 hours and tried pushing for 4 hours with no success. I was exhausted to my utter core. I remember begging for the midwife to please get the forceps. She said she couldn’t use them. I asked her to please get someone who could. No one could apparently. So I continued on until finally, finally the doctor on call came in and said, “C-section, now”. My response was sheer relief as I responded, “Thank God”. I had nothing left to give. Emma was born by c-section at 7:34 am, 8 pounds 12 ounces, 21 1/4 inches and perfect. Thank God she was perfect. I had my dream come true. I had a baby girl to call my very own. I looked at my husband while they stitched me back up. He was holding her and smiling behind the mask. I had never been so happy in my life. I remember telling him at that moment, “I’d do that over in a heartbeat for her”.
You are filled with such hopes and dreams for your child and your only wish is to see them be everything they want to become. I’m no different. I was so happy that she loved music and ballet. She wanted to be a ballerina when she was 4 and 5. She has the most angelic voice and always had. People would always comment that they couldn’t believe such a voice came out of this little girl. She learned to harmonize when she was 5 or 6. She always could match pitch. She was the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful child you would ever meet.
But those first days I would just stare at her. Would she be a nurse like me? A great artist like her dad? Would she do more than either of us? Who would she become when she grew up. My love for her was insatiable. I could never have enough of her. She rarely cried, unless she was hungry. I just wanted to sit there, holding her, snuggling with her, kissing her and hugging her. Just being with her, smelling her sweet baby scent and knowing it couldn’t last forever, but why? Why do they have to grow up so fast?
That first baby of mine will soon be 20. She has been a joy for the most part, with the normal bumps in the roadway of parenthood. I still can watch her sleep in wonder and amazement. She’s still and always will be my baby girl. She’s going into nursing, like her mom and her grandmothers. She is incredible and I made her. I carried her for 42 1/2 weeks within my womb. No one knows her like I do, and yet, sometimes I don’t know her anymore. She’s all grown up. I worry about her. I always will. She’s going to be a fantastic nurse. She has so much compassion for people. She was there, by my side as we cared for my mom in her last 5 weeks of life. She has a great strength about her.
As a parent you always worry. The worry is not only for them, but also, even though you know, in your heart, you’ve done your best, you wonder if your best was good enough. Was my best good enough?