Five years ago, a miracle happened.
I was in the labor and delivery room. I had reached that point in a pregnancy where almost inevitably the mother is actually eager to go into labor and give birth, terrifying as that sounds, just because it means she won’t have to be pregnant anymore.
But I had also spent the last eight or so months feeling terrified.
I had two children already, and I felt incredibly overwhelmed just with them. One was turning into a real handful of a toddler, and one had just started elementary school.
The last child I had been pregnant with, only two years prior, had almost died. Nobody saw it coming; he was born very, very sick and spent his first fifteen days in the NICU instead of with me. It was touch-and-go the first few days. I was still working through the feelings of trauma associated with that. In the beginning of this third pregnancy I had gone to the bathroom one day and found blood all over the place. It turned out that the baby was fine once we made it through the first trimester, but this did not help me emotionally.The risk of another pregnancy felt too high, and the mortality of my children felt too real.
Money was bad. Marriage was bad. A loved one was struggling with addiction. I was trying to work and parent and cope with all of these things. I felt very alone.
That’s when the miracle happened.
I gave birth to a miracle.
Noah was born. He was born crying. Literally–he wasn’t all the way out yet, and he was already crying. Because he didn’t want to be born. He just wanted to be with Mommy. For the first few days, he was only happy when he was in a little bundle against my neck. He didn’t want anyone else to hold him. This also triggered some feelings of fear in me–Oh no, a high-demand baby!–but really he wasn’t high demand at all. He just wanted to be with me. There are times I think that he would actually prefer to still be in the womb, warm, close to Mommy, safe from all the people who might be looking at him.
I definitely don’t love any of my children more than the others. But the rush of love I felt for Noah was a rush of feelings I had been afraid I somehow would be incapable of. And it came in a time when I felt so terribly alone–and then I wasn’t alone. I had someone who was a near-constant companion, a reminder that God knew exactly what I needed. Noah’s babyhood spanned all of those hard times, and times aren’t so hard anymore, now that he’s turned into a kid instead of a chubby baby. I would still have loved him just as much if he had been born in a time when I felt less alone, but I was blessed by the timing I had been so appalled at originally.
It’s still darned hard to watch him grow up and turn away from me gradually. I love watching my older kids grow and change, and I feel fascinated with who they are becoming. It is sometimes hard to do the same with your baby, I think. But he makes it easier, because he’s brilliant, and he’s funny, and he’s oh so very sensitive, sometimes in a challenging way. He is very different from his brother, and it’s fun to watch them play together and enjoy different things.
Oh, Noah. My funny, funny boy. Thank God for you. You are such a gift. Happy birthday, little son. Enjoy your day spent with a large temporary tattoo on your face, and in which you will probably refuse to eat many things. I love you.