Sunday, August 21, 2011

First Birthday

My son turned 1 today. And honestly, I'm just not sure how I feel about this. I'm digesting it slowly.

I think I'm supposed to be completely and utterly excited and perhaps if anything allowed just a twinge of anxiety. Instead I seem to be feeling the opposite, meaning mainly anxious with just a hint of excitement or joy.

It's not that I'm not happy he is growing and thriving. I am! I am extremely proud that my son is a healthy and well-adjusted now-1-year-old child.

But where most other moms amidst a time that is primarily celebratory might allow themselves only a moment of reflection at the loss of their child's "baby-hood," my reason for anxiety is much deeper than that. And that's why I think I have more of it.

When Tybalt was born I got sick. VERY, VERY, VERY sick. He was born via emergency c-section and my heart failed on the table. I was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy (aka postpartum cardiomyopathy) and was an inpatient in the hospital for 3 months. The doctors and nurses couldn't even assure my husband initially that I would live through the first 24-48 hours. That's what I mean by VERY, VERY, VERY sick.

I will write more about my health/heart problems and the hospitals and rehab centers when I'm not so exhausted, I promise (the birthday has proved to make for an extremely long weekend). But the cliff-notes version you need to know in order to understand why my son's birthday is so bittersweet to me is this: Because I was in the hospital for 3 months once my son was born, I missed the first 3 months of his life. My mother-in-law basically raised my son as a newborn. It's 3 months I will NEVER get back.

AND I'M ANGRY. I'M MAD. I'M PISSED. If there's another word for it...miffed, hurt, etc., I'm it.

Where some mothers would be glad that the sleepless nights are behind them by the time their child reaches their 1st birthday, I spend my own sleepless nights ravaged with sadness and depression that I missed his mewing cries to be fed, his desire to nuzzle my neck at 2am, and yes, honestly, probably many moments of feeling "I JUST WISH THIS BABY WOULD GO TO SLEEP NOW, BEFORE I LOSE MY MIND!!!!!"

And it's not just the midnight feedings and sleepless nights that I was denied and miss. There's also everything from poopy diapers, to his first pediatrician appointment, to even getting to dress him in all the little tiny outfits we were given at the baby shower. Sleepless nights are just one example. I missed EVERYTHING. So many things that most other first-time mothers take for granted.

So, now, when my son is 1, I am exuberant he is healthy and that I am as well. And while it's not a year I would want to live over again in the sense of difficulties and fighting for my life, it is however a year full of experiences I missed and wish that I could be granted somehow. It makes me so incredibly sad that I only got 9 months of his first 12.

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