My First Born
“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” (Phillipans 4:6)
Today is your oldest brother’s birthday. Next year, he’ll be a teenager. How is it possible that I’ve been a mother for this long? Losing you has blurred time, and all of a sudden, I can’t believe how old your living siblings are.
I remember this day, twelve years ago, so clearly. Labor began the night before around 5 PM. I didn’t tell your Daddy, however, since the week before we had gone to the hospital for false labor. So I let the contractions settle in for a few hours, before my heart, mind, and body knew it was the real thing.
We had spent twelve weeks preparing ourselves for your brother’s arrival, attending Bradley Method classes, because I wanted a natural childbirth. I delivered all of your siblings this way...just not you. For your delivery, I couldn’t bare the physical pain coupled with the emotional pain with the news of your passing. I just wanted to be numb. The epidural stung in so many ways...my back, my veins, my reality. That fact still breaks my heart... I, in no way, got what I wanted that day.
You are my healing baby, and when I was pregnant for you, I knew the physical pain of your delivery would bring out so much emotional pain. I needed that, and I had hoped they would wash together and cleanse my weary and broken heart. But that was not to be the case.
Your oldest brother’s labor lasted 18 hours. It was “text book” and went exactly how we hoped. When we arrived at the hospital mid morning, February 9, 2006, I was already 8 centimeters dilated. The nurses ran around franctic and overwhelmed with that discovery, while your Daddy and I grinned at each other. This is it!
I was so naive in his pregnancy...I ate whatever I wanted and never feared that he might not come home in my arms. I didn’t know that life back then. The anatomical ultrasound was one of excitement to just find out the gender. The due date felt guaranteed. I never counted kicks or worried if his movement slowed. I didn’t think something could go wrong in a pregnancy or during labor or in delivery. I expected my expectations to be fulfilled. And they were. For him, your two big sisters, and your littlest big brother.
But now, I am terrified for your little brother. I live in fear, and my anxiety often swallows me whole. Each day I hold my breath, watching and waiting. Time is moving, and his arrival can’t seem to get here soon enough. I have seen too much, know too much, and lived the nightmare of losing you.
When I look at each of your siblings, I wonder...what if they had not made it, like you? The cord was wrapped around your littlest big sister’s neck, but she survived. Your biggest brother’s umbilical cord was so short, and he was a small full term baby at 6 lbs, 4 oz, and 18 inches...but no one ever suspected intrauterine growth restriction.
All of my pregnancies, including your’s, were easy, seamless, and non-stressful. My previous labors were free of complications...18, 21, 4, and 3.5 hours...until you. For you, I had 11 hours of induced torture and a baby who came out breech, still, silent, and cold with a double nuchal cord that had a tight knot in the center.
But you were still so beautiful.
I’ll never forget the moment I first held your big brother...thr first time I held my first baby. Your Daddy cut the umbilical cord, and the nurse placed his small body in my arms. He was so quiet. So pensive. So serious. He gazed into my eyes, as though speaking volumes of wisdom. I felt, in that moment, that he knew exactly who I was...his mother. His dark brown eyes peered into mine, and it was the most beautiful moment.
His existence made me a mother. Your existence made me your mother.
How could I have ever imagined the journey that motherhood would take me? 11 years, 3 months, 13 days, and almost 12 hours later from that moment, I would be holding you. But it was oh so unbelievably different. There was no grinning. Nothing was textbook about it. Your Daddy didn’t cut your cord...he couldn’t even watch you come out. All he could do was stare at me in my physical and emotional pain, stroking my hair, loving me, telling me how proud he was of me, that I was so strong. But we were both so broken. There was no joy, no excitement...only sadness. No one placed you in my arms. They whisked you to study you, searching for an answer. Your eyes never, ever looked into mine. And I didn’t take you home. My heart didn’t swell with pride, but instead was swallowed with pain.
Before you, I took for granted what a birthday really means. You didn’t have one. You died inside of me. You were delivered...not born. “Born into heaven,” they say.
Since I’ve had you, we’ve lived through my birthday, your two big sister’s, your Daddy’s, and now your oldest brother’s. Your little brother’s is next. And oh, how I hope and pray that it is just that...a BIRTHday.
I can’t help but reflect on that day for all of your siblings, and think of your’s at the same time. I think about how I try to mother you from earth. How is that even possible? I guess it’s just that you never leave my mind or my heart. I’m so thankful you are my fifth child, my third daughter, my girl delivered 8 months and 19 days ago.
You will forever be mine, and you are part of my story, our family’s story, your sibling’s story. You are a part of US, and that will never change.
I love you so much, my sweet girl. Please pray for your oldest brother, my first born, on his birthday. Please pray for me in my motherhood.
Forever missing you. Forever loving you. Forever your Mother.