My Dear Son,
When I thought about what it would be like to have a baby, I saw myself holding you in a quiet room with sunlight streaming through the window.
But there you were alone in a crib, in a sad grey room with tubes in your nose to help you breath.
Having you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. When I was pregnant, you were crammed in my belly with a cluster of fibroid tumors, one as big as a grapefruit. You would push and kick at them like you were a kickboxer in the ring. Finally, you’d had enough and at 28 weeks I went into labor.
I had never been more scared. Your aunt bought me a tiny rosary made of crushed rose petals. I hadn’t held one since I was a kid, but that night I prayed like I never have before that you would be alright.
And you were. After medication and a night in the hospital the labor stopped. I still had contractions, but bed rest made it possible for you to stay inside until 38 weeks.
Having you was as dramatic as carrying you, but we took you home and all was well. Until it wasn’t. Our pediatrician said that breast feeding was the easiest thing I would ever do in my life. It wasn’t. You kept losing weight. It got to the point that I was pumping or nursing every hour, 24 hours a day. When you were a few weeks old a lactation consultant came to the house to help me with nursing. She had a cold that transferred to me and then to you. A sound started to come out of you like I had never heard. A horrible cough that the doctor said was probably bronchiolitis.
We rushed to Children’s Hospital and there you would stay for 5 sad days, my skinny, coughing baby. An alarm would beep what seemed like every 5 minutes when your oxygen levels dipped too low.
The hospital was a sobering wake up call. As hard as I may have thought we had it, there were many families going through so much worse. The first room we had we shared with a little boy with sickle cell anemia. Then we moved to a room with a girl who was waiting for an operation to remove a tumor on her lung. The mother was hoping her husband could make it home from Iraq for the surgery.
Some mothers say that when they have their babies they fall in love at first sight. But my love for you was gradual. That week in the hospital everything came together. We figured out nursing and you gained a little weight. I was able to hold you and get to know you with no distractions. There was no laundry to do. There was nowhere to go and no one other than dad could visit us.
I loved you already, but I fell madly in love with you in that hospital room. Eight years later, I still am.
This post was sponsored by Johnson’s Baby Cares in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect. Johnson’s Baby Cares has partnered with Save the Children and HIlary Duff to get baby care resources to families in need around the world. The “Baby Care Kits” will be distributed to families in the aftermath of natural disasters. For more information and to get involved, please visit Johnson’s Baby Facebook Page.
Yvonne Condes is the Editor and co-Founder of MomsLA.com. This is an original post for MomsLA, a Community of over 100 of the Top Mom Bloggers in Los Angeles.