Smiling in silent lucidity
Motherhood has made me calm.
I’m sure there are a few people out there finding this slightly hard to believe. Those closest to me have seen the nervous come out like the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz.” I’m not saying I’m a big scaredy cat.
But when I’m jostled by pressure or afraid to miss a deadline, it’s usually apparent.
I’m also not trying to brag or make other mothers feeling particularly frantic at the moment feel bad. I’m just as surprised as anyone about this newfound composure. I can only guess it comes with the gravity of realizing I’m now responsible for the health and well-being of a tiny human being.
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Remaining calm really is my best option.
When I first found out I was pregnant — I took the test solely based on a feeling I had — I was admittedly scared out of my mind. So many scenarios flooded my head that it took a few weeks and serious girl talk with my mom and a couple of my best girlfriends to get a grip. I recall my best friends Megan and Kendra reassuring me how great I would be at motherhood, no matter how freaked out I was at the moment. They told me I would just know what to do.
And they were right.
My motherhood journey hasn’t followed nature’s typical path, and even that hasn’t rattled me. Nine months of gestation turned into seven. I lost a hefty amount of blood during my c-section, and my hemoglobin went down to about 6.6 (normal is 12-15), requiring a transfusion. Looking back at the photo of me holding Will that day, sporting an unnatural shade of sickness, I definitely looked the part.
It wasn’t easy being green.
I’ve seen the inside of a hospital more than I cared to in the last nine weeks. Luckily that’s all behind us now, and we’re focusing on the happiness found in bringing a baby home for the first time. Today, Sept. 18, my miracle Will is 2 months old. That seems crazy since he wasn’t even supposed to be here until Tuesday. He has more than doubled his birth weight and is a happy, healthy little guy finally away from beeping machines and feeding tubes.
Eating and sleeping are definitely his thing.
From that warm July day I called Megan, also a nurse along with being a mom, to ask if I should be leaking fluid at 30 weeks, to the moment my doctor confirmed I had a tear in my amniotic sac at the hospital, I felt a sense of calm. I can’t really explain how that’s possible, outside of the funky effects of the magnesium drip I was on, considering all the things that could have gone wrong. There was just something inside me reassuring me that everything was going to be okay.
Somehow, I didn’t panic.
Even when I went into labor 10 days into a five-week hospital bed rest, I stayed focused. Or when he was coming into the world feet first, requiring emergency surgery, I didn’t lose my cool. Or when he had reflux or apnea and held his breath when sleeping and eating in the early days of life, causing his heart rate to dip, I kept it together. That’s what we look for our mothers to do.
That’s the best kind of comfort.
I had a brief moment of frenzy two days before Will came home. Panic ensued. Extra diapers, bottles and washcloths were purchased at the last minute. I hear that’s perfectly normal, for a mom to wonder how the heck she’s going to do it all with a brand new person who needs her for everything. I’m positive I would’ve had the same anxiety this week, since my due date was Sept. 22. That feeling soon passed — although I know I will feel it again when I give him his first full bath. The sheer joy of listening to his sweet baby sounds when he eats and watching him quietly sleep in his bassinet have eclipsed all that ever caused me worry. He is perfect in every way, and Mommy’s little angel.
I say that with all the peace and tranquility a mother can offer.
April E. Clark can’t thank the nurses and doctors at St. Vincent’s Women’s Hospital enough for helping Will grow. She’s forever grateful. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.
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