Tonight was a baby shower for a friend. I made chocolate covered strawberries - they turned out delicious. Like most baby showers the topic of choice was pregnancy and birth stories. Sometimes I can't help but feel that so many women take for granted the first moments with their child after the birth. Almost that it is expected. Do they realize what a miracle it is to have a healthy baby from the first breathe? Six weeks before Antalya was born, my midwife discovered some major problems with the baby and recommended we transfer our care to a perinatoligist. It soon became clear that my baby would need surgery immediately following birth and would need to be immediately transfered to the neonatal intesive care unit upon taking her first breath.
When Antalya was born my doctor held her up for two seconds, exclaiming "what a beautiful girl!" before she was handed through the window next to my bed directly into the hands of neonatal intesive care unit nurse. An hour of two after that was my first "real" look at the child I had carried with me for nine months. She was covered in cords and monitors with an IV stuck in her scalp.
Maybe it is true after all that no matter what your birth story or the health of your baby, all mother's are in a sense given that precious time to bond with their child. It just comes in different forms. For me, it was not how I originally imagined, having just given birth, the naked child placed on my chest, and all the doctors and nurses leave the room to give our new little family time to bond. But yet, there in the NICU room, holding my child for the first time, surronded by other babies, and nurses, and machines, was anything I could have ever hoped for - for in my arms was my very own piece of heaven. I am grateful that we are all blessed with different experiences in this life to teach us tolerance and compassion. Hopefully next time I can remember this and instead of getting upset at the so-called "picture perfect" experiences of others, I can find joy in each women's story, knowing that we are all mothers and love our children more than anything.