When D was born, there was no post delivery cuddles, no cot next to the bed, no feeds. He was whisked off and I got to see a photo. It was quite a surreal experience.
When I did see him, I had to get permission to touch him through a hole in his cot,
I felt like he hadn't been born, more like the end of the pregnancy had been outsourced as my body couldn't finish the job.
I received a stream of congratulations messages and people saying they couldn't wait to meet him. I couldn't wait to meet him either.
As I got better and got to spend more time in the nursery, it still didn't feel quite real. The nurses were kind and encouraged me to care for him, but in the end they decided the way things went. Goosey said to me each time she visited: "He thinks you're his big sister and the nurses are his mum." While that cut a little, it only did so cause I had thought the same thing.
I used to sit in the nursery and look at him and wonder what impact this whole experience would have on him. Being ripped out of the womb before he was ready, he was angry and red those first few days, not wanting to be out in the world. He gradually settled into life and I wondered how the lights and noises and poking and prodding would affect him or shape him. I recently read his discharge letter which detailed all that had been done to him - intubation, feed line, IV drip, etc. While I knew all of it, seeing it together in black and white made me sad. So much for such a tiny being.
At home, I've fed him, changed him and cuddled him. I've looked at him and thought of the strange start we've had together. Disjointed. Surreal.
Yesterday, his big sisters were desperately trying to touch him and cuddle him and just love him and be a part of him. Their noise and attention was too much and he screamed his little lungs out. I rescued him from their over-enthusiastic clutches and he snuggled his head into my chest and quietened immediately. Like he knew this was where he was safe. Like he knew I was his mum.