Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Baby Girl


I was lying in bed the other morning, in that state of not really awake, but not fully asleep, either, just relaxing and enjoying the stillness. My husband had just left for work, so it was probably a little after 6 am, it was still dark outside, and I had been dreaming something nice, I can't remember what it was, but I remember smiling a little bit in my half-sleep and feeling good inside.

Suddenly I heard a little voice whispering, "Mama, Mama" from next to me in the bed. I hadn't realized our 3 1/2 year old daughter was in bed with me. I scooted over next to her, and pulled her in tight, snuggling her, remembering back to her baby days, and how sweet she had smelled then, how much she loved to be carried around in her sling, such a sweet, sweet baby.

She whispered again, "Mama, Mama," "What, Sweetheart?" I whispered back, so enjoying the closeness and semi-darkness that hung over our little home. "Mama, I think you should wipe my bum," my daughter whispered sleepily. I was more awake now, suddenly. "Why?" "Because I just peed in your bed," she replied.

I was instantly awake, jumping out of the bed, reverie shattered. Such is life in a co-sleeping family. Oh, well. Now it was a normal day.

As I brought my daughter to the bathroom to clean her up and stripped off the sheets, I let my mind wander back to that sweet place I had been just prior to my daughter's announcement. She had been such a sweet, easy baby, and really, she hadn't changed much from that. I remembered snuggling her on my breast moments after she was born on the floor in our local birthing center, in awe of her perfect little wet body and beautiful face. Such a miracle she had been. Our midwife and even the OB had told us during my pregnancy with her that she most likely had Down's Syndrome. I can remember the sinking feeling I had at that moment, and then looking over at my husband, steeling myself for the worst from him, instead hearing him say what my heart was already saying, "It's okay, we'll take her anyway we can get her, she's a blessing, and we will love her no matter what."

And then a few months later giving birth to her at the birthing center, another difficult choice. They had tried to steer us towards one of our local hospitals for the birth, but we knew that there was little risk for our daughter, regardless of where she was born. And if she did indeed have Down's, we wanted her with us, not whisked away to a NICU for hours of painful poking and prodding. So we went with our hearts and planned the birth for the birthing center. What an experience that was. The longest labor I've had yet (almost 48 full hours), and yet the easiest, I could do her labor again in a heartbeat. And then seeing that beautiful little girl slide out of me into my husband's hands, absolutely perfect. No Down's, just a beautiful baby girl.

I carried her everywhere with me, "my pouch girl" I called her. She (and I) was in Heaven everytime I put her in our sling. We would go everywhere, my oldest, only 15 months when his sister was born, clinging to my hand, and she in the sling. People would stare at us as if we were something strange that needed to be watched after. Sometimes people would make nice comments, about how comfortable she looked in the sling, or how nice it must be to be snuggled close to one's mama. But more often than not, we got those stares, those sullen looks, somewhat curious, somewhat angry. As if somehow they are offended that I have chosen to carry my children.

Even now she still loves to be in a sling-- she likes the brown cashmere one now, or the brown and pink silk one-- her tastes have "grown up" as it is. "I like the brown one, Mama, I look good in brown!" She's right, she looks amazing in brown. But then again, she is amazing. Even if she did just pee in my bed.

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