You are one week old today! Your Daddy and I are awestruck by how much you’ve changed our lives these past seven days. Just last Sunday we were driving around the Hood River Valley taking pictures of the fall colors, savoring our time together as a couple but anxious to know when you’d decide to come join us in this beautiful world outside the womb.
We were close to having our answer when I started early labor Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning we headed to the hospital soon after active labor began, and by about nine that night I was lovingly stroking the supersoft hairs on your head as you were crowning. We waited several minutes for a supervising doctor to arrive, and I enjoyed caressing your not-quite-born self until he arrived and it was time for a few final pushes. One kind nurse held a hand mirror so I could watch you come out, and right away they put you up on my tummy. You were so tiny and perfect…and strong! We were surprised that your little arms pushed your head up off my chest and looked straight at me with those piercingly beautiful eyes. Your Daddy says I kept saying to you, “You’re my baby! You’re my baby.” He got to cut your umbilical cord a few minutes after you were out and already busy nursing, and the nurses wiped you clean without taking you away so we could enjoy your first few moments with us. They stayed busy scurrying around taking care of me, while I was oblivious to it all, too wrapped up in falling deeply in love with you.
When we talked to you all those months you were still growing inside me, your Daddy and I told you we loved you, and we did. But in those first few moments of seeing you, touching you, smelling you, hearing you, and tasting our own happy tears – we both completely fell for you. It was different than the slowly deepening love that grew between your Daddy and me as we learned more and more about each other. The two of us chose each other, based on various qualities we each were looking for in a spouse, but we held no prerequisites for loving you, our daughter. God chose you for us, and us for you, and our love for you exists apart from all the things we love about you.
I love how soft your hair and skin are. I love the intimacy we share when you nurse. I love the way your little head bobs around and your mouth opens wide as you look for your next meal. I love the way you purse your teensy lips firmly together to indicate you are all done eating for now. I love watching you hold your head up for a few seconds before it flops back down onto me. I love how you give a couple “warning squawks” before you really begin to cry, and I love how well you respond when your Daddy rushes over to soothe you. I love the way you look completely at peace when you are sleeping. I love every little yawn, sigh, and squeak you make in the stages between awake and asleep. (Daddy calls you a jukebox of cuteness).
I love holding you in my arms as you rest peacefully, and try to cherish every fleeting moment. I love that we have so many weeks ahead of us to learn about each other and grow, but I know I will miss these first tender days. I’ve already cherished your first bath, first meal (minutes after meeting you!), first smiles (even if it is just gas…), first car ride, first doctor visit, and first Halloween. I will be proud of every milestone you reach, and eagerly anticipate your first laugh, first words, and first steps. Even so, part of me wants to bottle up your sweet infancy to enjoy any time I miss it.
You’ve already brought such fullness to our lives. You’ve changed the linear love between your Daddy and me into a beautiful, powerful triangle. How I treasure watching your Daddy gaze lovingly at you as my love for both of you wells up inside. How complete life feels when I lean in to kiss your forehead just as your Daddy leans in to kiss mine. You have changed us from a couple into a family. We will now always share a bond both sacramentally through marriage and biologically through our mutual connection to and love for you.
I love so many things about you, but mostly I love you because you are my baby. And I swear there was a moment today when you opened your eyes, looked straight in mine, and cracked a wide-mouthed grin that seemed to say , “Hey! You’re my Mama!”
I am your Mama, and this one week of being your Mama has been the happiest week of my life. I will love you forever.