Rhys and Quin were born at 8:54pm and 8:55pm on January 29th, at 33 and a half weeks gestation. In retrospect, I suppose they had no choice but to arrive early. Ten days earlier, at my baby shower, I was threatening to run a marathon come 35 weeks if they were still "in there." I just wanted them so badly. After waiting through three years of infertility, nine months felt like a cruel joke to me. I couldn't admit that while pregnant.
I also couldn't admit that I didn't particularly enjoy pregnancy. I don't hide my feelings well, so most people who know me kind of got that anyway. Now that it's over, I can finally say it. I didn't enjoy being pregnant. And I don't want to do it again.
But I'm in LOVE with my babies. So much so that I want to nibble their rosy little cheeks right off. I am amazed by their sweet perfection.
I can't decide what to write about their birth, or how. Which is sort of amazing, considering my penchant for drama. It doesn't get much more dramatic than that night. And when I'm in person, and somebody so much as alludes to the circumstances of their birth, I follow the obnoxiously predictable path of so many women - it's cringe-worthy - I share my war story. I'm processing.
The reality may be that I'm not sure when I'll feel up to the task of writing about everything that was encompassed with their birth. Leading up to my due date, I looked forward to a battle during labor. I wanted, maybe even needed, to fight through labor to give infertility one last big old FUCK YOU. And like so many things in my life, in all of our lives, I got what I wanted. But the package looked nothing like I'd imagined.
My last hurrah over infertility didn't take the form of a sweaty yet fulfilling labor. It took the form of a serious and immediate placental abruption, massive blood loss, and the near loss of life for myself and both babies. And it didn't end there. My last hurrah over infertility took the form of me becoming a mother who left the hospital with her husband but had to leave her babies behind while they grew strong enough to come home from the NICU.
Throughout my pregnancy, I couldn't figure out where infertility fell for me. On some level I suppose I realized that my work in becoming a mother wasn't over yet. For whatever reason, my path to motherhood remained a challenge even after my babies were born. My first weeks as a mother didn't involve waking up at night to screaming babies, but instead to a screaming alarm clock reminding me it was time to pump again. The first time I changed my babies' diapers was through the port-holes of their heated isolettes. I don't know when my babies' cord stumps fell off. One day I arrived at the NICU, changed their diapers, and their little stumps were just gone. My babies lost their last physical ties to me while I was at home sleeping.
Becoming a mother was the most rewarding, challenging, and heartbreaking journey I've ever been so lucky to take. Everything that broke my heart along the way gave me the strength to push past the next obstacle. Scar tissue worked in my favor.
And now my babies are home. They are healthy, happy, and starting to smile. I've done my best to make up for those first few weeks in the NICU. I watched their eyebrows grow in, their little eyelashes take shape to frame their perfect blueberry eyes.
I have become a mother.