1.My boy is plonked on my chest and I feel his wriggling, slippery weight. After three days of contractions, when birth seemed impossible, relieved tears flow from me. I see my husband looking amazed, dazed and proud in the half light. I cry some more.
2. It's a couple of hours after the birth and the paediatrician scrunches his face into a concerned smile and says 'we're going to have to put him in a humidicrib'. We're stunned as he wheels our boy away. I turn to my husband and he's got tears in his eyes. In a decade of knowing him, I've never seen him cry.
"I'm scared," he says. I burst into tears.
3. The midwife asks what our boy's name is and I have to tell her he doesn't have one yet. This tiny form, dwarfed by tubes and monitors and devices, just seems so fragile. Not even protected by the talismanic presence of a name. I feel helpless. I cry.
4. My mum's phone rings and it's Julie, her long-time friend calling to check on him. I'm overcome with a sense of community, that for my boy's entire life, people like her will care about him, even though I haven't seen her in years. I cry.
I look down at my little ginger-haired boy and think of his paternal grandmother, looking down at her ginger-haired baby boy, who I then married. This cyclic sense of family, love, birth, death and regeneration washes over me.
5. He's out of the humidicrib and in my room for the first time. It's just me, my husband and our boy. A song comes on that was played a lot during labour. It hits me: We did it. We made it from that moment of uncertainty to this blissful morning of bonding. I cry.
6. That song comes on again an hour later. I cry again. I realise I can never hear The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey's 'Closer' without tearing up.
7. My husband brings me an iced coffee and it's so good. I cry.
8. My favourite midwife is on duty and she flashed me a smile that says 'you did it!'. Oh geez. I cry.
9. I see a sign for the ICU and am reminded of the terrible, terrible jokes my husband cracked while I was in labour (including a relatively uncreative 'I see you' joke). I'm so thankful to have a guy who tried to bring me out of my intense stupor, if only for a minute, to roll my eyes at him. I cry.
10. I hear the unmistakable groaning screams of another woman in labor in the ward. I suddenly feel this rush of solidarity. A sense that every woman who has given birth, either vaginally or otherwise, is a titan of the ages. I look down at my little ginger-haired boy and think of his paternal grandmother, looking down at her ginger-haired baby boy, who I then married. This cyclic sense of family, love, birth, death and regeneration washes over me.
It won't surprise you to know I cry.
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