I was pulled from the dredges of deep sleep at 12:36am to the sound of “mommy? Mommy? Mommy?” I looked to the side of the bed to see my daughter standing there. “Mommy, my leg hurts when I stand on it…” This is my motherhood……..I may complain about it sometimes, but I love every minute of it.
Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. That’s not the point of this blog, but it is what it is. I always knew something had been not quite right with my body. When you pass out in the middle of church from the pain, you know something is not the way it’s supposed to be. When I ended up in the ER, it was time to find out what was wrong. Since Michael and I were a little bit older when we got married, and my biological clock had been ticking loudly for a couple of years already, we decided not to wait to try to have babies. Since I knew I had endometriosis, and being a person that has to take charge of things, I went to my doctor six months before we got married, talked about fertility and getting pregnant, had another laparoscopy to “clean things up”, and made a plan. We would get six cycles of trying “on our own” and then more active measures would be taken. I went out that day and bought the thermometer. And we tried. And tried, and tried, and tried. Eight months later, still nothing. I know that’s not completely unusual in the world of fertility, but it was eight long, frustrating months. And I began to doubt myself. I began to doubt my body. I began to be afraid that I would never be a mother. Fast forward through another year of fertility tests, treatments, and one miscarriage to May 5, 2000 (again, fertility, or the lack of it, is not the point of this entry). We saw Ryley’s heartbeat for the first time on ultrasound. I cried. I couldn’t help it. I cried for the baby we had lost six months before, and I cried for the baby that would be. Then, I cried in fear……..what kind of mother would I be? I am admittedly high maintenance. I am a freak about keeping the house up. Would my baby love me? My first Mother’s Day was three days later. Michael got me a card from our bean.
I only got a brief glimpse of Ryley in the delivery room as they worked on him at the warming table. I didn’t see him again for three hours. I was afraid I would never feel a connection to him like I should….He had only been inside of me for six months, and he would spend the next three months in a NICU instead of at home with us. Michael wheeled me into the tiny ICU in the hospital where I delivered Ryley to see him before he was transported to his NICU. I saw that tiny, red, flailing, naked baby laying there, covered in tubes and wires, machines already beeping away. I tried to take it ALL in, but my focus was on him. My son…..it seemed weird to think I was actually a mother. It seemed weird that this was the baby that had so recently been inside of me. I had to connect with him. I had to let him know I was his mommy, and I was there, and would be there for him. I reached out to touch him. I put my pinky finger in the palm of his hand, and he grabbed on tight. And my heart melted. I was a mother. I still didn’t know if I’d be good at it, but there it was. Motherhood.
My second Mother’s Day, a mere year after seeing Ryley’s heartbeat for the first time, I was home with a seven month old (four months corrected), and was four months pregnant with surprise Grace. It amazed me how my life could change so much in one year. I went from being so afraid I would never ever have any children to having one in my arms and one on the way. God truly does have a sense of humor. I know He laughs at me everyday.
I still haven’t figured out if I’m a “good” mother. I have loved each of my children from the moments I found out each of them was expected. I have “fallen in love” with each of them at different times – Gracie when she fell asleep in my arms the first time, Ethan when he was placed on my tummy right after birth and he looked at me with those precious eyes. Most days I feel like I mother on a wing and a prayer, flying by the seat of my pants. But those moments………looking in on them when they’re sleeping, hearing them say “Love you Mommy” for the first time, Ethan running to me and wrapping his arms around me so tight when I pick him up from daycare, Gracie asking for one more hug before bed and singing her little lungs out with me in the car to the Momma Mia soundtrack, Ryley watching hockey and baseball with me and demanding that I “watch this Mom” every time he takes a swing in his t-ball games……those moments are my motherhood.
I hope you will join us for the Mother’s Day Chat this Thursday. We will talk about all things Mom….whether you are Mommy to an Angel, Mommy to a baby in the NICU, Mommy of multiples, have craft ideas for Mommy’s Day, or traditions you want to share, there will be something for you. There will be two chats….one at 3pm EST and one at 9pm EST. Hope you can make it!