The Beginning (aka Damn You, Pandora!)
I have noticed this new commercial floating around because those jewelry jerks over at Pandora are marketing geniuses. I am not a fan of marketing tactics in general, because, really, it's just a manipulative ploy to get you to buy something. But. If you haven't seen the ad, you can watch it using the link here to our Facebook page (you see how I did that?), if not to have a good cry yourself, then maybe to get a glimpse into the psyche of many parents everywhere. May I also suggest you not watch it while you are bored in the checkout line at a popular store? (No, I am fine. Really, it's not the first time I've had this much snot on my sleeve.) For me it wasn't just a tearjerker; I had to pause it and look away because I couldn't see the screen through my ugly cry tears. I was thrown back to my birth as a mama, in those first days where nothing went as planned.
At 34 weeks into my first pregnancy, I found myself in labor and giving birth via emergent cesarean. My babe was in the NICU, unable to be held; I was stuck in bed, unable to visit him; and the baby in the room next to me was crying, then calmed by her mama. That first day I was blessed by many visitors - family and friends came to visit me and my little one. After my hubby took them down to meet my son, they came up to tell me how strong he was, how beautiful he was, and how much he looked like his daddy (these comments especially made him super proud). While I absolutely loved hearing all their reports, I couldn't help my heart from breaking each time. Everyone knew my baby better than I did.
During pregnancy, everyone tells you how important those first few hours after birth are - for bonding, for breastfeeding, for temperature regulation, for that special hormone cocktail that makes everything perfect and dreamy. Perfect and Dreamy. (You are supposed to read that in a whispering whimsical voice). And indeed they are super important! I tell parents about protecting their birth space all. the. time. So what happens when you can't have those magical moments? When I couldn't have those magical moments? Or days, as it turned out.
The first time I really got to see my little one I was wheeled down to the NICU. I was exhausted and in pain, but that was secondary to the emotional weight pressing down on me. Would I even recognize my child who I had only seen for 30 minutes of his 20 hours of life? Would he recognize me? I doubted it and I deeply feared it.
We went through the doors of the NICU, I washed my hands and was talking to hubby (Where is my son? How is he doing? Why can't I hold him?) when one of the nurses gets my attention. "There he is over there - you see him? He hears your voice and he is turning his head to look for you. Go over to him."
I saw his face and went to him. We still had a long road ahead of us, but those 7 1/2 months I carried him had an impact - he recognized my voice from across the room. He was looking for me. He knew me.
Whenever I think of that day I silently thank that nurse who whispered in my ear, who pointed out something so basic and true, who got me back on the path to defeat that fear of lost connection. And now I have to thank *&#%$@# Pandora, too, for the reminder.