There was this moment, after Jessica was born. She was an emergency c-section, and my pressure bottomed out, post-op. I remember that I couldn’t hold her, because I couldn’t stop the shaking and it was so awful, not being able to hold my baby that I just closed my eyes. In a very real sense, I sort of gave up for a few minutes. I don’t mean that I lost the will to live or anything, but that I was so disoriented and felt so powerless without her that I pretty much consciously passed out. The doctors and nurses gave me some nice drugs – and most important, Marc brought Jessie over right beside me and I calmed down, the blood pressure came back up and all was well. The point of my story is that right from the very beginning – I had this colossal NEED for my baby. I didn’t much see the point in breathing without having her.
They say that the bond isn’t immediate with everyone, and I can attest to that. With Jessica it was. It just was – from the instant she was in the world, I needed her more than anything else. With Sam and with Julie, it took a little bit longer, but the need (because it’s not just love – it’s a visceral need) for them – it’s just as strong.
I worried with each of them, the two children I had after Jessica, that I wouldn’t love them enough. Sure, I’d like them and stuff, but love them? The way I did with Jessie? And even after having Sam, even after knowing that it was just as strong – I loved and needed him just the same way, I still worried when I had Julie. How could I possibly love her the way I loved my other two? How would it be possible to love that much, again?
I think with Julie – with the nursing strike on the fourth day – I really, really freaked out about it. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to nurse her, that we wouldn’t have that bond, that it wouldn’t be the same. I was afraid not so much that I wouldn’t love her – I knew by then that I would die for her, but that she wouldn’t be as attached to me as the other kids were. That if I couldn’t nurse her, if I could be replaced by anyone holding a bottle of formula – how would she even know that she was mine?
And I was wrong. Just flat out, totally, totally wrong. I love her, adore her, just as much as I do with Jessica and Sam and she is just as firmly attached to me. We were at a funeral today – and of course, everyone wanted to hold her. So I’d pass her to this cousin or that aunt, and she’d start to cry. They’d hand her back, she’d stop immediately. Someone else would ask for her, I’d give them a shot, but my girl wanted nothing to do with anyone. She was overwhelmed, confused and the only place she wanted to be was in my arms. Because she’s my baby – and my babies don’t like playing “pass the baby,” my babies are legendary on both sides of our family for being incredibly bonded to me – and Julie is just as strongly attached, just as bonded as her brother and sister. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
I love these three children. I don’t know what I did in a past life, or what price I paid earlier in this life to earn these particular children, this particular man, this particular life, but I am so profoundly grateful, every day.