The feel of a newborn

new babyLast week my friend and co-worker gave birth to a precious little baby girl 🙂

Little K.E. joined her family on May fourth and became little sister to two year old A.J. Both parents are ecstatic to have two healthy, happy, little girls in their family. And I am overjoyed for them.

While I have only known my friend for a little over a year, we seemed to be kindred spirits and hit it off from that very first meeting. She feels like family, and that makes her family also feel like family.

I was privileged to be a part of this pregnancy pretty much from the day after they decided to start trying for their second child. I was also privy to the news of the pregnancy as soon as they found out and I had to keep the secret right along with them, until it was time to share it.

I got to watch her grow and change and go through the motions (like sickness) and emotions (like tears), and the whole experience has been an incredible honour for me in ways I’m not certain I have the vocabulary to share.

Especially as someone who may never get to experience the gift of creating life within my own body.

Sometimes, over the past 9 months, it has been tough for me – I’m not going to lie. There were days that I would come home from work and bawl my eyes out because I wished with all of my heart that it was me growing a big beautiful belly, or me who had a baby moving and growing within me.

Heck, I have tears now just writing those words.

There were moments where it was really hard for me to hold it together. Moments when it was hard to smile without allowing the little green monster that sometimes dwelled in my heart to show its ugly head when we talked about the future baby and the progression of the pregnancy. And I’m not certain that I always kept that ugly side hidden.

Being aware that it might be the closest I’ll ever get to a pregnancy myself was the cause of those yearnings and occasionally I’d feel the loss of the ability to experience what she was experiencing – and my heart would break wide open.

It’s not that I couldn’t have talked with her about it; she not only would have understood but would have supported me through it – because that is the friendship we have.

I didn’t talk about it because I felt deeply ashamed of feeling that way. I felt that by saying out loud that sometimes her pregnancy made me sad would, consciously or not, make her cautious about sharing more, and I honestly didn’t want to miss a single second. I wanted to soak up every beautiful moment, even the painful ones.

Besides, they were only flashes of yearning, and some days I got so much joy from getting to feel a part of her journey that the occasional burst of tears was a small price to pay.

When K.E. was born last week, I was not certain of the protocol around visiting a mom and newborn after the birth… I didn’t want to cut into her settling in, nesting time, though I desperately wanted to see them both.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long…and as that little girl turned 5 days old I got to meet her… and hold her.

K.E. was sleeping in her mother’s arms when I first saw her, and after we caught up on the birth, life, and everything in between, she said “Would you like to hold her?”

Nerves rushed through me. I was scared, partly because I didn’t want to do the wrong thing, and partly because I was frightened that the emotions I would feel would be too big to handle. Thankfully, I didn’t do anything wrong, nor was I unable to deal with my emotions.

This was the first newborn I have held for 23 years – 23 years almost to the day as yesterday was my niece’s birthday, Happy Birthday C!

First we washed our hands for the exchange, and then she put her precious little bundle into my arm. I’d say arms, but honestly she is so small she nestled easily in one arm.

For a few short moments she looked startled, even with her eyes closed, she knew she had changed hands…fear gripped my heart because I didnt want her to reject me (yep, I said it), and I realised I was feeling tense too. So I took a seat and did my best to relax.

As I relaxed, she relaxed and went right on sleeping.

That might have been the moment my heart burst wide open.

This tiny little bundle trusted me to hold her and protect her while she slept. The honour of that moment ignited something within me that can never be extinguished. Even now the magnitude of her trust brings a tear to my eye.

Her little spine along my arm felt so prominent and fragile, yet later I watched her move in the little bounce chair and she seemed so fluid and strong, not at all fragile. Her lungs worked hard, and I didn’t realise that newborns breathe so fast. I guess they are still adjusting to air rather than fluids. But it was something amazing to behold.

My friend said to me, “check out this foot,” and exposed her little foot by unzipping the outfit she was wearing… it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. So tiny, so perfect, so small! Her whole foot was smaller than my pinky finger. And each little toe, able to move and curl… I could have stared at her foot for hours! I desperately wanted to take a photo but for some reason was trying to remain calm and “cool”.  Next time though, I’m all over it… !

The gift of life is a true miracle of wonder.

And holding her felt so lovely. The feeling of her in my arms touched my heart in such a deep and prominent way; it broke me open and shattered my margins.

During this whole adoption process I have said I do not want to have a newborn, in fact when I started I didn’t even want to parent a toddler. But then I was asked to consider a toddler for adoption, so I spent some time getting to know parents with toddlers in my community (including my friend and her then 12 month old). And I opened my heart a little to the idea of parenting a toddler and accepted the adoption proposal (which fell through).

I had that same sensation holding five day old K.E. this past weekend, my heart expanded (exploded more like) and I felt a deep yearning to have a baby of my own.

Of course, the one thing that hasn’t changed for me is that I only want to create life with a man that I love. This is something I have felt strongly about, even when I was married – I did not want to have children back then, and I believe this was the reason behind it.

I wanted only to create life with a man that I was deeply and completely in love with, someone I felt certain that I would love for the rest of our lives – and that even if we split we would always have a foundation of love and friendship that would endure and outlast us both.

I still feel that way.

So, I won’t be running out to a fertility clinic even with this rekindled desire.

Please note: I am not against anyone choosing this avenue to create life – I am all for it, I revel in the miracle of modern medicine that allows such options to exist, it’s incredible and absolutely beautiful. I am only speaking from my own personal romantic heart that wants to feel the life growing inside of me to be a combination of me and my Wesley. (a Princess Bride reference)

Realistically, I am getting on a bit in age and the likelihood of that man showing up in time to still be able to biologically have a child… well, I understand the odds are slim.

Still, if you are out there future husband o’ mine I’d love to meet you soon! 🙂

You may be thinking, “is Adoption your second choice then?” and I want to clear up that it’s not my second choice at all. I want to adopt even if my prince swoops in tomorrow and by some miracle we are pregnant within the year. Adoption is not my only choice though, I’m open to many ways in which to create a family – including through birth, and through a step-family.

Having said that, I am ready to adopt now, and nothing or no one will change my mind. I hope I get a match tomorrow. I am ready. No more waiting for everything to be “perfect” – now is perfectly imperfect and always will be!

“Prince Charming” if he arrives soon, will not only love me but will love my kids too, or he won’t be the right man for us. Even if I met him tomorrow before an adoption match was made he would have to accept that I am a pre-adoptive mother (soon to be an adoptive mom) and be on board with it – or it’s sayonara!

Holding my friend’s precious five day old little girl, reinforced once again for me that I want to have a baby.

The parameters that I currently have set for adoption matches is one year old as the youngest child I would accept. I’m starting to wonder if I wouldn’t remove that one year old barrier altogether and open myself up to a newborn. I will be giving this some careful thought over the next little while, and may even consider being open to taking the training to provide Foster Care for infants.

My friend’s pregnancy and birth has certainly stretched and challenged me over the past nine months, and now her daughter has pushed my self-imposed boundaries even more – I am so incredibly grateful to both mother and her daughters for the growth they have inspired in me, (Thank you, I love you!), and I look forward to whatever unfolds as a result in my future.

Life is about expansion and growth and breaking our own limitations. This past week I have broken through some barriers and I feel a little exposed for it, but I also feel eager anticipation for the new possibilities.

Warm smiles and Love,

Ali Jayne 🙂

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