Monday, July 16, 2007

My Most Adventurous Moment

Write-Away Contest



This post won an honorable mention in Scribbit's July Write-Away Contest....


My greatest adventure began 16 years ago, when I first set my foot on the road of parenthood.

Motherhood, for me, did not begin at the moment I saw the blue line on the EPT stick, though I believe that life begins at conception. It was not when my body began to swell, or when I first felt the fluttering kicks of life inside me. It was not at the moment that a slippery body emerged from mine and there was suddenly one more person in the hospital delivery room.

No, my adventure began in the middle of that first night in the hospital, when a nurse flipped on the fluorescent light, waking me from groggy sleep, and wheeled a bassinet into the room. "He's hungry!" she cheerfully sang out. Then, as suddenly as she had appeared, she left.

No! Don't leave! a part of me cried out with alarm. Yet here I was, alone with this blinking, squirming little creature whose face I barely recognized yet. Alone with him for the first time, since my husband had been with us all day.

He chewed on the doll-like hand he had managed to pull free from his swaddling blankets. He turned his face in the direction of the drifting hand, blinking at the fluorescent light. In that eerie glow he looked like a little alien. Like E.T., I thought, only--prettier.

I had never been around newborns, or babies of any age.

With another fleeting wish for the absent nurse, I mentally took a deep breath, and thought, "Well, I guess if I don't pick up this baby, no one else will."

And with that thought, I set my foot down for the first time on the road of motherhood.

I lifted him from the bassinet and awkwardly got us settled into the bed. He latched right on, as he had already done twice or three times since his birth that morning. In the dim, greenish light, I examined the pale, petal-soft cheek, the shapely shell of his ear, his fuzzy, perfectly shaped head.

As I studied him, a never-before-felt surge of emotion rose up in my chest. It was fierce, possessive, protective, helpless. Hot tears slid down my cheeks as I watched this miracle, this product of love, this pinnacle of God's creation--this tiny life I had been entrusted with, drinking deeply of the warm nurture of my body.

I am a mother, I thought. This is my child, for better, for worse, in sickness or in health, difficult or easy...to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in infancy and in adulthood...until we are parted by death.

My life was forever changed--in a moment.

11 comments:

Scribbit said...

When I left the hospital with my daughter and realized I couldn't push a button to call the nurse to take her when she was crying I felt the full weight of what I was now going to do. :)

But it has been fun.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

This is so lovely Jeanne.

I remember thinking those E.T. Alienish thoughts about them when they were little, too. . . .

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post, Jeanne-- thank you! I thought all my babes looked like little old men. Blessings, Annie

Linds said...

So help me, my sister thought my son looked just like ET when he was born. I thought he was a stunner. And I know what you mean ... the realisation that the buck stops right here is a huge one! I remember feeling like a mother the moment I said... Mummy is here, sweetie, when my oldest started crying the day he was born. Precious memories.

Kathryn Judson said...

OK, this is amazing timing. On Monday I did a post on "Learning on the job: motherhood edition" which features links to a few articles and blog posts.

I've updated it to add this post.

G's Cottage said...

Congratulations! I see you're an Honorable Mention. Good job.

Patois said...

Lovely read. Lovely thoughts. Congratulations on getting an honorable mention in Scribbit's contest!

allrileyedup said...

Great thoughts. When I left the hospital, I, like Scribbit, started crying upon realizing there was no nurse button for me to call. My husband, concerned about my crying, said, "Do you want me to buy you a milkshake?" Admittedly, the milkshake solved many a crisis during my pregnancy, but seriously, a milkshake??? I did get one, though, and somehow, I did feel slightly better.

Daisy said...

sniff -- oh, the memories.

Kim said...

That first moment you realize you are responsible for an entire human life is overwhelming, isn't it? It's also amazing and wonderful! Thanks for taking me back to those memories. Good job.

After my son was born my sister-in-law told me he looked like Yoda from Star Wars. Well, he wasn't green but he ears did stick out from his head quite a bit. I thought they were adorable though, and still do almost 11 years later.

Lynnae (From Under the Clutter) said...

That is definitely a terrifying, yet incredibly satisfying moment in a mother's life!