After 4 days of laboring and pushing at home for the homebirth I planned, I transferred to the hospital for a cesarean. Moon was cut from my womb and there will always be a scar where she once lived.
My sore incision stretched and throbbed as I shifted around in the hospital bed trying to make her comfortable as she sucked at my breast. My body had been hers for the past 10 months but it felt truer when she latched onto me than ever before. Moon suckled for 5 hours straight the second night. I wanted to cry and pull her off me- this is MY body! I need to sleep! But I just laid there like a still-life watching her suck and gently reminded myself that things had changed. I was no longer living only for myself. It was 4am when I released that part of me that was still hanging on, like the thread that stitched me together. Deep breath in: I'm sorry to see you go. Deep breath out: I am a mother now, like all the mothers before me. I let my neck relax on the pillow and Moon's body adjusted on mine. My husband slept on a recliner next to us. I turned to look at him and began to cry. In the dark of my hospital room with a dreaming husband to my left and a baby sprawled across my chest, I welcomed myself, a new mother, into our family.
Time had no meaning during our first few weeks at home. The sun set as quickly as it rose and we slept anywhere in our apartment that Moon would fall asleep. Our legs stacked like a Jenga game across the couch as the morning light flooded our living room. We would lay and laugh. We had never felt so tired and clueless. I lounged around in mesh hospital underwear with an overnight pad guarding my incision and an open bathrobe allowing my tender, chewed off nipples some air as they leaked down my stomach. Max would smile at me and call me his dreamboat. I hobbled back and forth from the bed to the couch and Max defrosted the lasagna we made a few weeks earlier. Our neighbors came over to meet the baby and I welcomed them in with my open robe—completely oblivious to the fact that it had not become a look that everyone was accustomed to outside of our apartment. I leaned on Max in a way I had never needed to before. This is motherhood? This is life. If never before, I am living it now; Still round and soft, tender and milky, sore and scared, joyful and exhausted, loved and in love.
Seven months later and I'm still leaking milk, still shedding tears of gratitude and still laughing at the madness of motherhood and love.