Exactly The Same Completely Different.
I found myself explaining Owen for the eleventythousandth time yesterday.
"Birth defect, blah blah, ICU, blah blah, mostly dead, blah blah, miracle, blah, feeding tube, Deaf, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda."
I found myself recieving the You Poor Thing look for the eleventythousandth time, and then this comment;
"But you love him just the same right?"
Ummm. Right? I guess? No, actually. Not right. Not the same at all.
I don't love him the same as I love Bea.
Bea was all mine the second she was born. All mine to take care of; to feed and change and clothe and snuggle and love. Every squeak and squeal would elicit a reaction I could feel in every cell of my body. She's always felt physically part of me. Even now at two years old I can't get close enough to her.
She is a perfect little piece of me, walking and talking all on her own, but I can't tell where I end and she begins.
I want to absorb her, inhale her, consume her. I breathe her in, squish and squeeze her, snuzzle her snuzzly parts and it's never enough. It's overwhelming and nearly painful at times.
Like every Mommy and Baby should be, we are our own private little Universe. A place just for us, where nothing and no one can touch us.
The Universe was a much different place for Owen and me. He left my body and was thrust into the arms of strangers, torn away from me violently before any bond could be formed.
I sat by his bedside week after week, wanting him to live, waiting for him to die, and not seeing him as mine. I held the love back, protecting myself from the hurt I knew was coming when he left us.
It seems selfish now, but I was in survival mode then. I needed to focus on my survival while the doctors focused on his.
Then at around 6 weeks old, he let us know that he'd decided to stay and all of a sudden I had a baby. The bond started to form as I was finally allowed to change his diaper, bathe him, and even hold him.
Normal Mommy/Baby bonding this was not. This little thing had fought off the most fearsome adversary, and won. I marvelled at him, revered him, and felt unworthy to be his mother. How could such an important little person be mine? What he'd done was bigger than anything I ever thought would happen in my life, and he was mine?
As humbled as I was to be allowed to be his Mommy, I took him by the little hand and joined him in his fight.
Together we fended off the enemies in the ICU; infections, addictions, wounds, mean nurses. We hid in the trenches and dodged bullets. We fought off all that CDH threw at us and backed out of that ICU carefully, ready for the next surprise attack.
Seasoned war buddies now, the remaining 6 weeks of his hospital stay were a piece of cake compared to the battle we'd already waged. Nobody dared mess with us. He called the shots and I backed his little ass up.
That's how it's been since. He leads, I follow.
I still don't feel worthy to be entrusted with such a special life. He is other wordly and beyond my comprehension. I may have to look down to see him, but I'm always looking up at him.
I know he's mine, but he's far more than just mine. He belongs to the dozens of doctors, nurses and therapists who kept him alive. He belongs to science and medicine. He belongs to the CDH community and the Deaf community.
I could never hold him as close as I hold Bea. I don't have the same claim to him as I do to her.
He is his own Universe.
Bigger than all of us.