Ben is one month old now and the enormous stress of the early days is lifting. The relief of the changes in him after he reached term was enormous. He’s still a very snoozy, and occasionally twitchy, baby but he’s awake gradually more and more and when he is, he’s alert and lovely. In the last couple of days he’s started to use his voice, just trying out sounds that aren’t crying. It’s lovely. His head is longer and his fontenelle is back, having been completely unfindable at birth. I love that gorgeous feeling of soft spot and the little cross around it. It just melts me. It weirds the girls out 🙂
In the last days of being pregnant I allowed myself tiny thoughts of imagining feeling happy again. The first days were hard; very, very sad along with happy but just now it’s mostly all happy. We’ve baby mooned for Ben, as he deserves. He can’t do it for both of them, it has to be just his time. I think we’ve done that as bravely and positively as anyone could, even with all the worrying and tears that couldn’t be helped.
He finally had a bath yesterday (ooops) although in my defence his cord was slow to heal and I just couldn’t deal with fretting about it. He loved it 🙂 and Josie loved helping. He’s just about into newborn size clothes, I think he’s about 7lbs ish now and looking very different. He’s people coloured, with a little flesh to his legs and a softness to his hands instead of spindly and thin. He smiles in his sleep and sometimes his legs stretch out when he relaxes now. You can see that he can focus more and he seems to recognise Max. He sucks his fingers, a hugely adorable habit an he still makes a funny squeak, like a little whoop, when he breathes in sometimes.
Feeding has been hard and we are still struggling at night, with bottles of ebm being the easiest way to cope. A variety of help has cracked day time feeding, so long as I am comfy with a pillow, so no going out yet, but we are getting there and as he gets stronger, it gets easier. A week ago I was pledging to get to 13 weeks; now, so long as we can eventually dump the night time pumps and bottles (I’m not saintly enough for the faff) I think we might get beyond that. I’m enjoying baby wearing and he loves his sling and we’ve been on some walks and started to do normal things. It is lovely not o have to rush about and to be honest, when I try, I realise what an emotional hit all this has been. I can’t make decisions, I got hopelessly confused in kiddicare today. I’m really operating on a very low function level I think, so I suppose my brain must be doing lots of stuff it isn’t letting me in on.
The girls say they believe in him now. I sort of do. They’ve been discussing whether they think of him as part of us yet or if we are 6+Ben (oh, those infernal numbers… 6, 7, 8? who and what are we now?) Some of them count us as 7 again, some are still thinking 6+1. I’m in the second camp. I can’t quite hand over the 7th place to Ben. I don’t know if that is because I feel it belongs to Freddie or if it is because I don’t believe in his permanence yet. Josie struggles too; she has tried so hard to always acknowledge Freddie, I think she and I grieve the hardest and she still catches herself and tries to put him back into place if he gets missed out. I’m never sure if she does it for me or herself but I’ve been trying hard to reassure her that I love that she does it, but it is okay not to always feel she should. Poor girl :/
Everyone loves Ben… I love him. I adore him but a little piece of me is holding back in case he goes. And there is something excruciatingly delightful and petrifying about how much the girls adore him and how impossibly in love with him Max is. I know I can survive if Ben leaves, if he just suddenly went away or was taken or stopped. I have survived it so I know I could. But I don’t know if I could bear to watch all their hearts break again.
It makes all this joy a little hard to trust. It makes it incredibly special. It makes it feel an enormous responsibility and one I must make sure does not weigh upon any of us.
Mostly though, we just love him. And he’s been here a month. And that, after all that time and pain and hurt, is just extraordinary.