Our Mila turned six weeks old this week. Six weeks ago, I was holding her for the first time, getting to know who she was, about to navigate this new world as a mama to two babies I adored more than life itself. Ten months of waiting had crescendo'ed to that night - one of the most intimate, most emotional, most love-filled nights of my life.
I packed away Mila's newborn clothes the other day, mainly her itty bitty 5-8 pound Gerber onesies and some of her sleepers she wore on her first days home with us. They are too small for our growing girl and I was excited to move onto the next round of cute outfits awaiting her in her closet. But as I went through her drawers and held up the tiny clothes, I wasn't prepared for the pit that formed in my stomach as I saw evidence of her growth, change, and how quickly the last six weeks have gone.
Time is a thief and it's taking my baby with it.
We've formed quite a bond over the past six weeks, you know. You are happy when I am near and so am I. I don't like to be away from you too long and I start to get achy when you aren't in my arms. I think you like it there, too, as you respond to my touch and my voice in the best ways.
Oh and breastfeeding you. I get this pit in my stomach when I think of how fast you are growing, when I get out that new box of size 1 diapers and realize how much bigger they are compared to the newborn size, but then I look at your round tummy, or squeeze your little thighs and am amazed at the miracle in front of me. The realization that you are growing all because of me is one of the most incredible feelings in the world. It is the most honorable, most amazing, most frustratingly important work I will ever do and I am so thankful for each day I get the chance to feed you.
There is perhaps no greater analogy to motherhood than breastfeeding itself. I never questioned whether I wanted to do it or not, but I never realized how hard it would be. It is a sacrifice, a commitment, and at times, can feel as if it's stripping any identity you once had. There are times I feel as if I am nothing more than a food supply, especially on those days when a shower isn't in the cards and I smell of day old milk. It can be monotonous and I am tired of breast pads, nursing bras, and that pump permanently plugged into the wall.
But then, she's hungry and she's crying, crying for me, and I suddenly feel like the most important person in the world. I enter this euphoric place with her, a place only her and I will ever know. In that moment, I am all and everything she needs. I suddenly feel more purposeful, more beautiful, more loved than I've ever felt before, and the feeling is immense. In the middle of the night, I curl up in our recliner and as the rest of the world sleeps, we grow closer together.
Sometimes, I turn on our DVR, catch up on The Bachelor, The Voice, or Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show, but other times, I just watch her. I watch how excited she gets just moments before she latches, her eyes big and wide, panting little breaths like a puppy. How her hands always find something to hold onto - the color of my shirt, the side of my breast. I rub my finger across the softest part of her head, that place right behind her ear, over and over again, and watch her eyes drift in and out of dreams. And most of all, I take in her noises. Her gulps, her squeaks, her baby dinosaur squawks, and finally, her songs when her tummy is finally full and content.
I call Mila my three-hour queen, as she's rarely forgotten to eat every three hours since birth. And while one part of me longs for a full night's sleep, I know someday I will miss those nights of me and her. When the whole world's asleep and it's just me and my girl.