Dear Cora - An Introduction

I am not the kind of mom who writes in baby books. I do not take you in for professional photos every few months. Some days we stay in our jammies and never leave the house. And I will probably not save the hair from your first haircut.

Nevertheless, there are some things I can't wait to tell you. Things I never want to forget. There are nights I can't fall asleep because I'm so excited at the thought of you, and you're just in the room next door.

I never knew love could feel like this.

I did not cry when you were born. It was much earlier for me. I cried when I was 10 weeks along and thought I might be losing you. I cried at 12 weeks when I saw your little alien head and perfectly formed fingers and hands for the first time. You were inside, growing, and healthy. I cried at 16 weeks when it was confirmed that you were a Cora, and not a Ben...just as I'd suspected since week 7. I referred to you as "her" and started sentences with "she."

I called you Jelly Bean, just to be on the safe side.

I cried the first night of our two week stay in the hospital. It was right after they gave me morphine for the first time in hopes of slowing contractions. The weight of my body under that drug was a tear press. We'd only been together for 32 weeks, we still needed to stick together. I cried when I got home, a week before you were born. I didn't expect to be gone for so long. You were already my best little friend.

And I hardly knew you.

I had the special privilege of witnessing your birth through your dad's eyes. I couldn't see anything behind the blue veil of secrecy, but I watched Jake as you "backed into the world." It was total wonder. You didn't cry when you were born either. You made a few little sounds, but you began just as laid back as you've always been. My whole world changed when I saw them carry your oddly colored body past me to clean you up.

I don't remember who I was before that moment.

The first night you were home, my milk came in, and you couldn't eat. I was terrified, and in pain. I slept for one hour that night. You slept for most of it, but I was just so sure you needed to eat that I couldn't sleep. I held you while I looked out the living room window. I prayed for a really long time. It was a prayer of gratitude. I was holding you in my arms. I was yours and you were mine.

I knew it was supposed to be that way.

The next day Meemaw and Peepaw came to help cook food and clean up around the house. I tried feeding you several times. You ate once. When dinner time rolled around, I was sitting across the table from Peepaw, who was holding you. I couldn't control the tears again. Peepaw noticed, looked me right in the eye and motioned to you while saying, "They don't just die."

I was relieved and mortified at the same time.

That night Gram stayed with us, so she could take a turn the next day. I was so emotional and TIRED. SO TIRED. I hadn't caught up on sleep after our first hospital stay. I'd pumped enough milk from my bursting at the seams breasts for her to feed you that night so I could sleep. I was so sad to be away from you, but I needed to rest. When I woke up the next morning, the weird lumpage around my incision had flattened out. I cuddled you and kissed you, and we got ready to go to the lactation consultant. She said you had the tiniest mouth she'd ever seen and that my let-down and fast flow was overwhelming you, which is why you would back away. She gave us a shield.

It saved our nursing lives.

The next night Grandma got here. She stayed for 3 weeks. She was a blessing. I couldn't walk upright all the way for almost 2 weeks. She took naps with you in the chair, made us seriously delicious food, fought off killer allergies, took us to all kinds of appointments, and helped us both get going.

She cried when she had to leave.

Now you're over a year old. I don't know where the time has gone. You've come so far from the tiny 5#8 baby we brought home from the hospital. I love you more and more every single second I'm with you.

You are definitely the light of our lives.


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