We have to compartmentalise in this new life. Because each of the amazing first child milestones, activities, moments, whatever you want to call them come with a mixture of happiness and misery.
So we put things into boxes.
The good and the bad.
It was magical, scary, fragile and joyous. We got to hold our babies, out of their incubators, feel their warm skin on ours and try to will some of our life and love into them to make them stronger. It was so so good.
But they were together then, two little boys.
First time on the breast.
The one day that I finally felt like I was definitely a mother. Holding Oliver so I could see him, letting him get to know me, and see if he knew what to do. He did so well, he even managed a couple of little suckles. It was so unbelievably good.
But I had to express all of the milk out first, as he’s not allowed to actually drink it and we only have him there for 5 minutes, as they don’t want him to get too tired and give up on the breathing.
34 weeks. Out in this world for 10 weeks, never been washed. A little upside down hair wash, and a short full-body dunk in the bath. He didn’t seem to mind it, and we loved it, rinsing his skin, keeping him warm, the post bath olive oil massage. Heaven.
But he’s still got 6 weeks until he’s meant to be born, and a little body that doesn’t know how to deal with tiredness and discomfort, so we had a terrible post bath afternoon.
Each time we go through one of these huge events we feel the good and the bad side by side, and it’s hard to figure out how to cope with that. Until at some point you force the bad feelings into a little box and put them away.
We won’t get the first times in the way that most parents will, and each time something new happens we steel ourselves for both the joy and the pain, but, as time goes by, there will hopefully be more of one than the other.