We’ve closed the memory book on Simon’s 2nd birthday. A good, simple day marked by balloons and decorations waiting for him when he woke up, mac and cheese for lunch, a homemade yellow cake with chocolate frosting, a Grover stuffed animal, a wooden parking garage with three trucks and a car for him to enjoy for years to come. On Sunday we’ll all go to the aquarium and marvel over the fish and the ocean.
On his first birthday last year, I was grieving heavily over just finding out that my midwife, who handled my pregnancy and labor, was responsible for sending multiple clients to the hospital after having them push too soon. I was among them, a year before. I cried on Simon’s first birthday because he was supposed to be my VBAC baby and I’d been betrayed by someone I trusted.
One year later, I can honestly say that I’m not angry anymore. I’ve let it go and I’ve learned. C-sections are still very much on my mind, as I have one looming over me, but as far as Simon’s birth goes, it is what it is. There is absolutely nothing I can do to change it.
And I wouldn’t. I think that’s the big thing. I wouldn’t change it.
Simon was a beautiful, alert baby, who at first looked like Charlie to me but rapidly developed his own unique face. His hair was strawberry blonde but was entirely red by the time he was three months old. His skin was darker than Charlie’s porcelain fairness but quickly lightened up in order to give both Charlie and me some competition for Whitest Person Ever. He wasn’t a small baby: he weighed in at 8 lbs 4 oz, a whole ounce heavier than Charlie was at birth, and yet he lacked the solidness that Charlie always had. Simon felt tiny but when he looked into my eyes, I knew this was no tiny spirit I was holding, but an old one. A wise one. An intense one.
And, as it turned out, a giggly, joyous one. Simon was ticklish from the beginning and laughing from the depths of his belly by the time he was seven weeks old. Now, at two years old, he’s still a regular gigglebox.
From the time he was born, Simon was intensely attached to me. He nursed easily and it was clear I was his favorite place. We spent hours cuddled up together, his face pressed into me, his tiny hand gripping my finger. I held his perfectly shaped head in my hands, something I still do today, rubbing the softness of his hair, tracing the paper thinness of his ears. Being able to nurse him and watch him thrive off of my milk gave me the deepest satisfaction, especially after the heartbreak I experienced when I could not breast feed Charlie. Simon still nurses once a day, before his nap, and it’s still clear that, at least for that small piece of time each day, I am his favorite place.
But as he’s grown, Simon’s found other favorite places, particularly in Charlie and Roy. Oh, how he adores the other boys in his life. And the way they adore him back makes my heart feel like it will split wide open. I am love-wounded for life, watching my three boys love each other.
We’ve all grown immeasurably as a result of adding Simon to our family, and tonight, as I sorted through baby girl clothes, thinking of the next little person we will add to our family, it occurred to me once again that doing this, bearing these children, birthing them, feeding them, clothing them, playing with them, loving them, this is the greatest thing I have ever done.
Simon felt his little sister move in my belly for the first time today, on his second birthday, as he nursed to sleep. She’s in the habit of stretching her legs into the sides of my belly, and Simon rubbed my stomach with his little hand in response. It reminded me of the day I first felt her move back in July, also while Simon was nursing down for his nap; back then her movement was just a gentle tap-tap-tapping from the inside. And the day I first felt Simon move in my belly: it was Charlie’s first birthday; I was watching his birthday video while he was napping and Simon tap-tap-tapped in response to the music.
We are all connected, not just by blood and DNA, but by love. This family started when I met a blue-eyed boy in college back in 2005, and our love has grown, expanding through each other to the three little ones who call us Mommy and Daddy. This is the hardest thing I have ever done. My heart aches with the knowledge that our babies will grow and change, the years will slip by, and our children will leave, and when they do, it’ll be just the blue-eyed boy and I, alone again, but forever full because of our most perfect creations.
For now, though, I’m staying here. It’s November 16, 2012, two years since my baby Simon was born. The boys are asleep in their beds; Roy is in the other room on his computer; I am writing surrounded by dirty dishes and birthday cake crumbs; Blueberry Girl is safe inside my womb, stretching her baby legs.
I could never, ever ask for more than this. Happy birthday, Simon.