Oh, baby girl. My sweet, funny, exhausting baby girl. The end is near. I can feel it coming. I can taste the bittersweet sadness in the dusky half light of early morning. I can hear the snuffled sounds of you sleeping. The absence of your weight in my arms, beside me, is pulling me down more and more. The end is near, and I cannot stop it.
The beginning almost never happened, in more ways than one.
You, as a person- at first- was uncertain. It was all that we could do to hope that you would be. To hope that you would come home. To hope that you would stay. And you did all of that. But we struggled.
Oh, those early days!
You didn’t cry. You didn’t open your eyes. You didn’t have that pink new baby glow. You were grey. Dry lips. A floppy and lethargic body. You responded to very little. You scared us. We fed you my milk though a syringe, desperate for you to come back to us. And eventually, you did. And our journey began.
Feeding you was never easy at first. From a baby who did not and would not latch on and drink, you became a baby so desperate to latch on and consume. But you couldn’t. Every feed was a battle. Trying to keep you latched on. Trying to keep you awake. Trying to keep you.
But despite the weeks of frustrating and painful feeds, we got through it. Your tongue tie was divided and your reflux somewhat controlled with my diet and medicines. And all of a sudden, we were a team. We were functioning. We were getting through the days and the nights together.
More times than I care to admit, I wanted to stop. Breastfeeding you has never been easy. I’ve resented how much you’ve needed me. How little sleep you’ve allowed me. How tied to you I’ve had to be. I’ve wanted to close this chapter so many times, but never been able to actually bring myself to do it. And why?
Your little hand pats my skin as you feed.
You clutch my finger sometimes, and you settle into me.
Your heart beat slows and your tears disappear.
You feel solid in my arms, by my side. You remind me that you are there, you are real and you need me.
A part of me. In a way that only you can be.
The reason why our journey continued, and why we thrived in the end.
But now, baby girl, the end is near.
In the last seven days, there have been more nights without feeds than with. You are starting to need me, specifically, less. I am starting to miss the feel of you. The hair pulling, the little scratches and the occasional biting. Yes, I am starting to miss even that.
Because now that the end is near, I realise how special it has been.