Unusual Developmental Milestones — Gestation Day

Last Sunday, my little girl hit a major milestone. As of November 13, she has been outside my body for longer than she was inside it. We know this for certain, because my numbers-obsessed husband calculated (down to the hour) how long she spent inside me. The man loves numbers. Especially prime numbers. When I went into labor the morning of February 17 (a prime number), he was ecstatic. By 9 pm, we were JUST heading to the hospital, and he was growing concerned. By midnight, he was despondent, since it looked as though the baby would be born on the 18th (a non-prime number, for those of you who don’t keep track of that sort of thing). As the 18th wore on, he became hopeful again (19 is a prime number), but his hopes were dashed when I approached full dilation at 4 pm. I believe the words, “Can you hold it in?” actually crossed his lips. I won’t repeat the words that, 36 hours into labor, crossed mine in response.

Photo courtesy of Scott Lefler, http://www.scottlefler.com, (c) 2010

Anyway, this gestation-length milestone strikes me as somehow more meaningful than her upcoming first birthday. After all, her birthday will mean nothing more than that she’s been hanging out on planet Earth for 150 million miles worth of flight through space; that she’s traveled once around the Sun. That’s a pretty arbitrary thing to celebrate, if you think about it. What doesn’t feel arbitrary — what actually feels bittersweet and poignant — are the increasing signs that she’s growing up, and growing independent. These are the milestones that have really hit me hard, and they’re not ones for which Hallmark produces a greeting:

-The moment they clamped her umbilical cord. Granted, I was pretty distracted at the time, but in retrospect, I mist up when I think of this.

-The moment her belly button stump fell off. I was happy to see the little sucker go (from a pragmatic standpoint, because it was starting to smell) but it was the last physical remnant of the cord that had connected us for so long. Since the stump is long gone, I now fixate on her belly button, and give it lots of kisses.

-The moment she took her first bite of food. Prior to that moment (which occurred back in August), she’d been nourished entirely by my body, and by the milk it made, meaning that every cell in her little body was made up of molecules that had passed to her through me. She was still entirely made from me until she took a bite of food, and while I was excited to see her enjoy the new sensation, I have to admit I was also sad.

So add to all of the above her “Gestation Day” — if that’s what you want to call it — that passed us by on the 13th of this month. She’s now officially more a citizen of the planet than a citizen of my body, and I’m excited for her to get to know this beautiful world, but I am also sad that out here, she’ll have to learn about things like pain, and loss, and wickedness. Inside mama, there was warmth, and always-togetherness, and comfort. Then again, out here there are trees, and sunshine. There are mountains to climb up (and ski down!). There are streams to splash in and sunsets to behold. There are spring leaves to smell, and rain to dance in. Inside mama, she floated contentedly, never for want of anything. Out here, yes, sometimes she will weep with despair and explode with rage, and for that I am sorrowful. But out here, she will also quiver with excitement, flush from joy, bask in love. Out here, there is wonder, there is discovery, there is quite simply so much life to live.

Happy Gestation Day, my darling W, and may you always delight in exploring the world outside mama that is now, most certainly, your home.

 

What generally unsung milestones have you celebrated?

 

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Another Unusual Milestone | SquintMom.com

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