Monday, August 30, 2010
I've been thinking of the first time I saw Chloé after Mia and Aidyn were born. It was in the hospital after I hadn't seen her for four days. I felt like someone had teleported six kilos (13 lbs) out of my belly and just left everything else inside to find its way back to its normal position (which is pretty much what happened). My belly felt heavy in all the wrong ways. I could walk but not far and my two babies were being cared for on the other side of the hospital. I was pumping milk every three hours hoping to avoid a Milchstau. Even at night, although I'd been sleeping poorly for months and was so tired that I sometimes felt like I was in a fog.
She came in slowly, holding her best friend Benno's hand. I imagined they had told her she would see her mommy but she wasn't sure she believed it. She seemed to hesitate, let the grownups come in first. As she came through the door, she saw me, but remained shy, and took another couple of slow steps, still holding Benno's hand. Then she seemed to decide that I was real and she ran up to me.
I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her into my lap. Her grandmother tried to scold her but I just shook my head. Then the tears came. Feeling her skin, her hair, her weight, I couldn't stop them. I looked at her face and smiled to reassure her. I kissed her cheek and hugged her head to my chest. "Oh, my Chloé. My Chloé. My Chloé. I missed you." I smiled at her again. I kissed her again.
But she was so BIG. A GIANT. Her head was huge. She was tall. Her hands were nearly as big as mine. Was she this big when I left on Saturday?? I thought. But of course she was. I'd been looking at two brand-new people for four days. And even their three kilos were, thankfully, tiny bodies. Compared to this little girl of two years and four months, they were minuscule. Or she was a giant.
I wish I had a picture of her on that day. To remember this feeling. But a picture wouldn't capture the feeling. She didn't really look any different from the Friday before I left, or the Saturday I went home from the hospital, or the Thursday the babies came home. And I have these photos. It was one of the most emotional moments of our lives, and we can only capture this in our minds and our hearts and, hopefully, our words.