Stone Brodley Maiuri was born on February 28th, 2019 at 4:24pm. He made his way into the world via sun roof (aka C Section) because it was really cold in Michigan in February and I guess he didn’t want to come out during a polar vortex.
I get it.
You see, the first thing I learned about Motherhood was that birth isn’t a f*cking vacation. But boy, did I pack like I was going on one. I had my hospital bag ready and waiting to go at 37 weeks. And it didn’t get used until week 41.5. I packed everything every blogger told me was a “must have” for a go bag. And then some. I even brought my Kindle, embroidery, and UNO like I was going to a quiet retreat in the forest for a few days.
I repeat, whatever anyone tells you, birth is not a vacation.
Without going into too extreme of detail, let’s just say Stone was birthed via C Section after a series of vain attempts at persuading him out of my body otherwise. It started with me trying every “sure thing” to go into labor (like eating pineapple and extremely spicy food, bouncing endlessly on yoga balls, and walking miles each day) and ended with me screaming “JUST CUT HIM THE F OUT OF ME ALREADY” in a poor nurse’s face.
God bless nurses.
Less than an hour later he was laying on my chest in a recovery room and I was officially a Mom. He was tiny. And so cute. Like a skinny little raisin.
I remember as I was getting wheeled to the recovery room after surgery, my fresh baby being pushed behind me by my husband, my mom came out of the waiting area to greet me in the hallway.
“Isn’t he perfect?” I asked her. “I haven’t seen him yet,” she responded, “I wanted to know you were ok first.”
And that, my friends, is pretty much the entirety of what it means to be a mom. All I want to know is that Stone is OK, above everything else that’s happening.
Before I go to bed, I check that he’s ok. When we are taking walks, or I’m wearing him in a sling, or if I’m feeding him, I inspect him to make sure he’s ok. I have notification alerts on my phone from his monitor, so wherever I am while he sleeps, I can check if he’s ok. As I write this, I have another window open of Stone’s monitor so I can see every spastic move he makes in his sleep. Basically, when something is wrong, I want to be the person to help make whatever is wrong OK again.
I guess it was always difficult for me to imagine what I’d feel like as a mom. I always thought moms were like, beyond wise and always had it together and knew what they were doing and were professionals at caring for others. But moms may appear that way but they don’t know. No one knows what the hell they are doing when they have a baby but you learn and you do the things you think are best for your kid and you just hope those decisions make them turn out OK.
So what have I learned?
I’ve learned the library is my favorite place to bring him. We can walk there and get fresh air and borrow stories I read as a kid and stories that are new to both of us. I’ve learned that I love reading to my baby and that children’s books have some really good lessons and messages.
I learned that breastfeeding is not easy and if you can’t do it, some people make you feel bad about it. I learned that some babies just don’t latch easily and pumping is the only way to make your milk come in when you have a C section. I learned that pumping is really time consuming and sometimes painful and sometimes it will make you bleed. I learned after 8 weeks of struggling to get even an ounce of milk out of myself and spending hours attached to a machine, that breastfeeding wasn’t right for my family and I’ve learned that’s ok, because my baby is growing and happy and healthy.
I’ve learned that pretty much everything from my childhood is engrained in the depths of my memory. I hadn’t heard my late grandmother’s lullabies in many years, but I still knew them all by heart. I hadn’t seen Sesame Street in almost 30 years but you can guarantee I knew the entirety of “Rubber Duckie.” As I read Dr. Seuss I had flashes of watching “Fox in Socks and other stories” on VHS.
I learned that Hootie and the Blowfish made a parody of “Hold My Hand” to teach kids how to cross the street and it made me ugly cry the first time I heard it because I can’t handle my emotions when it comes to 90s nostalgia and making sure kids are safe.
I learned that I could love something more than I love my dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my dogs. But sometimes I’m like, why don’t you smile and laugh at my jokes like Stone does, ya know? Or why do you have to bark at literally anything that goes by the house?
I’ve learned that everything is more fun when you witness a baby seeing or doing it for the first time.
I’ve learned that I can run on a lot less sleep than I was used to before Stone was born.
I’ve learned that my business is not my life.
I’ve learned to prioritize my personal time with my family.
I’ve learned to slow down and enjoy every single moment I have because already in 6 months he’s grown so much.
I’ve learned that I wish I could freeze time. I have also learned that I can. Taking photos is the most important way I can hold onto every moment I have with my baby. I’ve learned that despite wanting to separate work and personal time, I find myself taking more photos now than I ever did before February 28th, 2019.
Finally, I’ve learned that being a mom is exactly what I expected. Although, with less… stress. I mean, I get anxious sometimes and I worry about things but stress? No. Having a baby was the best decision I ever made. He makes me so uncontrollably happy. Every day is just pure joy. And I know that one day he won’t laugh at my jokes or let me kiss him a million times a day or greet me with the biggest smile ever. I know he won’t always want to cuddle. I know he’s going to grow up and move out and be his own person one day.
But for now, before that happens, I’ll enjoy these salad days of parenthood. I’ll soak up every moment. I’ll continue to learn how to be the best mom I possibly can be.