I’ve had a huge bruise on my hand for the last two weeks. Two failed cannula attempts in the hospital (when mine and Mabel’s heartbeats were racing too fast and I needed a glucose drip) and then a successful one by the resident anesthetist meant that my entire left hand, wrist and lower arm turned an angry purple, then impressive shade of bright blue, then a tender, throbbing brown.
It was a horrible bruise – but it became a reminder of what had happened so recently. If I felt wobbly or overwhelmed when we left the house, I’d glance down and be reminded that I had been in a hospital bed just a few days before.
‘Be kind to yourself’ whispered the bruise. ‘Take it easy. She’s still so very little.’
Nobody could see that it hurt whenever I sat down, nor that my legs shook with weakness when I walked with the buggy. Nobody knew that I had to brace myself for pain in the shower that morning as the water hit my sore nipples. Nor that going for a wee made me wince in pain.
But everyone commented on that angry bruise. It was like I was wearing a badge that read: ‘BIRTH CAN BE BRUTAL.’
But funnily enough, I haven’t minded having that bruise on my hand for the last two weeks. It has reminded me that we are still so early in that precious newborn bubble – and how we must enjoy every second, as it will pass all too soon. After all, it is sometimes hard to remember Mabel is only a few days old. Hard to believe that we were holed up in that hospital room just a week ago. Hard to believe now that we are out and about again, slotting back into our old routine. That bruise reminded me that she was still so little, still so recent. A reminder to slow down and enjoy it.
The bruise is now fading, with just a few faded patches lingering on my wrist. And soon, it will be gone.
The disappearing bruise isn’t the only thing reminding me that time is passing by so quickly. The sugar pink “IT’S A GIRL!” helium balloons that were bought to our apartment by my friend when Mabel was just a few days old are starting to crumple and drop one-by-one. The flowers my husband’s parents bought us when we returned from the hospital have been replaced by a new bunch as the petals started to fall. And at breakfast this morning, when the waitress asked how old Mabel was and we replied proudly ‘two weeks tomorrow!’ she didn’t give the familiar shocked face followed by doting smile – but instead replied “there’s a 10-day old baby on a table outside!”’ And just like that, she was no longer the new girl.
It’s all a reminder of how fast time passes when you have a newborn in the house. Time set to fast forward. Time that whizzes at such an alarming rate that you wish you could dig your heels in and enjoy it all for just a little longer.
Because when it isn’t your first baby, you know you will blink and suddenly she will be rolling, crawling, walking and talking. Moving onto weaning; no longer totally reliant on me. No longer jumping in shock when she hears a noise, no longer smelling like a newborn. No longer fitting her newborn clothes, as they are stashed away in a box.
It will be over in a flash.
But this time, I’m not letting myself feel sad about any of this. I can’t wait for Mabel to be running alongside her brothers. I can’t wait for her to follow them on her own scooter on a Friday morning alongside the beach. I can’t wait to see the person she will become, the way she will look, the things she will love and hate. I can’t wait to see her grow up and become a little person in her own right. I can’t wait to get to know her. I can’t wait to experience all of it.
And until then, I will enjoy every second of this precious time. I will drink in her newness. I will capture every second on camera. I will write blog posts to look back on in years to come. I will study her tiny hands and feet, still wrinkled and curled. I will commit it all to memory.
All of it.
Until time catches up.