Is all those extra cuddles. Granted, I’d prefer they didn’t occur at 11.30pm. And again at 1am. And 2am and 3.30am and 4.15am. And all the other many many times Ted wakes up in the night. But just lately, sitting in the dark of his bedroom, with his warm little body curled into my chest, listening to the snuffling noises and holding him tight, I’ve had some beautiful moments.
It’s not every time. Some nights I could cheerfully turn off the monitor and decamp to the furthest reaches of the house where I won’t hear him cry. I’d sleep in the kitchen if it meant a full eight hours.
That’s just a tired mum’s fantasy though. It would never happen.
When I can set aside the tiredness, the frustration of caring for a nonverbal child who can’t tell me why he keeps waking and the jealousy that Rik is slumbering peacefully without us, I sit there, letting my breath fall into a rhythm with my precious boy’s and am filled with so much peace and such immense love for Ted.
Rik and I been talking about having another baby for a while now. It was always the plan to have more and I think it would go a long way to healing some of the hurt that Ted’s birth brought us.
I want to try again, I really do, but I realise now that for a while I’ve been holding back. Understandably, I have a lot of fear and trepidation over what might happen.
What if something goes wrong again? Birth is dangerous – Ted is living proof of that – and what about genetics? There are so many things that could go a bit haywire. Missing chromosomes. Extra chromosomes. And all the rest…
What if I can’t handle a typical child? What if many of the difficulties I’ve had adjusting to life as Ted’s mum aren’t about brain injury or disability? What if they are about me just not being cut out to be a mum?
These are some of the often irrational fears and feelings that bubble away. They are mostly ignored but they are there. Weirdly, they don’t bother me half as much as the fear of change.
Knowing that I won’t be able to devote myself to Ted as much is hard. I used to want to run away from him, from our life. Now I just want to sit in the dark and snuggle with him forever. Even the thought that a baby bump would get in the way of this saddens me.
So we will try for a second child and I hope we will successfully expand our family. I’m turning 37 tomorrow so I also hope it will be sooner rather than later!
Until then, I will keep savouring* these stolen moments with my beautiful first-born.
*That’s easy for me to say at 10.30pm as I rub my cheek on his head. By 4am I expect I’ll be swearing and trying to work out how much we’d need to fundraise to employ a night nurse