Some believe that human fetuses are born one trimester too early.

Horses can run at the moment of birth. It’s their survival technique to be able to stand. A human baby at 4 months can socialize, sleep and eat effectively, “babble”, make strange with new people, recognize trusted family, and more. So why aren’t we born then? Why are we pregnant for 9 (actually 10) months instead of say 14? Well… outside of the fact that I don’t know anyone outside of an elephant who wants to be pregnant that long…at 4 months old, a human’s brain has nearly doubled in size. One size too big to pass through the female pelvic girdle.

Because we are born early, shushing noises, swaddling and rocking are so soothing to newborns. It reminds them of “home”.

Before Squishy was born, I intended to write him or her a letter, listing all of the hopes and dreams that I had for him or her. I planned mailing the letter to myself and keeping it in a baby book, until Squishy was old enough to read and appreciate it. I had a wonderful pregnancy and loved sharing every minute of it with all of my close friends.

Squishy and I went everywhere together. We listened to Qur’an, we worked out and we made people happy and excited for Squishy’s arrival. Squishy was my constant companion and every time s/he kicked, I felt so close to Squishy. In fact, the day we gave birth, Hubby and I saw Squishy’s foot in an ultrasound. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is feeling someone grow inside of you. It’s special beyond words.

Then the birth came and I had Eryn. It was wonderful and I was so happy (still am!).

The three days in the hospital however, were a complete blur. I’m still trying to put it all together. Not only was it too fast — 9 months culminating in a quick 15 minutes — it was almost too much for my brain. Although I had 9 months to prepare, I had expected a longer time to celebrate her coming into the world. The 9 months do not prepare you for the reality. And it is really real.

Suddenly, I had this heartbreakingly sweet creature in my arms who blinked and looked at me — and who cried incessantly because she wanted nourishment and the milk wasn’t it yet. We stressed and jumped through hoops (still do!) to calm her and to feed her.  I can’t tell you how my heart leaped and raced each time she cried. I think one of the reasons the nurses kept us there a day longer was because we just hadn’t slept and baby wouldn’t latch. Every hour I was expressing colostrum into a tiny plastic measuring cup, mixing it with water and holding it to her lips so she could lap it up. It was an hour of work to get 2cc’s of food (30cc’s is 2 tablespoons). Hubby would hold her close and try to get her to stop crying while I expressed. Imagine – the day before I was walking and eating and taking care of myself so that I could take care of Squishy (simple!), and now I was sore and battered from the labor, lacking sleep, and like an obsessed zombie, trying to squeeze every last drop out of me — just so I could give her something to eat. Anything.

Then when I could sleep, I couldn’t.  All I could think about was her. Eryn’s scent was all over me. Babies are born smelling sweet — like vanilla. It’s God’s way of sending out intense pheromones to help the parents fall absolutely madly in love with their infant. And it works. I would lay in the hospital bed and just listen to her breathe, smell her sweet hair and cry. I loved her so much I cried (still do!).

But on the second night, I cried for a different reason. I slowly realized that this lovely creature wasn’t Squishy.

Eryn had her own personality. Her own hang ups. Her own sweet way of interacting with us. But she wasn’t and isn’t Squishy. And I didn’t know where Squishy went. I had spent 9 months speaking to Squishy. Feeling every kick and flip, and bonding with the Squishy inside. The separation crystallized and hit me hard.

Poor Hubby had to deal with me on more than one occasion when I would look at her sleeping peacefully and then
turn to him with tears brimming in my eyes and say, “I love her… but that’s not Squishy.” We can chalk most of it up to “baby blues”…. and now that I’ve had 9 more months to think about things, I really do believe I had some post-partum depression. It’s not normal to cry for an hour practically every day for 6 weeks.

I still miss Squishy.  For months I had a special secret inside. Someone who would “communicate” only with me. God gave her to me, and now I had given her to the world.  Squishy was no longer my special secret alone.

Eryn has her own amazing personality, and I love every inch of her!

Sometimes though, when she snuggles or when she sleeps, she’ll act like Squishy. Her favourite sleeping position is the same one she had in the womb — with her hands held close to her face. And sometimes when she snuggles after a good burp session, she will shuffle and move around to get more comfortable. She’ll place her head over my heart and sigh. I know that’s the Squishy inside of her wanting to be reminded of “home”.  So perhaps she feels the separation too.

Squishy separation isn’t easy. But I know that insha’Allah if and when we get pregnant again, I’ll really look forward to the moment of Squishy’s return.

I’ll still write a letter, but this time it will be all of my hopes and dreams specifically for Eryn. Because she is special, unique, wonderful, funny and deserves and all of them.

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