The first time I left Leigh alone with his dad, I went to get my hair cut. My ends needed a trim and my bangs were all out of wack. The salon is just down the street from our house. I was gone for one hour. As the stylist was blow drying my hair, I kept looking at the clock, holding back the urge to ask her to hurry up. I wanted to get back home!
Before I left, my husband and I made sure Leigh had a fresh diaper and a full belly. Eric still looked at me with worried eyes. “What if he needs to eat?” Leigh only breastfeeds. He hasn’t even had a bottle of breast milk yet. He’s only 16 days old! He still loves his momma’s milk straight from the source and I’d like to keep it that way. Thankfully, Leigh didn’t need to eat while I was away. Eric survived his first time being left home with the baby like a champ.
I drove home as fast as I could, anxious to see my guys. Eric had exciting news to share with me: “His umbilical cord fell off!” What?!?? I was gone for ONE HOUR and I missed his umbilical cord falling off?! What kind of mom am I? How could I miss this milestone? I was never leaving my baby again! After I calmed down, I realized every day Leigh gets a little older and things will keep changing.
I see the most change in my postpartum body. While I am super thankful that my ankles went back to normal after being swollen to the size of small bread loaves, I really miss my pregnant stomach. My stretched out belly contracts more every day. My linea nigra (the darkened vertical line that appears on a pregnant woman’s stomach) is slowly disappearing.
All the signs that I carried my son for 40 weeks are fading away. And that is depressing. I know a lot of mothers feel relief after a rough pregnancy. But I truly enjoyed being pregnant and I miss it. My heart aches to feel his life inside me. Life is so much better with him on the outside but it’s going to take a while for me to get used to my post-baby body.
Leigh’s umbilical cord was another reminder that he was once a part of me. The fleshy cord connected him to my body and made sure that he received all the nourishment he needed. It’s part of the miraculous change my body went through to grow a human. I’ll never forget how his little torso filled the left side of my body, giving me a lopsided belly, or how it felt when he had the hiccups or kicked his little feet. I hope that in the moments when I feel like crying because my baby is growing up too fast, I can reflect on those special memories of the days when he was still inside.
Needless to say, missing the moment when Leigh lost his umbilical cord felt like someone punched me in the stomach. But my husband was kind enough to keep the gross little nub (he also kept his wisdom teeth when they were pulled to show me, so I expected nothing less). I’m keeping it in a jar with our hospital wrist bands. Yeah, I’m the type of mom who keeps rotting flesh. I’ll also probably keep all of his baby teeth as he loses them, too. But I draw the line at finger nails.