Butterfly is an only child ~ but was also my third. That is to say, I lost two pregnancies before she was born. I was still debating whether or not I'd even try a third time when a condom company and Mother Nature combined forces to take the decision out of my hands. This time I sought the help of an obstetrician. Don't worry, I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say there was a congenital problem and the baby was lassoed inside me after the first trimester. I had to take it easy for the remainder of the pregnancy. Butterfly was born at eight months by Cesarian Section because I had pre-eclampsia.
I started late, so by the time Butterfly was born, I was 40 years old. I'll tell you quite honestly, that while I think older moms probably have more patience and a more mature perspective on motherhood, chances are they simply don't have the same energy they had in their 20s. I know I didn't. That new baby thing.... geez, that's wearing, eh?
Fortunately Butterfly was a "good" baby. She didn't cry a lot, and except when she was colicky, she woke up smiling, fed happily at my breast, and slept well. When she was colicky, at least Hubby helped out with the rocking and singing. I'm so glad I breast-fed, because I feel it gave her a good start on life. Sort of a preparedness for the problems to come.
Butterfly was a very bright baby too. When she was about eight months old, I remember giving Hubby the rounds of the kitchen because he'd reupholstered a little rocking chair for Butterfly on the little balcony off the living room. That he'd fixed up the rocking chair was great. But that he did it on the balcony we'd carefully latticed so she could go out there with us concerned me, because he'd used those little upholstery nails. What if he'd dropped one... or two?
Well, he checked and double checked, and he assured me there were no nails loose out there, so I put her down in the living room and let her go out there with him. After a little while, she came crawling back into the living room. Her right fist was tightly closed and there was a look of intent in her eyes. She was clearly headed for me, so I got down to meet her. When she got to me, she held out her little hand, and there was a tiny upholstery nail. Several emotions grabbed me all at once: relief that she hadn't put it in her mouth; anger at Hubby; sheer astonishment that this little baby had brought the nail to me, as if she'd understood what I was giving Daddy whatfer for.
But something changed after a routine visit to our doctor. He gave her a vaccination, and she became very ill. She was clearly uncomfortable and in pain, she had diarrhea, and she developed a fever. For a few days I had all I could do to keep her hydrated, never mind fed. When the symptoms abated, she wasn't the same. Her steady, cheerful gaze with twinkling eyes was gone, and in it's place was a look of unfocused confusion. I told myself it would be ok... she'd be back to normal as soon as she was completely well. But she was never quite the same. I didn't know what to make of it, but that was her last vaccination.