I Didn't Sleep

I didn’t sleep.
For the two nights that you spent making your descent into the world, your pushes and shoves becoming more insistent as you drew ever closer to your journey’s end. ‘Mummy,’ your sharp movements told me as you determinedly moved forward. ‘I’m coming. I need you.’ As you made your tricky traverse, your progress felt keenly throughout my body, slumber eluded me. And so I stayed awake, waiting eagerly, to see your face, ready to scoop you into my arms and give you succour and comfort as you transitioned from the dark to the light with an earth-trembling shriek of confusion.

I didn’t sleep.
The night we brought you home, your precious, tiny body so small and alien within the four walls of the home that had once only provided shelter for two. Uncertain and anxious, I drifted in and out of slumber constantly, waiting for you to awaken and let me know, with your vociferous cries, that you needed me. I stayed beside you, watching you, a faithful servant, ready to do your bidding, even if I wasn’t quite sure what that might be.

I didn’t sleep.
For the six months that you lay beside me in your crib, wrapped in the bedding that I hoped would replicate the warmth of my arms. I woke night after night and watched you breathe, my hand gently hovering above, feeling the rise and fall of your chest, the sweet wisp of your breath on my arms. It gave me peace and comfort, at least, for an hour or two, when I would jump up again to feel that unmistakable movement and allay my constant concern, for a while at least.

I didn’t sleep.
When you moved across the landing and into your own room, into a cot that seemed too large for you, so different from the crib in our room that you’d easily outgrown now.

How could you be so big and so small all at once?

I’d wake in the night and look around for you, panic gripping my heart until I saw a blurred picture resembling you on the monitor. I’d lie for a while and just watch you, watching the grainy motion of your chest. But it was never enough and I’d tiptoe into your…

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