Eleanor is one week old today, and last night, she lost her umbilical cord. Just like everything else, she lost it earlier than most babies, at 6 days of age rather than the usual 10-14 days. To catch you up, Ella’s been ahead-of-the-curve in just about every respect; from weight gain to diapers to metabolizing her newborn jaundice. And now, losing her umbilical cord. It’s like a little punctuation mark to end her first week on earth — as if to say: Newborn (period). I guess this is a reminder from God just how fast she will grow up. Maybe it’s silly, but I shed a tear over it last night, because it was the only one she’ll ever have, and it’s the last remnant of the delivery (which I loved) and her physical bond to me, and because she’s less of a newborn every day.
When I told Jeff I wanted to keep it, and cried over it, he didn’t make fun of me but I could tell by the look on his face that I was definitely being a “mom.” I probably would have scoffed at the idea a week ago as well; crazy what 7 days can do to a person. But when I came into the living room this morning to tuck it away into a safe place, it was gone. I’m sure Noah ate it. We laughed, of course; it wasn’t that important to keep and “the dog ate my umbilical cord” will make a great story for Eleanor later on. But I’ll miss getting to look at it; real proof that this perfect little person was once inside me, that I made her with my body.
At her birth, right after Jeff delivered her, I held her close and the world was made invisible. The doctor asked to take her back for a second so that she could put an umbilical cord clamp on close to her skin, but I have no recollection of this. You can hear on the labor video; the doctor saying, “is it ok if I take her just for a second? I need to put an cord clamp on her. Is that ok? Ok, you can keep holding her. I’ll just leave it long” to noone listening. So for her first hour or so, Eleanor’s cord stump was more like a shrub because it’s all the doctor could do with her in my arms. When he told me later about it, he was in awe of how locked-in I was immediately after the birth; how instant that connection was.
Of course, we’re still connected in a spiritual sense; and breastfeeding is a nice reminder that I can nourish her every need, in or out of my belly. It just goes to show me that I should treasure every second, because she does change SO fast. Good Lord, am I going to be a weepy mommy forever? If I turn out like my Dad, I will be. (Love you, Dad).