And I mean it.
I'm in my room, crying my eyes out as I write this, because my husband just left for Manila (we had our baby in Baguio, story for another time). And I've been crying since last night, begging for more time together, asking for more hugs. I've never felt this attached to another human being before. We bonded so much this week, I just didn't want him to leave. I haven't stopped crying. My eyes are already so swollen. Blame it on the hormones.
This time last year, Nicollo and I were "mini-mooning" in El Nido after our wedding day. It was our first solo, out-of-town vacation. Every minute of it was bliss. We got to know each other as husband and wife, ate delicious food and enjoyed the beautiful views of Palawan. It was the most relaxing trip ever.
A stark contrast, this week, I've been stretched and pulled (literally and figuratively) in all directions. It's been the most difficult week of my life: I birthed a child with no drugs at all; slept 2 nights in a narrow bed in an uncomfortable ward and had to learn to sleep with a fragile infant right next to me (context: hospital was out of private rooms; hospital promotes rooming-in from day 1 WITH NO BASSINET); had to learn breastfeeding; dealt with wounds and sores in the most tender parts of my body; had intense swelling in my legs, arms and face; and dealt with the typical daily battle with the mirror as I saw myself 1) deflated in the weirdest possible way, 2) marked with the most unflattering stretch marks, 3) at the heaviest weight I'd ever, ever been.
Right after delivery, with our doctors
Our swollen baby boy
But I have never felt happier in my life. Yes, the obvious reason being that my little boy is just the sweetest angel, but even more than seeing my son in his crib, and hearing his coos and seeing his smiles, my husband has made me feel so fully and completely and immensely loved (haaay, the waterworks are back!!!) this week. It's incomparable.
Baby lookin' dapper after his first bath with Mommy Tech
In the hospital, I bounced on my labor ball, and breathed and hummed through every contraction with my husband. He never left my side. We swayed and counted and held hands through 15 hours of labor. He saw me bleed, witnessed my water break (the grossest thing ever), and worst (and perhaps, best) of all, he saw me push my baby out into the world, and saw all the cuts and tears that were inflicted on my body. He held my hand as I screamed at the top of my lungs as I tore when I had to deliver my son's head and shoulders (which weren't in the ideal position... will get to this story in another post). I was exhausted; he was traumatized. But he never let me feel his trauma. We just talked about it afterward.
Bouncing on my labor ball
Nicollo's outfit in the labor room. Hahaha!
In the ward, he slept through the night on a mono block chair, and I watched him struggle in the most uncomfortable sleeping positions possible. But there were no complaints. Just gentle smiles when he woke up looking at his wife and his son. I cried at the sight of it: at that moment, he was my hero and my rock. He made sure I was comfortable and fed the whole 2 days in the hospital. He heeded my every request and call.
This is how he slept for most of the 2 days :(
When we got home, he was just the most amazing partner. We have no [household] help at home (except from my mom who has been such a pillar and stronghold, and my siblings who have been so supportive and helpful), so we've taken on caring for Little Inio's and my needs on our own.
He was a natural at holding his son; he changed every diaper he could get his hands on; he burped and cuddled the baby after every feeding; he washed every booty, mitten, onesie and swaddle of his baby, aside from his own and my clothes. He hung them, dried them, and folded every article of clothing. I also assigned him with "Papa Time" — giving the baby sweet morning sun every morning.
He cared for his son, but he cared more for his wife.
He brought up food for me at every meal and carefully fed me as I fed Little Inio; he stayed beside me through every feeding and made sure I was hydrated (he literally stood beside me and offered me a sip of water every few minutes); he encouraged me, and hugged me through an intense breakdown on our 3rd day as parents; he willingly massaged my back and my swollen legs; offered music everyday to lighten the mood.
Best of all, he has been my number one cheerleader, and the best emotional pillar I could depend on. Everyday, he told me how beautiful I was, even in my most unattractive state. He wasn't just saying that; he sincerely thought so. He constantly validated how well I'd been caring for Inio, and made me feel like the best mom in the world.
"Beautiful" to Nicollo = "Haggardo" to me
My husband is a gem (I continue to cry as I write this. I miss him already!), and I'm so lucky I get to be the recipient of his love and affection.
This past week has been INSANE to say the least, but I've never loved and been loved so much as I have this week. It's been the happiest week of my life; the happiest 'vacation', too. Not just because we have a baby, but because my friendship with Nicollo has grown and deepened in ways unimaginable. Nicollo and I had the merriest honeymoon this time last year, but to be loved at my most vulnerable? Nothing tops that.
Our first family photo
To my darling — you are my world and my hero. Thank you for the best week of my life.