When Alex was first born, I basically grabbed him out of the nurse's hands. I didn't want anyone to take my little son away.
And all he wanted to do was to be near me, to lie near my breast, feeling my warmth, trying to figure out this strange and exciting new world that he had just entered. It was so hard, he now had to breath, and he had to eat, and he had to poo and pee, and he even had to put up with all those changes in temperature that kept happening all the time. And I could feel that. I could feel what he wanted.
The an hour and a half waiting for the doctor to come and stitch me up (great details I know), where I blanked out on gas, and then me coming back to the world of the living and holding my baby again…
He was perfect. He had a perfectly shaped dome head with his long black hair and eyes that could barely see; but when he looked at me, I could see him focus, focus on me, and a complete helplessness and trust was in those grey eyes. He kept on curling his lip, just like I do, when he couldn't latch on properly, which was often in those first days of life. He kept on screaming, and I had never reacted to anything in my life like I did to those cries.
All I could feel was him, his heartbeat, his warmth and his love next to my breast. We would just lie there together, against hospital policy but the midwives allowed it anyway, mother and son against each other, not yet used to being two seperate enteties with two completely seperate bodies. Lying next to me was an inseperable part of me, and lying next to him was what used to be his former complete world. He'd lie there listening to my heartbeat, and I could feel him relax, next to me.
My face looked like I had just escaped from Auschwitz, but inside my heart there was a nirvana. I am excluding all those postnatally depressive thoughts that also quite often occured to me, and the screaming and the fighting that went on after I went home.
No, that was different. Between the two of us, there was a complete sense of nirvana that nobody and nothing could break.
Time evaporated. Time became the three-hour sleep, eating, nappy change, three-hour sleep, eating, nappy change. How anybody could ever have being interested in anything else in the world was incomprehensible. Time was nirvana, and nirvana was love; there was nothing else that was needed in life but to lie there next to each other and listen to our heatbeats.
I had walked out of the hospital on the third night, and looked out on the world outside, and the cars in the street were still driving, and people were still smiling and talking and going to work and going about their business, and I wondered, I really wondered, how had the world not stopped and become some sort of gentle peaceful happy sleep that revolved around a three-hour clock? It had being raining for three days now, but as far as I and the woman who shared a room with me — Inga, a journalist at the ABC and nineteen years older than me, but exactly just as clueless with her child (oh the coincidence of journalism haha! but how would I have known then?) — the world was the monotonous coming and going of midwife staff, the monotonous hum of the air-conditioner, and of course our little boys. Nobody had bothered to look outside.
I used to touch his long black hair and study every feature of him. I called him myshka-norushka. Sashka. Sanyuta. Shura. Alexandr. My mother took to calling him Sanya, probably as a way of taking away the negative image of Alex's other grandfather in her mind, but I never took to the name. Even these days, he's only Sanya when he's in trouble.
I watched his nose because more buttony and more buttony until it was a pointing-up button, and waited everyday for it to change into an elongated, big curvy thing, but it stayed a button. It became and stayed just like mine, a little long, but curving up, and even more buttony!
I looked at the wrinkles around his eyes, just like Volodia's, and his mouth, which was just like his, except for when he curled his lip, just like I always do. His fingers had a flat end to them, just like his father, just a tiny little miniature version gripping the middle of my maternity bra, while he suckled and went to sleep, content to be held near my heartbeat and my safetly, love and warmth.
Alexandr Vladimirovich…Alexandr Vladimirovich Mi………….., I used to whisper, listening to the sound escape into the world during all those silent days while he slept and the world had stopped for nirvana. Vladimirovich…I wondered whether that even applied to him anymore. I wonderd what in the world I was going to tell him when he grew up…That we were abandoned and left as good as dead? No, no, I couldn't say that, that would be too cruel. But that question plagued my mind, though it could not break the nirvana, as I looked a little miniature Volodia lying in my arms and continued falling in love with not just the one in my arms, but as hard as I tried to stop, the other.
My teachers called, asking me whether I was still prepared to return after six weeks, but time did not exist anymore. Of course I said yes, I was not going to drown in the sorrow and the depression I was facing at the time as well, I would do anything to get out of this house, I was going to prove all those idiots wrong about their prophecies, all of them. I was still angry and my pride was still hurt.
But even that could not break the nirvana. Couldn't break the peace and the complete oneness with the world, the complete meaning to life, that existed between the two of us.
Whatever happened, I was his mother and he was my son. And I would give my life to protect him. Some day in the future, I would have to let him go, to his friends, to his girlfriends, to wherever he chose to travel when he grew up, and whatever he chose to believe as an adult.
But that time was not now. For now, there was just nirvana.