It’s been three and a half years since my baby was delivered. My baby who didn’t cry and made my heart sink that something was wrong. My baby who couldn’t get warm so couldn’t be brought for me to hold her, until several hours later. My baby who had a hole in the roof of her mouth, and two feet turned in, which was explained to me before I even really got to get a good look at her. My baby who was the size of a preemie, despite being full term, because something had gone wrong inside the womb, and the placenta was abnormally small.

We’ve been through a lot, but really, she’s fine. She’s had so many doctors visits that she thinks of them as a field trip, with toys and adventure. In fact, she was so excited to go to the hospital for her ear tubes surgery, that she couldn’t wait for the day, and got up with me in the early hours with joy instead of grumbling. But she continues to grow and learn and improve and for the most part it’s a history that has left very little stain on her present. Most people have absolutely no idea that anything was ever or could possibly be wrong with her. She’s bright, sociable, lovable, kind, talkative, energetic, funny, clever and all around a wonderful and, in the best way possible, normal little person.

But for some reason, when I go through her medical documents my heart still lurches. I keep a running medical diagnoses document to take with me, so that I don’t have to remember the last time she had an ear infection or what she took for it, or try to remember the date of a specific surgery. Or the medical names for things we’re tracking with blood samples or sonograms or whatever. I keep it all written down, modify it as needed and print a copy before a visit. It makes keeping up with her history painless for me. And yet, my heart still hurts.

I can’t fathom why. She’s such a treasure of a child, and none of that past impacts her day to day life now, really, so why do I get squeamish when I’m filing her papers? I should be used to it now. She’s here, she’s my snuggle bunny, she drives me nuts in a typical threenager temper-tantruming type of way. Why does my heart still go up into my throat when I think about her past? My five year old has had surgeries.. she’s had adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy and tubes, all because the poor thing couldn’t hear in school or breathe well at night, but I don’t get the same sinking feeling when looking at her old photos. Granted, she is a strong, brave, spirited child who doesn’t know the words ‘slow,’ ‘quiet,’ or ‘calm.’ I love her just as much, but she doesn’t make me ache.

I wish I could get past this because I don’t want my feelings to make my baby think she’s not strong or that she’s somehow not whole.