That smell. The powdery, rosy smell of new life. She was few hours old, and I was holding her like a koala on my chest, tummy to tummy.
The double rhythmical breathing, mine deep and slow, and hers light and fast, following each other in a beautiful pattern of barely audible sounds.
So small. Her head rests on my chest, I can touch her forehead with my chin. With her little puffy feet, she could hardly reach my scar, the cesarean section from where she was born, in the early hour of that same afternoon.
So small and so compact. Yet all is here: a heart that started beating eight months ago, a brain that is multiplying neuron synapses at light speed. A pair of lungs that until few hours ago, had never been used. Skin that has been underwater all the time, and is now adjusting to direct contact with air.
My little baby. Five fingers in each hand and foot, and God knows why we all check it immediately.
All of those fingers are grasping me: one hand tightly around my nursing bra, the other around my nightdress. The toes also have a grasping reflex, and try to catch as much of me as possible. Her toes still remember the times when as a species we were living on trees and walked on four legs, when our babies had to cling to our furs to be safe.
I suddenly feel a sisterhood through time, towards those other ancestors of ours that in the deepest caves, before fire was discovered, before the comforts of our era, cuddled their babies close to their chest exactly in the same way as I am doing right now, to shelter them from hypothermia.
My baby has a genetic memory of these ancient times, yet she definitely is the very latest model of human evolution.
I think I glimpse something of her personality, in the way she behaves already – she is persistent and calm.
And she smells awesome. I will never tire of smelling her head. I know I never will. I know it as I know my name, actually even deeper than that. I know it as I know I want to drink when I am thirsty. I know this pact between us is forever. And I see with lucidity what this means, even in the aftermath of the anesthetics and all, in the tiredness that comes after the birth, in the hormones that must now rage in my body, in the pain around my scar.
Nothing can fade the certitude that our pact mother daughter is forever. And this knowledge float lightly above us, and I smile. I would say that she too smiles back at me, but that might have been just my impression.
I kiss her forehead and feel blessed and happy beyond words.
Welcome to the world Céleste.
Just a little note about the photos (all of them made by my husband, bar the last one, a selfie): my policy about publishing online pics of my children has not changed. I think that it is unfair to make public the faces of people that are too young to decide if they want or not this kind of publicity. In these particular (low resolution) pictures, however, my daughter is a few hours old baby with closed eyes, and both circumstances make her absolutely unrecognisable (but nevertheless hugely cute!).