Friday, July 31, 2015

Another July

My hair is turning brown. I've been eating chicken. The last time I swam in the ocean was the day Sprout was born, a month ago. We had been sent home from the hospital after my contractions all but stopped once we were admitted. To revive our spirits, we jumped in the ocean in our clothes on our way home at 9 a.m. with the Junior Lifeguards. The other day I found a dirty diaper in my hot car and it made me happy. This July is different than any other. 

I think back over some of the advice I've been given about being a mother. Bunches of it that was accepted with a nod and a smile exited out the backdoor of my mind before it ever settled anywhere, but things my mom and Scott said stayed. 

My mom said that people don't remember crying their eyes out as babies and babies know that you are trying and that they are loved. Scott says he knows Sprout is going to have a good life and not to worry about small stuff. While we were still in the hospital he and I agreed that we are glad she is our adventure this summer.

I am not worrying about surfing with great white sharks in Oregon this year, I'm putting breastmilk on a diaper rash at 3 a.m. and walking 10,000 steps around my dining table. Paradise, for the moment, has been holding a sleeping newborn on my chest and drinking watered-down lemonade with ice on an under-stuffed sofa. I'm proud of myself for learning how to feed and swaddle and calm her and for making it one block away to the taco shop for lunch. 

I can't wait to dive into the ocean again. I feel like everything about it will be better than I remember. I might even drink a little. I feel the ocean influences me in different ways now; in the way I rock Sprout to sleep; in the way I stay calm when she screams in the middle of the night; in the way I say I love you to her three hundred times a day even though she can't say it back.

There's a lot of me that's different now in this new 'butterfly state', as the doctor called it, and most of it has to do with the fact that I stay home all day and am on call all night. I honestly can't believe the world is overpopulated. Parenting is hard. It's kinda like you have to learn how to do everything all over again. I'm currently typing this with one hand so I can rock Sprout's bassinet and have a few extra minutes to finish writing it. But she is magic. She can scrunch up in a ball on my chest. She can make this funny little 'o' with her mouth. She sneezes twice in a row and has bendy knees and a nose that snores and tiny hand dimples and a gummy little mouth. Every day we know each other more. If this summer has anything to say to me it's that these little things are what matter this year.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Her First Beach Day

I feel like getting out and taking her anywhere is a noteworthy accomplishment. Yesterday we made it to the pediatrician and the grocery store and I felt almost as proud of myself for that as I did when I survived freshman year of high school. 

Of course, the best baby outing yet has been to the beach. We both held her and dipped her feet into a small wave. She cried immediately. 

Afterwards Scott went out to bodysurf while I held her in the shore break. She fell asleep in my arms.

p.s. I know I already said it, but I hope you all know how appreciated your comments and support for our new family member are. I feel badly that I have't had time to reply to each of your comments, but please know we read and cherish each one.

p.p.s. her hat

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dear Sprout,

Dear Sprout,

Today you have diaper rash. It makes you wake up in the middle of your naps and cry actual tears. Sometimes that makes me cry actual tears too. This parenting thing is way harder than I thought it would be and I thought it would be hard. When I get overwhelmed, I just watch your body rise and fall with each quick breath and think about how nice it is to witness you living your life. We wanted you so badly. I also think about random things like how much harder it would be if you were part of a set of triplets or if we were Jewish and you were born during the Holocaust while we had to be in hiding, fearing for our lives every time you cried. It makes me feel lucky that all we're dealing with at the moment is sleep deprivation and irritated skin. 

You are two weeks old today. You are calmed when I hold you (for the most part). Your birth story spanned three days, so each Monday afternoon we've had together I think about how I called your dad at work to tell him I was having contractions and he didn't answer. Then I had to call your Aunt Danielle to find him in the halls of our family business. I believe I jokingly said, "Can you find him and then kick him in the face!" On Tuesday afternoons I think about how on the Tuesday before you were born my water broke in the middle of a summer thunder storm. I was talking to your Nonnie on the phone and exclaimed "Wait, hold on! I'm involuntarily peeing on the couch!" before I realized what was actually happening. No one ever says childbirth is funny, but parts of yours are to me. 

I let you sleep diaper free today to help heal things. I have been sitting next to your bassinet armed with a wet wash cloth so I can clean you off quickly. We drift in and out of sleep together. Sometimes I dream about the light in your eyes.

If anyone asks, this is where I'll be for now. It's ok. I know everything is right. We've got time to figure it out.

Me, your mom

p.s. Thank you all for your messages! We feel overwhelmed by your love and support!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wild: The Birth Story of Our Daughter

I once read this article about Sam Beam from the band Iron and Wine. He was talking about how his wife was an artist too, but that after she gave birth to the first of their five daughters she knew she could never create anything as perfect and beautiful with her artwork, so she became a midwife instead. I've never forgotten that. 

The birth of my daughter was different than everything I expected. She wasn't born in June. I took the epidural. I never listened to my birth playlist during the 48 hours it took. In the fourth hour of pushing her into the world, I swore I wanted to give up and that I couldn't do it. I begged for them to use the vacuum to help get her out from behind my small pelvis. Because of the meconium that covered her when she finally emerged, Scott had to cut the umbilical cord immediately instead of waiting three minutes so our daughter could hopefully learn to read and write sooner based on some study I saw on The Today Show. She went into a warming bed to get cleaned and examined before coming to my chest. When she did, I was in utter shock and all I could do was hold her. But of course, now I understand what Sam Beam's wife meant about childbirth more than I ever could. It was the hardest, messiest moment of my life and it was the most beautiful.

The day following her delivery, one of the doctors who first examined me came to our recovery room. Scott was sleeping in the corner on some chair-bed that's comfortability and material reminded me of a restaurant booth. I could feel our first baby's hot breath against my chest as the sun was rising behind the soft, grey marine layer and I was listening to Iron and Wine and crying because I felt all of those details like I never had before. I was different now. The doctor didn't say anything about my tears when she walked to the side of my hospital bed. She just talked to me about how tough the delivery sounded and how proud of me she was even though we only met one night at 3 a.m. while she was examining my cervix. "You were a caterpillar and now you are a butterfly" she told me. And that's the best way I can describe the experience of bringing Avalon Wild into the world.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015