Tuesday, January 17, 2017

two weeks

dear nathan,

well, it's my due date. a date i obsessed over, counted down to, made a flipping' paper chain out of three different hues of blue construction paper that i dug out of the trash at the elementary school and stapled together while waiting for your three older siblings to get home from school one afternoon, which i then hung in my bedroom and religiously ripped one link off every morning and as it got smaller i insisted that ryan look upon it and remark that indeed, miriam, it was so small. this baby could be here any day. 


and now, baby nathan, on the day that meant more to me than christmas, or my 12th anniversary, i hold you in my arms and watch you get totally lost on your way to breakfast. dear child, the nipple is always in the same place. it does not move. stop looking for it in all the wrong places. merely turn your head AND THERE IT IS. 

since you're new here, i've got a few things to tell you:

one: this house is loud. you're going to get touched a lot. i hope you're not afraid of heights because i like to store my babies on the dining room table while they're still small enough not to fall off. it's the safest place for you; you're less likely to get run over there (or not likely at all, now that i think about it). 

two: you are loved. yes, you have four older siblings who are just wild about you, and a mom and a dad that think you're the best thing they've ever seen but guess what? you've got a lot more family than just us six. and a lot of friends, too. i realized this when all the love began to pour in when you were born. my friend kimberlea bought you preemie clothes because she knew you were so tiny, and rebecca escaped her family to come sit on that most uncomfortable hospital couch and hold you one evening. big nathan and carrie, avery and jane brought you chocolate and twinkies in the hospital and then they let us use their dryer because our broke when you were only a few days old. dinners have been pouring in, and breakfasts, and grandmas and aunts and uncles. 

three: we like sleep in this family. and it would behoove you to like sleep, too. (that sounded like a thinly veiled mobster-esque threat. and it might just be. "that's an awfully nice pacifier you have there...be a shame if anything happened to it.")

four: there are saturday chores. obviously not for you for awhile, but just be forewarned. 

and, five: these are your letters. it's like the closest thing i come to scrapbooking, i just write a monthly update on how you're doing, but i address it to you in the hopes that you'll find it valuable or interesting or at least amusing. i can only promise to do this for the first year of your life. sorry if you wanted more. 

here's how you spent your first two weeks: after you got out of the hospital on day 4 you have spent the majority of your time sleeping. and eating. and pooping. seriously. the poop is out of control. i have used way more diapers than i ever remember using and washed more clothes than i ever remember washing. question: how did i forget so much about the newborn stage? you're my fifth baby for pete's sake! 

you've hung out with grandma kristine a lot, and aunt shannon came for a few days, too. every time your siblings leave for school or come home they immediately run to greet you, and then run and wash their hands to hold you. you barely hit the ground, baby (but when you do it's in a super sleek mamaroo that i found on craigslist). and you did make your first public appearance at the local park--your first stroller ride, too. seth was very concerned about you and asked constantly if we'd packed everything we needed. 

nathan, you are a pretty sweet newborn. you don't cry very often, you have a very calm personality. you spend your waking hours calm and quiet, taking in the world with your dark eyes. your forehead creases when you raise your eyebrows, making you look observant and wise. you sleep a lot, often very well at night. we are amused by your noises-- you are a very noisy baby, grunting and humming and squeaking. it stops the surrounding conversation and we all listen to you with smiles on our faces. 

we love you, baby nathan. you complete this family that we didn't even know was incomplete until you came along. we can't imagine life without you, our sweet and solid number 5. hooray for you!



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

slow and steady; a birth story

on the 27th of december ryan and i went to a wedding. it was a traditional jewish wedding, full of a lot of symbolism. it was the best. the bride gave me a blessing that day, a beautiful blessing for a smooth and easy labor and a sweet and peaceful baby boy.

on the 30th of december, 2 weeks and 1 day from my due date, a day i spent putting christmas away and arranging baby things and feeling good. we invited friends over and sat around the table laughing and talking and eating dessert until--my water broke. that's right, it broke. in public (sort of). where other people are around. which has always been one of my biggest end-of-pregnancy fears (i'm always imagining what i would need to do should my water break wherever i am). so, it broke. and i exclaimed, "oh my gosh! oh my gosh! oh my gosh!" and everyone stared and then i said, holding very still, "my water just broke." and then everyone exclaimed, "oh my gosh! oh my gosh! oh my gosh!" and then i realized i needed to do something, so i grabbed a hand towel and i walked very gingerly to the bathroom.

ryan followed me and stood outside the bathroom door and said things like, "i need to talk to you about this because if your water really broke that means you're in labor. are you in labor?"

and i said, "i'm not ready to be in labor. i felt so good today! i only go in to labor when i feel terrible! i have so many things to do! it's too early!"

since i hadn't been checked yet this pregnancy for any progress by my doctor, and since sarah had been born in three and a half years, and since this was my fifth pregnancy, and since my doctor told me to go to the hospital because my water broke, we threw a bunch of random stuff in bags and headed over to the hospital, leaving our friends with the kids and leaving a message for ryan's brother that wouldn't be home when he got home because we were having a baby (to which he replied, "please leave the front door unlocked i need to charge my phone").

got to the hospital, got checked in, settled, IV set up just in case, hooked up to the monitors, saw that nathan had the hiccups and a nice steady heartbeat of 140, and was checked. i was at 1 cm, which is disheartening because a) i've never arrived at the hospital at anything less than a 4, and b) that means i have 9 more centimeters to go before i can have a baby so either this labor is going to be hard and fast or hard and long and neither seems like a great option (although if i had to pick, i'd go with hard and fast because then at least it's over faster). ryan stretched out on the couch and i rolled over in bed and we both tried to sleep until some contractions kicked in. there were contractions, but they were never stronger than any braxton hicks contractions, but i couldn't sleep. i was too worried. this was earlier than i'd ever gone into labor, i had never been so early in my progress by the time i'd made it to the hospital, these contractions were smaller than i'd ever felt after my water breaking before, and most of all, i hadn't felt ready to have this baby. it felt too early, this labor was starting off so slow and felt so different from my others and i was so worried that something--something that i couldn't quite put my finger on, was wrong.

several hours in a nurse came in and encouraged me to use the shower and a bouncy ball. i stayed in there for hours, occasionally feeling contractions, but not really feeling them, and mostly just letting the hot water soothe me and trying to get my head in the labor-and-delivery game. meanwhile, contractions are never coming more than 15 minutes apart, but mostly they are about 20 or even 30 minutes apart and i can't help but wonder when labor will really get going. two things that i kept telling myself: the nurses are really happy about my progress and the baby's heartbeat never wavers from a solid 140.

the nurses check at 3am and i'm at a 4. at 5am i'm at a 6. at 6am i'm at an 8. carlisle and rebecca show up at 7 and ryan wakes up (he says he hardly slept and i believe him, the poor fellow. i was up and down and in and out of the bathroom and chatting with nurses all night, just waiting for something to happen). we sit around. at 7:45 i decide i've had enough and i'm going to go for a walk to get things moving because i'm bored and i need some more contractions. i stand up, circle my hips and double over from a contraction so strong and then--i feel a baby. somehow, in a flash, nathan has just slipped into the birth canal and i'm afraid i'm going to deliver him right then and there. ryan runs after a nurse and i get on the bed and rebecca reminds me to breathe (which was exactly what i needed in that moment) and i start to panic because this is happening and i HATE the pushing part, i'm so scared, I'M NOT READY. dad holds my hand and the nurse tells me that she doesn't think the doctor is going to make it and that she'll just deliver this baby and it'll be fine. ryan asks, "you can do that?"

and then...nothing happened. no contractions. no pushing. i'm on the bed and everything is just still. doctor rushes in, sees nothing is happening, greets everyone, then literally sits back and we wait. and wait. and wait. and i'm just hanging out with my legs in stirrups and nothing on from the waist down and there are three perfect strangers just front and center and it feels undignified. i make a couple jokes. finally, there's a contraction and out flies nathan (literally had the doctor scrambling to catch him).

he's immediately placed on my chest--my favorite part, and he's screaming and screaming and turning pink. never have i heard such a loud and angry newborn--he's by far my smallest baby and by far my strongest. he stayed in the hospital only a day more than me, to stay under the lights (the jaundice thing--again), but now we're home and enjoying all of the family and friends who are staying and visiting. and nathan. i'm enjoying this new baby. he's utterly delicious, he's sweet and peaceful and patient.

man, do i love that baby. and man, am i glad that's all over.

photos from the first day of life:

photos from the hospital, part 2

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

photos from the hospital, part 1

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