In the wee morning hours of Monday, April 10, I gave birth to another little boy. He had long, ancient looking feet, skinny legs, the softest skin and a wise, perfect face.
Giving birth is crazy business. One minute, I wasn’t quite sure if I was ‘really’ in labor. The next, we were watching a movie, and I was draped over the labor ball breathing through contractions while telling Dan this probably wasn’t ‘it’. Then the midwives were here and I was in the bath, wishing I could just take a five minute nap, telling the midwife it was past my bedtime. Then I was on the bed, trying to lie down, trying to get comfortable while contractions roared through me – my midwives reminding me that nothing was going to feel good right now. “I can’t do it,” I said- and I meant it. I thought the baby would never come. That the contractions would break me. And then: I had a baby in my arms.
For a week, I sat in bed mostly, with Dan keeping the house in order, spoon feeding me meals while our little Charlie breastfed – seemingly nonstop. One night, he did not leave my boob from the hours of midnight to 4 a.m.
My parents were here for the second week – playing with James, taking him to the zoo, helping with laundry, meals, letting me nap without the baby beside me. Making everything so easy. Making me long for a world where we are all neighbours and they could pop by for an hour or two.
It all feels familiar but different this time.
Sometimes, when I look at Charlie, I feel like I have traveled back in time to when James was a newborn. To this dreamy, sleepless world where everything is both chaotic and quiet…enchanting and exhausting. I have to remind myself that this little boy is an entirely new person – with his own life and story before him.
With James, the days and nights felt endless. I couldn’t understand how there would be an end to any of it.
But this time – all I have to do is look over at my two-year old to know that it will end – in fact, it will end all too soon. Soon, we’ll be on a nap schedule. Soon, the night feedings will taper. Soon, we’ll move Charlie into his own bedroom. And before we know it, he’ll be walking and talking and showing us who he is.
Only for this precious little while will he be so new – stretching his bunched up limbs, making his newborn gurgles and looking around, bewildered by this world of ours.
When I look at Charlie, I can’t believe we all began this way – every burly football player, every great poet, every tyrant and peacemaker – every single one of us – featherlight, needy and utterly helpless.
I’m home alone with him now- he’s napping in the swing. The house is quiet. I am waiting for Dan and James to get home. He’s so tiny. So precious. So sacred.