Well, I had a baby

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.

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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.

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We also watched all of Season 6 of Homeland – which I highly recommend.

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.

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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.

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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.

A letter to my little one at 39 weeks, 5 days

Dear Baby,

You can come out now. Anytime would be fine. No really: Can you please get out of my body?

I remember when I found out about you – remember how we had just moved into our new house, the painter was over when I peed on the stick and we had just returned from camping in Waterton National Park. Dad was doing laundry and I ran down the steps to show him the plus sign.

“I knew it!” he said. “You were acting crazy all weekend.”

A little lentil in my belly? I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I tried not to let myself believe it – after two miscarriages before your big brother, I knew to batten down the hatches on excitement.

At the 12 week ultrasound, you came into view, a whole person already. When the technician left the room, I sobbed and sobbed.

“What’s wrong?” Dan asked, confused.

How could I explain? That for two and a half months, I had loved you, my lentil, but tried with all my might to pretend I wasn’t attached, for fear you wouldn’t be there. I tried not to allow you into my life even when you were already there.

Thirty weeks scampered by. Your big brother grew from a babbling baby into a little boy speaking in complete sentences, full of opinions. It felt like you would be with us before we knew it.

People said nice things: Oh but you’ve not gained weight anywhere but your belly! It looks like you swallowed a soccer ball ! And later: a basketball!

I ate it all up.

But these final 10 weeks – oh, how they’ve dragged. On and on and on. And on.

Suddenly, the comments changed to: “You’ve GOT to have this baby early! You couldn’t possibly get any bigger.” (this, with six weeks to go.)

And then: “You’re twice as big as [my friend due on the same day]!”

The truth is, my little lentil, that weren’t so little anymore – you started to take up a lot of space in my belly. And while I have delighted in your little feet pushing at my tummy, the fact that you use my bladder as a trampoline I find less amusing. Also all this relaxin is making my butt bones very sore – I feel it flattening like pancake daily… so when you’re bigger and making fun of my mom butt, you can thank yourself.

As 38 weeks approached, I felt giddy. Everyone seemed to believe you’d come early. And somehow I became seduced by this idea. Any day now! I thought as 38 weeks came and went. Then suddenly, as 39 approached, I thought: Any day, in a walking-through-molasses-wearing-heavy-boots kind of way.

Like: Holy shit, it could still be two or three more weeks.

The truth is I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t pregnant. I can’t remember what it’s like to kick back and finish a bottle of wine with your dad after your big brother is asleep. Or have fun in like a holy-shit-I’m-having-SO-MUCH-FUN kind of way! Or not worry that my steak is too rare (even though I’m trying to be so much more relaxed about it all this time around). I want to eat sushi and wheel of triple cream brie – is it too much to ask?

When I walk outside and see all the runners, I watch them longingly as I waddle along. Will I ever sweat and feel fit again? Will I ever feel light on my feet – not like a 90 pound steel weight is jamming into my pelvis with every step? Will I ever (EVER) be able to fit anything besides these two black maternity tank tops? (actually only one of them fits now…)

In the last 48 hours, three women – 3! – told me they were two weeks or 10 days late with their second. It had never occurred to me I’d be pregnant for 2 or 3 more weeks! My god! The thought of it made me shudder.

Sometimes I feel like I’m going a little crazy- I wake up and have  twinge of a pinpoint cramp somewhere on my abdomen: Is it starting?! I have a weird pain in my hip – Labor?  My cell phone rings: Someone calling me to tell me I’m about to go into labor? 

But then my day goes on with no real sign of you arriving into our world. I go for extra long walks (listening to S-Town podcast) on the bluff and through Prince’s Island Park. I get dinner ready before the boys get home.

How strange to keep waking up thinking: This could be just another day. Or I could have a baby. (It’s very difficult to make a grocery list at a time like this.)

Sometimes, I wonder if you will ever come. What if I’m pregnant forever?

I know this on a rational level how absurd it is to consider being pregnant for the rest of my days- but on the other hand, some part of me believes this might actually be a possibility.

At night, I lie awake, trying to find a comfortable position. Lying on my right side, then my left. Stuffing a pillow between my legs. Knowing I need to ‘sleep while I still can!” and knowing I’ll wake because I feel like I have to pee so bad I might explode only to have a few dribbles come out  – and I’ll picture myself holding you.

A tiny baby, in my arms. I picture us in our sun-drenched bedroom, staring at each other, or both passed out from the exhaustion of ushering new life into the world.

I know it’s not going to be easy. Hell, I’ve been through it before. I know when you are here I will long for this very moment, when you were a silent mystery within me… yes, I’m sure this will all seem like a luxurious dream someday.

But I want you to feel sunshine. I want to tell you about so many things in the world waiting for you. I want you to feel what it’s like to stretch your limbs. To feel your mama’s skin against yours.

So – if you could just. Come. Please. That would be great.

Your loving mommy,

Sky