Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Yes, I'm still writing out the birth story, and it's three parts so far, and maybe I'll finish it or maybe it will stay an unfinished tale like that triathlon I never wrote about (the short story on that: it was fun. And now that I've given birth, it's no longer the toughest physical thing I've done).

But it's hard to fit in any writing - or anything - with a baby around. Yes, even though he sleeps approximately 16 hours a day, according to the books. And yes, even though DH and I are both home full-time together during leave. And, yeah, even though right now the kid only needs about three things in rotation: milk, diaper change, sleep. You'd think a couple of people with graduate degrees could manage that AND getting the dishes washed in the same day, but you'd mostly be wrong. So creative pursuits are not getting the attention they may have otherwise.

I'm not complaining, though. Despite fatigue and occasional frustration (it's a weird frustration, too - I'm frustrated for... getting frustrated. Like I should be able to handle it when the kid has a full tummy, a dry diaper and a comfy place to sleep and is screaming his head off at me for no apparent reason. DH reminded me that it might be normal to find that frustrating).

Last Thanksgiving I honestly wasn't even thinking about having a kid. When I realize just how quickly we shifted from "not yet" to "why not?" with the baby question, it's a little stunning. This time last year I was not only not pregnant, I didn't think I'd be having a baby any time soon. Certainly not while still in my 20s, anyway.

But our minds changed, and then we got ridiculously, stupidly lucky and I was pregnant much sooner than I dared to hope I would be, and here it is, Thanksgiving, and we have a one-month-old son. And holy crap, people, he is cute. He's starting to smile sometimes, and use his voice - he likes to say "ow", very cheerfully, sometimes very loudly in the middle of the night when I'm burping him and DH is trying to sleep - and he reacts to different voices in the room, and he's starting to see things like the shapes of the mobile that hangs over his changing table. He's also growing like crazy, and we're pretty sure he'll weigh over 12 pounds at his one-month pediatrician appointment.

So, clearly, there's a lot to be thankful for here:

We have a beautiful, healthy son, and somehow we've picked up the basics of this parenting gig without freaking out so far. (The very short list of needs he has is helpful). Also, let me repeat: he's beautiful. The whole time I was pregnant I was prepared for a weird-looking kid, because we're a little weird looking, ourselves. And then he was born, and... wow. He's objectively cute. I spend a lot of time staring at him and feeling amazed.

I'm healing up and feeling more like a human (OK, most of me... my "girls" are still feeling a bit battered - the kid's massive weight gain is all due to mother's milk. This kiddo inherited the appetite enjoyed by both his parents. This is great for his sleep, but tough on my mammaries). I can do things like take long walks outside now, so I don't feel like an invalid like I did the first couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to being cleared to do things like jogging and lifting things that are bigger than the baby (though, hey, he's big enough that I'm less limited all the time!).

We're surrounded by supportive family, friends and neighbors who have been fantastic about stopping by with meals, calling and e-mailing to see if we need anything, and appropriately fawning over our beautiful baby.

With the extra leave due to my c-section and the timing of winter break at my work, my maternity leave is basically 11 weeks long, which is awesome.

We have health insurance. I seriously don't know what we would have done without it, because according to the statements I've gotten in the mail so far, our week in the hospital cost $35,000. Do what?

We live in a friendly neighborhood, full of folks who will strike up a conversation with a couple walking around with a baby. We're still not used to it, but I like the surprise each time.

And... well, I'm sure there are things I'm missing. But that's sleep deprivation for you. I hope all three of you readers out there have a beautiful holiday. We'll get to see a whole lot of both of our families, with a minimum of travel on our behalf, which is wonderful.

Happy Thanksgiving!