February 24, 2009

The Z Files: Month One*

Dear Zane,

One month ago today** I heard you for the first time. I was shaking, frightened, and drugged – lying on the operating room table – and there you were. I heard you before I saw you. I heard you cry, calling out with a shout that you had arrived at last. I heard you cry and something in me was forever changed. I heard you cry and I knew, I knew. I knew you were mine. Your cry, your voice, sounded like the voice of someone I had known long ago, loved long ago. Your voice pierced through me like a thousand arrows. I wept instantly. I wept, knowing that you were here, knowing that you were mine, knowing that my heart and soul knew you by your voice alone. In that moment, time stopped, my life stopped, my heart stopped – everything stopped. And when it started again, everything was different, everything was new. Because in that moment I became your Mama.

I can hardly believe it has been a month already. And I can hardly believe it has only been a month. I feel so new at this, you feel so new to me - but also? It feels as if I have known you all my life, as if you have been with me all my life. And maybe I have, and maybe you have. I don’t know how these things work.

I tell your dad that I think you chose us. You chose us as your parents. He doesn’t quite know what to think about that since it involves all sorts of beliefs about who we are and where we are and if we exist before we are born here. Big stuff. And I don’t fully know what I believe about all those things either. But I still think you chose us (and perhaps God chose you for us). And to say I am grateful for that would be the understatement of the century.

I want to say thank you. Thank you not only for choosing us, but thank you for being so gentle with us, for teaching us and for having patience with us when it takes us a few tries to “get it”. Sometimes I feel I am living with a wise and kind little teacher instead of the brand-new baby that you are. You are the most peaceful and content baby I have ever seen. Your smile is breathtaking. You really hardly cry at all. (Although, when particularly hungry, you have been heard to growl) I have tried hard to listen and to meet your needs before you needed to cry. But still. Thank you.

Of course, just so you know, even if you cried the whole night through, even if you screamed relentlessly – I would still love you. I would sweat and cry and wonder what I could do. I would hold you and comfort you and tell you I am here for you always. I would pace the floor and I would not sleep. But I would still love you. With everything in me, I would still love you.

“When you have a baby, every day counts. Every week matters. Every month is a revelation, a collection of milestones so vast it’s easy to forget that they have even happened.” – Rebecca Woolf, Rockabye

This was a month full of firsts: your first smile, your first cry, your first night home, your first nap in our bed, your first bath (my how you love your baths!), your first kiss (from mama, of course!), your first time in a sling (you love being “worn”), your first massage (you fell asleep in the first five minutes), your first “push up” (you are mighty strong, little one), your first trip to the park, your first doggy kiss, your first thumb sucking, your first attempt at rolling over (you really shouldn’t be doing this already, you are giving Mama a heart attack), and today? Today you gave us your first laugh.

It was a small little baby laugh but truly and distinctly - a laugh. Your laugh. Your dad and I were chatting with you as he held you up in the sunlight streaming through the window. A smile spread across your face, your mouth opened wide and out came the sound: a few short syllables of laughter, “heh, heh, heh!” We cracked up laughing with you and fought back our tears. A simple laugh. Might as well have been angels singing as far as we were concerned. Later you repeated this miracle twice more. Once as I strapped you into your car seat and again later while you were sleeping (!) of all things. Each time as heart-stopping and surprising as the first.

The month began with the sound of your first cry, a cry that called me into motherhood. The month is ending with the sound of your laughter. My ears, my heart, my soul were made to hear these sounds. I hope I never stop listening. I hope I never stop listening for your voice, never stop responding to your calls, never resist being carried away in your laughter.

Love Always,


* I am blatantly borrowing this "monthly newsletter" concept from this famous blogger.

** I did actually write this on February 21st, Zane's one month birthday but then had to do some editing because the original version was three pages long! I sure do love writing about this guy.

February 19, 2009

What a difference a year makes

Wow. I can't believe it has been 2 weeks since I have posted. I also can't believe I completely missed my one year blogoversary. Yep. One year ago, on Feb. 11th, I began this blog as a place to document my journey through IVF. One year ago I was thick in the battle of infertility and feeling hopeful and scared about what was to come.

I feel so very very far from all of that now. I can't really even fathom calling myself an infertile. Not when I see the face of my son staring back at me. No. I can say I "struggled with infertility" but that feels so distant and foreign now.

I remember walking into IVF thinking, "This has to be the door to our next chapter, I can't take living in this place anymore - I can't take the waiting and disappointment and longing anymore. It has been so long." We were about 2.5 years in at that point. Now I know what a short time that was in comparison to so many others who have been through so much more. I also know now that everything I went through, every disappointment, though excruciating at the time, all of it was such a small small price to pay for the privilege of being Zane's mother. I am just so incredibly aware of how fortunate I truly am. I hope I never forget.


These days run into eachother. Day seeps into night, night fades to day - in increments measured by feedings, diaper changes, and precious hours of sleep. Time has a different meaning. Time is meaningful only in relation to him. How many hours since he last ate, how many hours he slept last night, and how very very quickly he is growing, growing and changing right before my eyes. I feel pangs of sadness each night as he falls to sleep because I know he will be a different baby in the morning. Each day he is different, each day I say good-bye to the baby I knew the day before. He gets bigger and more agile every morning. And as I celebrate every new accomplishment and experience, I know his days are flying past. He will soon be a month old. I want to beg him to slow down so I can catch up, catch my breath. But all I can do is hold on with both hands and let him lead the way......And what a beautiful and wild adventure he is leading me into.

February 07, 2009

Coming up for air

I am sitting in the glider in our bedroom. I am holding my naked-except-for-his-diaper son against my bare chest. He just finished eating and being slowly rocked into a contented slumber. He is perfection and innocence embodied in this gorgeous, creamy skinned little body with the most intense and peaceful eyes I have ever stared into. This is what I have waited for. And it is so good it scares me.

We've been hibernating and healing over here. Letting go of the "shoulds" (I should have....uploaded more pictures by now, sent birth announcements, retuned e-mails/ phone calls, started using our cloth diapers by now....etc..) and learning to live in the moment. And there have been so many that the last few weeks feels like a blur of polaroid photos flashing by me.

We had a long, hard, powerful, unexpected, and at the end a bit scary, labor and birth. I have been processing it like crazy with my husband and my doula and am finally able to relate the details with pride and honesty. And I plan to share more about that here soon (meaning when I have two hands free to type with - it's a long one).

My first week home was a blur of uncontrollable crying jags and suffocating anxiety that made me feel as if I was being held captive in the bottom of a dark pit that I might never return from. I could feel the love for my husband and son but somehow couldn't quite reach it, or them. It was agony. I would sit and hold my newborn to my chest, skin-to-skin, inhaling deeply the scent of his neck - determined to stay connected to him, allowing his scent to pull me up from the pit in small increments measured by my breathing. My husband called in the reinforcements: friends who are mothers, my counselor, our doula. I called Apothecary Tinctura and they quickly whipped up some herbal and homeopathic remedies to nurture and support me. Also, I received my placenta capsules - capsules containing my steamed, dehydrated, and finely ground placenta. I had paid to have these made for this very purpose, to help me to balance my postpartum hormones and emotions a bit easier. Thankfully, after several tearful coversations with friends and my amazing doula, many cups of tea and doses of tinctures, a few days of placenta capsules, and lots of prayer.....something worked. I woke on Monday and something had lifted. So far it has not returned and I have given thanks for every day since, knowing I am far from being out of the woods. But I am learning to live in the moment and to be grateful for each one.

Since Monday, the experience of motherhood has consumed me with all the magic and all the mundaneness. I have had highs....the utter joy of seing my son "smile", the realization that this beautiful incredible boy is the same boy we saw all those months ago, small as a grain of rice on the ultrasound image with the flicker of a heartbeat that is now the pounding heart that I love to hold against my own, the quiet satisfaction and peace as he nurses. I have had some "lows" too....the realization of my now very limited freedom, the anxiety induced over simply trying to figure out how to get a shower or leave the house (I will figure this out right?), the late night irrational anger over hearing my husband snore away while I am up, again.

Love has become so much bigger than how I feel. Love is all about action these days. The action it takes to respond to my son, the active ways I anticipate his needs, the active choice to be with him, to smile - even at 3am, to constantly let him know that he will be cared for, he will be loved - no matter what. Also, the action necessary to reach out and connect with my husband, my partner to love him and ask him to love me in the ways we need right now. And lastly, the action necessary to love myself: brewing a pot of tea, feeding myself, finding time to shower, asking for a break when my husband comes home so I can reboot - and choosing to hibernate and conserve during this season of transition.

Slowly, moment by moment, I am receiving my son's trust in me and learning to trust myself. Slowly, I am letting myself be changed, letting my selfishness and independence be challenged and shaken up, letting myself fall ever more in love, letting myself breathe, letting myself be a mom, a good mom - even when I doubt my own ability.