There she is, sweet Ophelia Rose. Born at the beginning of December by c-section, 10 days early.
What is the Birth Story?
This could be a long one, due to some medical weirdness in my blood requiring a lot of doctors and a bonus captive period in the hospital a few weeks before she actually came for infusions and other excitement. Boring. Here are the parts that count:
Surprise! I know we’re catching you at the end of your work day, but just wanted to let you know the stars have aligned and your platelets are up and you’re having major abdominal surgery to produce a human tomorrow morning at 9am! Be there or be square! Oh, and don’t eat or drink anything after midnight! Tell your boss! Bye!
2. It turns out that while you lie there on the table, nice and sliced wide open, the hot topic of conversation is Types of Salsa in the Hospital Cafeteria. The anesthesiologist likes the fruity salsas. Turns out there are far more choices since Baja Fresh opened. Residents are all about the roasted corn, and the nurses dig the green chile business. What’s that? Oh, shit! A BABY!
Also, being conscious through surgery in a teaching hospital means listening to the surgeon grill observing students about your innards. “What is this?” is not something you expect to hear from someone who is elbow-deep in your abdominal cavity. Even for the sake of education.
3. …And truly miraculously, it happened again: a perfect baby girl. Generally grunty and squeaky with a bad-ass hunger cry and a voracious appetite, big blinky eyes and a nice baby smell. Oh, we are lucky.
What does Bird think of all this?
Where to begin? She’s huge, for one. A gigantic, sweet and bumbling monster of a child, doing her very very best to not crush or eat this baby out of love or frustration. Always in her face, nose to nose. So much adoration for this tiny new thing, so much curiosity and, alternately, boredom. So much sharing of attention to be done, so much change. Trying so hard to be the big sister we all made such a big deal about. We congratulate her on her kindnesses, on sharing, every victory we can find. We try to be gentle with redirection, give her a little wiggle room. But we also get annoyed. She gets annoyed. We snap. We all act out. We reconcile. We say to each other, “I love you very much, even when you are DRIVING ME BANANAS.” Permission to say that is worth its weight in gold, for all parties involved. I hear it just as much as I say it these days.
Goodness, though. It’s complicated. Sometimes I want to set her out on the front porch and lock the door behind her, sometimes I literally cry over her sweetness and the hard, clumsy work she’s putting into her part of becoming a family of four. Sweet Bird. Oh my.
Are you getting any sleep?
Am I supposed to? Stop asking silly questions. Are you winning the lottery? No? Did you expect to?
How is A. holding up?
Wow. The most wonderful husband/ father/ friend. I hit the spousal jackpot, y’all. This man was born to be a daddy of girls and a partner to a lunatic like me. He is incredibly kind, patient, and so easy to love. And damn cute, eh?
Can we bring a casserole?
And oh, the friends! The best in the whole dang world and beyond. We have eaten well and been so loved. Who says we don’t live near our family?
How were the holidays?
The first in nine years without a single trip to Indiana. Plenty of visitors– two separate shifts of grandparents and family before and after the Main Event, full of joyful company and personal quirks and general holiday drama. But Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were just ours– free to sit around in our jammies and gaze at the baby and play with our (modest) Christmas loot and eat nachos and watch Mary Poppins. I never knew Christmas could be so lovely. Best. Gift. Ever.
How is Maternity Leave?
Oh, man. Livin’ the dream most of the time. Sometimes feels a little solitary, sometimes wonderfully so. Adjusting to the pace of home, re-working my definition of urgency and daily accomplishment, trying to keep the dishes done and the laundry caught up, trying to work in a shower once in a while.
But also: YOU SHOULD SEE MY LIST, Y’ALL. Budgets, closets, books, sewing, projects, purging, thrifting, cooking… half of me fighting for long hours of napping and dreamy baby-gazing and the other half barking tasks like a drill Sargent. This is the last maternity leave I’m likely to have– and possibly the most time away from work until I retire*– and both of me (dreamy mama and taskmaster) just want to make the most of it. Sometimes it is an ugly fight, but everyone eventually gets their say, and it tends to cost me my nap.
And what else?
Ran over my own keys in the pet store parking lot this weekned. And you thought it couldn’t be done!
The neighborhood free-range chicken has taken a particular shine to our front yard tree/ garden. As her shitting place.
Lovin’ the MOBY.
And up to my general scheming, as usual. Wheels turning, turning. Always.