We had prepared a list of requests that we had surrounding our hopes and plans for an easy, comfortable birth. With a few lame exceptions, the staff at Saint Joe East were pretty accommodating and respectful of our wishes. We were given the only room that had a birthing tub which I was so happy about. I spent most of the time in the tub and Nick even got in with me. Another part of the hypnobabies method is that your perception of time will change and every hour will feel like 20 minutes. This truly happened for me. Time passed so quickly.
To others I might have seemed to have myself together but on the inside my mind was whirling with doubts and fears mixed with affirmations. A part of me felt assured and understood that my body was made to do this - that was the part of me that payed attention in birth class. But another part of me was scared and tired and ready to give up. Thank God Julie and Nick were there to hold me up literally and figuratively.
I wish I had a telescope to guide this ship tonight
and a break of light bursting through the sand heavy sky
How do I get to you now?
I guess I'll have to learn how to swim
so I won't drown
I wish I had a little hope to help me feel alright
and a happy inside running through the sand heavy mind
how do I get to you now,
guess I'll have to learn how to breathe and work it out
and I'll float the waves of rolling tides
I'll set my pace by my time
and I'll get to you, I'll get to you
I'll get to you, my love.
I'll float the waves of rolling tides
I'll set my pace by my time
and I'll get to you, I'll get to you
I'll get to you, my love
Eleanor came into the world with soft cries and wide open eyes. She stayed awake for about four hours gazing at us, learning to eat, and taking total possession of our hearts.
So six weeks later I wish I had some kind of profound thing to say about parenthood ... but all I can tell you is that I am just a mess. I am a mess of emotions and responsibilities. Trying to balance life these days feels nearly impossible. I find myself frustrated and a little lost.
At the same time I am learning how to love all over again as if I never really understood love to begin with. Where have I been all my life? This teeny tiny person has changed everything. And I know that for every bit of difficulty there are equal parts of grace and patience getting laid like bricks into the masonry of my being.
I am now elected into the ever-exclusive club of motherhood ... like a big hall of fame I feel inept to be categorized with the greats like my own mom, my friend Jamie, Teresa, Mary, etc. Am I really a mother? I still kinda feel like the same little selfish, immature me. But I am not the same. I am different.
There is so much about it all that I just didn't get before I experienced it. In my six weeks of experience I would qualify being a mother to being a protector ... gentle like an angel watching over and fierce like a lion in the wild. All instincts are on cue at all times. It's like my sense of hearing just keyed up ten thousand volts. From across the room I can hear her breath. Somehow I just know things I could never have never been taught: this cry means hunger ... that look means stomach ache ... or she just needs to be held. How do I know? This is motherhood. Magical, inexplicable motherhood. I'm pretty sure that I have eyes growing in the back of my head at this very minute.
All priorities have shifted down and now Eleanor tops the list unquestionably and unapologetically. Finding balance between baby life, wife life, and business life is a challenge that I think I will be navigating for the rest of my life. Be patient with me as I work to define my roles over the next year or two.
Another element of beauty I am discovering in the process is the sweetness of watching my husband become a father. As anyone who knows him would expect ... Nick is a natural in his own unique way: Not stressing over her cries ... discussing mathematical theories ... already taking her on trips to Lowes. It is so invaluable to have him as a partner amid this journey. When I need help (over and over again) he steps in without complaining every time. As if he hadn't already proven himself as the most supportive and loveable man I've ever known ... here he goes getting better and better. He is constantly by my side through the sleepless nights, the emotional break downs (hers and mine), and the countless poopy diapers.
Having Eleanor in my life has expanded my capacity to love. Not just because I love her like I've never really loved anything or anyone else. But because of her I am loving Nick in new ways. I am also understanding the love of my mom in ways I never did before. I feel so small and sorry for how much I haven't appreciated my mom enough.
And of course then there is the love of God. I guess we all know him more as a "father" but now I am convinced he is a mother too. He must be.
I am overwhelmed by his outpouring of love on me especially now. He has filled my cup in many ways ... first by just trusting me with this specific tiny person. That he believes in me enough to let me take care of her for her life time ... that is a love I don't deserve.
Second, he provides me with a grace that I don't deserve. As I get easily frustrated and tired he is continuously renewing my strength and patience. He is filling my heart with joy at small things ... like Eleanor's smile (which I've only seen a few times at this stage), bubbles on her toes, her funny coos and snorts. She makes me melt in a million little ways.
We love bath time, morning walks, evening walks, napping together. I love sleeping with her in my arms. I can see glimpses of family members in her features and expressions ... and that is amazing like she has a part of all of us in her. I love her gaze ... her tiny hand gripping my finger (she is so strong) ... I find joy just watching her blink.
And I think these simple joys just cancel out everything about motherhood that is too hard. The feelings of inadequacy, the extreme exhaustion, the lack of time for simple things, the loss of independence ... New parents don't talk much about these difficulties. They are too busy bragging about their baby's small accomplishments. Because hearing your baby giggle for the first time just over-shadows it all.
If you've read this far ... thank you. Thanks for your time and interest in this amazing and important time in my life. I don't know for sure when I'll blog again. Its taken my three days to get this one posted! But know that I am here ... trucking along ... baby in tow. I have several weddings and shoots coming up and several from earlier this summer that I still want to share. It's all coming. But for now ... Daddy should be home soon and it's time for our evening walk.