Friday, May 13, 2011
Three weeks old, my darling. Yet it seems like you have been with us forever. You've come in softly, and quietly filled up all the empty spaces we never knew we had. Even an all-out wail is comforted easily in when your head nuzzles against my cheek. You seem so restful, so sweetly peaceful, that I wonder if you wonder what kind of nightmare of loud and crazy you've landed in! Our family is so different now than it was when your big brother Isaac was born six years ago. I wonder how that difference will shape you . . .
I kept trying not to think about your birth too much, because I knew counting contractions would drive me crazy. So it snuck up on me instead – I didn't expect you to be my earliest baby (three days before your due date.) Your daddy had been working a lot in Wyoming, even staying overnight. But I told him to be on alert at all times and to ALWAYS answer his phone. My labors have gotten shorter with each baby and I figured I would only labor with you 4-6 hours.
The Tuesday before you were born (at 4:21am on Wednesday) was normal. We went to the library. Abby went to her ballet class. Isaac had gymnastics. Daddy was working late in Wyoming so the kids and I ate Culver's for supper. Then I got them to bed and my friend Kirsten came over to visit from about 8-11pm. It took me until midnight to get to sleep (because I was so uncomfortable with my big belly!)
At 2am I woke up quite sore. It took me until 2:20 to decide to call your daddy (the contractions were still not regular). I told him to come and he started driving from Sundance, WY in a snowstorm in the middle of the night! Around 2:45 I called Grammie. She took me to the hospital and Papa stayed at the house with Isaac, Abby and Matthew.
I tottered into the emergency room, realizing that contractions were only about two minutes apart now and quite strong. I was worried that they wouldn't get the penicillin IV in soon enough AND that your daddy wouldn't make it in time! We got to the hospital shortly after 3am. Daddy finally arrived around 4am, right ahead of the doctor and just in time for me to enter transition! Then you were there – all 7 pounds, 11 ounces, 19.5 inches of perfection. I was so glad you actually WERE a girl and you were healthy and somehow it all seemed too good to be true. Your birth went so quickly it almost seemed like a dream.
We named you Elise Kathryn: “Consecrated to God” and “Pure”. “Elise” and “Bette” are both variations of “Elizabeth” so this was our attempt to honor your Grandma B. Kathryn is also her favorite girls name – the name your daddy would have been given if he was a girl! Your siblings like to call you Ellie, which is the perfect sweet nickname.
After taking a while to latch on for the very first time, you quickly became my best nurser ever! You are not as difficult to wake as some of your siblings have been and you know just what to do when it's time to eat. Much to Abby's delight, you also will take a bottle (so she is able to feed you) and a pacifier, both firsts among this little clan. You are truly not very fussy, but you did seem to be rooting around far more than was warranted by hunger. Instead of feeding you every forty minutes, I opted for the pacifier! You are quite content to suck away.
We had a lovely time at the hospital, you and I. I felt great physically (just tired, of course – you were my only middle of the night labor!), but it was wonderful to have two whole days to relax, watch HGTV and examine every inch of your precious body. Daddy was in and out as he shared childcare duties with Grammie. Your brothers and sister were so thrilled to meet you. It was precious to watch each of them hold you for the first time.
Now we're settled in at home. Daddy is still working a lot, so that is hard on Mommy. And just the sheer time commitment of nursing makes it hard for me to stay on top of the rest of life. But for your part, you've blended into our family so smoothly it seems impossible. I snuggle you and cuddle you every chance I get. But when I need you to, you've been quite happy to doze in the bouncy seat.
It is funny though, often the surest way to wake you up is to lay you down – you don't cry, you just wake up. Then if I want you to go to sleep, I just pick you up and cuddle you. Sometimes the transition from wake to sleep is instantaneous. At night though, you are sleeping in your own bed for about ten hours, interrupted only by two brief feedings.
Isaac loves to lay next to you and hug you and kiss you. Abby wants to feed you, hold you and dress you all the time. Matthew is always checking “Where's baby Ellie?” and he also says “Can I pet it?”, sweetly asking permission before stroking your hair! Daddy has already inaugurated the practice of playing the piano with you on his lap – he even wrote a song especially for you “You are my butterfly, soft as a lullaby.”
My sweet, sweet baby how I love you!