Friday, October 23, 2009

Stories I like to tell: Part III

Over the past month I have acquired two new nephews. They are cute as a bug's ear, both of them (well the one I've seen photos of is anyway, the other one I'm just guessing). One is a third-born and one is a second-born. Thinking about newborn babes reminded me of our first-born: Emma.
I'll spare you the details of labor and delivery (although I like telling those stories too, it's not always the kind of stuff you want to read while say eating lunch or something). The main thing I've been thinking about is the day we brought Emma home from the hospital. I considered myself a well educated new mother. I'd read every article, book, literature from my OB, etc, etc that I could get my hands on. I'd just finished taking Parenting 202 and Infant Development the previous semester. I knew what was happening with our new baby and how and why and who discovered it. I was as prepared as I felt I could conceivably (no pun intended) be. And yet when I finally held this tiny new person and felt the awe and the gravity and the sacredness of what a complete and literal miracle she was my perspective was rocked. There is no "prepared". There is no amount of knowledge or study that compares with the reality of life.
Think it slowly... . . . . . . . . . . . l i f e.
That's when the worry set in. The responsibility was...not overwhelming, but just huge. Heavy. I felt some anxiety when we brought her home. I would miss the reassuring regular visits from doctors and nurses who had the medical training that I lacked, who would know better and sooner if something was wrong. I began to understand how little all my book smarts really mattered with no actual experience to draw upon.
Luckily, I have a great mom (with experience x6) who was on her way to help show us the ropes (aren't moms awesome?). As the timing worked out, we brought Emma home on a Wednesday afternoon and my mom's flight was coming in the following morning. When Mom arrived, she helped us figure out the things we just didn't get yet. I was amazed at how second-nature all this stuff seemed to her and how patiently she helped it seem normal to us too. By the time she left from her generous 10-day stay I felt far more competent.
But not on that first night, the one all on our own. We swaddled Emma and put her in the little bassinet at the foot of our bed and turned in early. I remember setting my alarm for three hours from the last time she ate (you know, because she might starve if I didn't (that was sarcasm by the way)). This was totally unnecessary as it turns out, she woke up on her own plenty more than every three hours. And even if she hadn't, Scott and I didn't let thirty minutes go by without checking on her. My outstanding memory of that night is how impossible it was to fall into a sound sleep. I lost count of the number of times I crawled to the foot of our bed and looked down at her just to make sure she was still okay. Watching her chest rise and fall and listening to her breathe. Scott did the same. All night long, like some sort of nocturnal tag-team, we kept a vigil on our baby. And we didn't mind. And most amazingly of all, our baby grew up.
No longer the one who needs rocking and cooing, but now the one most willing to offer it to our newest baby. Emma is going to be a great mom.


Jenica said...

You sum everything up so well. Its so nice to remember those first time parenting days - now that they are long gone. And I have to say that I felt so much better when my pediatrician told me that although her husband is a family practice Dr. they take their sons to a third Dr. because they usually don't agree on what to do. There is no prepared for parenthood on some levels
:) Thank you for sharing.

joelb said...

dad's compiled family histories have some interesting things to say on the subject of newborns.

i read one last night about when the bennetts had their first son (cleo's oldest brother). the father of the family left in the middle of the night on horseback to fetch the midwife but (if i read the story correctly) by time they arrived back the baby had already been delivered.

another story that stuck me was how our grandpa barber was born in a log cabin and living the first year of his life there, sleeping in bed between his parents. not so distant.

Sharlene, Mom, Grammy said...

I read this post while in Provo, Utah, and all the warm fuzzies of Emma's birth came back to me as I read your account. You are a wonderful writer! You manage to capture the feelings so perfectly. And you are a fantastic Mother and Scott, a great father. Emma, and the other children are blessed to have you both. I'm now at Joel's house, in Lehi, and I'm still thinking of the time with you in Provo when Emma was born, and Ben. Great post, Lori. I hope you will eventually publish all these reflective posts in a book. BYW, I had many of those same feelings when Troy was born. My mother arrived the day I came home from the hospital---but not until we were totally in charge for a few hours. Could relate to your feelings. xoxoxo, Mom

Julie said...

How precious! I wish I could say that I can relate, but really I can't. I have a lot to learn before I'll even be close to ready for nurturing a baby, but reflections like this make me so excited for that time in the future! You really do have a gift for writing Sister Cruze!