While I get some rest after having Baby Anneli and try to gather my thoughts for the birth story, I have some really amazing friends who will be helping out with the blog. Be sure to check out their blogs and show them a little love for doing this big favor for me. 

Today, Jenna from Mom, the Intern is sharing her beautiful words & inspiration today. This post made me cry, a lot. It could be post-partum hormones. But also her words & message hit me so hard especially in this sleepy newborn phase. It is hard to appreciate these moments yet these are the moments that I know I will miss & crave the most once my babies are grown. 


I hear Clara over the baby monitor, cooing and sucking her hand. She’s awake. I open my eyes and look over at the clock – 5:40 in the morning. She slept through the night, I think happily. My husband Dillon has already left the bed to get ready for work, the form of his head still pressed into his pillow.

I go into the nursery to retrieve her for her first feeding of the day. She is wiggling and delightedly looking at the ceiling fan while gnawing on her pudgy hand, apparently staving off the hunger of seven hours without milk. She lights up when she finally sees me. Breakfast has arrived. I pick her up, kiss her little forehead and snuggle her on my shoulder as we make the journey back to the bed.

I sit on the mattress, lift my shirt and offer my breast – Clara takes it without a second thought, so desperate to quench her thirst. I am desperate too, though, for relief. It has been a long night and I’m quite full. As she calms down to eat, I recline back onto the pillow, her sweet head resting in the crook of my arm. She closes her eyes and drinks deeply. Her little body fits perfectly against my soft abdomen and shapely hip, just like two puzzle pieces. I feel my eyes getting heavy too, willing me to return back to sleep. Her warmth is so comforting. I kiss her head again and breathe in its perfect scent. I catch her grinning slightly before I drift back to Dreamland.


About a half hour later, I wake again to the sound of my preschooler Carson shutting his bedroom door down the hall. I hear him dragging his blanket against the carpet as he approaches my room. I crack my eyes slightly to see his towhead bobbing along in the bedroom. He exerts great effort to haul his large, fluffy blanket and at least four stuffed “guys” around. He throws them all onto Dillon’s side of the bed and hoists himself up.

 “I want to cuddle with you, Mom,” he says, crawling toward Dillon’s pillow. He snuggles up next to Clara and me and sucks his thumb. Not long ago, he was the one I nursed in bed during the early hours of the morning. Like his little sister, his plump body once fit against mine so perfectly. He sucked and sucked until he was full, and then he fell right to sleep next to me, a fat Butterball breathing slowly and steadily. Now, he is long and lean, his soft cheeks the only evidence of his former babyhood. His cuddling is short-lived as he restlessly flops around in the bed, clearly ready to play. He used to be so still as he snuggled up with me. Now, he only wants to move.


Final wake-up call. My 6-year-old daughter Audrey is up now, standing by my head. The clock says 7:38. “We’re late for breakfast,” she says, ever the taskmaster. Her long blonde tresses are slightly mussed and wavy from going to bed with damp hair. She holds a stuffed pug in her arms against her hot pink nightgown. I briefly remember when she, too, was a baby sleeping in my arms. Looking at her bony, long limbs and the adult-like impatience etched into her face, it’s hard to believe it ever happened, but I have the pictures to prove it. I can see her now: her perfect bald head against my shoulder, her chubby cheeks completely relaxed, her fat arms dangling by my side. My fluffy motherly figure provided the cushion for her comfort. It was just yesterday, I swear.

I remember those early days of Audrey’s life when in an exhausted haze, I wondered how women went on to have more babies after the first. How could they find the energy and time when one baby sucked it all out of them? How did they not die from being deprived of so much sleep? Those thoughts were shortsighted of me. Of course, no child stays a baby forever. And sometimes, that fact is sad to us. But it’s also the entire point of parenthood: create a child and help it grow. They do get bigger. They eventually start talking and walking on their own. They start eating the same foods you do and can even help prepare them. They go to school, buckle their own seatbelts, get their own drink of water, take their own showers and draw pictures of things they came up with all on their own.

And mothers … we change, too. We become more patient. We relax a little. We don’t let a little spit-up or a tantrum bother us anymore. We figure out how to live on less – less money, less sleep, less attention to yourself. We start to see the forest for the trees and know the sleepless newborn phase will not last forever (even though it still feels eternal, even on the third kid). But that first time … nothing can adequately prepare you for what it’s like for a tiny human to be solely dependent on you and no one else. It’s emotional, it’s exhausting, it’s challenging, it’s humbling. Oh so humbling. But let’s not forget – it’s rewarding, too, as difficult experiences tend to be.

So if you’re about to embark on the journey of motherhood, beware: it moves fast. Faster than you want it to sometimes. Take pictures. Keep a journal. Change your baby’s outfit frequently because believe it or not, she may outgrow some of them before she ever wears them. (True story.)

And don’t be in such a hurry to return to the Land of the Living after your baby comes. Sleep, relax, snuggle, enjoy. Watch and wonder about how your baby’s appearance can literally change from one morning to the next. When she falls asleep in your arms, lay back and sleep along with her. Cherish the sweet moments and savor them. They are like elusive hummingbirds -- hovering, fleeting, then gone.

Basically, whatever you do, just don’t blink.


Jenna Foote said...

Thanks so much for featuring me, Megan. I'm glad I had the opportunity to write about something so dear to my heart!

Andrea said...

Sobbing! nash is getting too big!