A new baby! I miss you all!
so much is new and spring is coming
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Wow! Just opening my laptop and typing words feels a little bit weird and very, very good.
The last time I wrote was the middle of November. I was anxiously awaiting baby #2. On Saturday morning, November 20, Tony and I got up early (as if we had been sleeping! ha! for me third trimester = up every hour to pee) and drove to the hospital. Our daughter Simone and our dog Ace were fast asleep down the road at my parents’ house. I had spent much of my pregnancy weepy - I’m always pretty weepy, really - but I felt sharp and strangely peaceful.
The birth was challenging and world-shaking in the way that all births are…but compared to the emergency c-section with Simone, the proceedings felt calm, measured, and nearly serene. I had gone over what to expect with my doula and my doctor, and things unfolded pretty much just like that. In our hospital room, I changed into my warm socks with the grippy feet and Tony helped me with the buttons on the hospital gown. We watched the sun rise over the parking lot. We put on a podcast about an octopus while we waited but turned it off a few minutes in, unable to focus.
The only hiccup was that labor and delivery was incredibly busy, so we had to wait. “There was a full moon last night,” one of the nurses said, poking my wrist to put in the IV. “There are always a ton of births during a full moon.” We had to wait for more nurses to come to work. I couldn’t eat or drink for 12 hours beforehand, and so those few extra hours felt long as my very pregnant tummy rumbled. Also: the anticipation of such a humongous event!
The anesthesiologist chatted with Tony about soccer. We bet on the size of the baby. Our OB told us that in studies where doctors, sonographers, and pregnant people guessed the size of the baby, pregnant people guessed right the most often (especially those on their second or third babes). I thought Julius would be more than seven pounds - Simone had been six and a half, and he felt comparatively huge. At the end of my pregnancy, I often awoke to find the baby painfully wedged in my ribs or pelvis. It felt like he was busy at boxing practice inside me.
Also, I was sure the baby would be a girl.
Beforehand, I erupted in uncontrollable shivers.
“I haven’t done anything yet,'“ said the anesthesiologist, so it wasn’t medication. It was nerves, I guess, and those fluorescent operating room lights, and our lovely OB brought over extra blankets and held my hand while the anesthesiologist delivered his magic via a shot in my spine.
Then I started to sweat.
I didn’t feel pain, per se, but the surgery was hardly comfortable.
It felt like it took forever. It felt like a truck rolled itself atop my stomach and parked there. Apparently Julius had a very big head, and that very big head got wedged in some scar tissue from Simone’s c-section, making the whole thing feel like gripping and ripping.
Tony looked over the sheet they hung over my chest to obscure the surgery, my insides on the outside, and told me we had a son.
Julius Keyirimba Mulira was born on 11/20/22 at 12:34 pm. He was 8 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches. He cried and cried and nursed like a champ, right from the start. Long fingers and toes. Big eyes. Insatiable hunger.
Oh, my heart.
We were in the hospital for 48 hours. “You make the whole thing look easy,” our OB told me before sending us home.
There were moments of ease.
But mostly, things have felt incredibly hard since then.
Love has buoyed us through the surreal exhaustion.
There was also aching. So much bleeding. More shivering and soaking our sheets through with sweat. Nursing nursing nursing - my poor nipples.
A cloud over everything.
Up at 4 AM, 5 AM, 6 AM.
Not being able to pick up Simone for 6 weeks. Her arms outstretched: “mama, mama, mama, mama.”
Testing positive for Covid at three weeks postpartum. Having to isolate with a newborn. Not being able to breathe through the congestion but not being able to take drugs, because of breastfeeding.
Seeing Simone outside, in a mask, but having to go in early because it was just too cold.
Winter. Loneliness. Did I mention the exhaustion?
I have the mental space to write now because there is a shift happening.
Julius slept through the night last night! Hallelujah!!
Simone is back at school. We have (wonderful) childcare. Halle-freakin-lujah!!
Outside, the snow is melting. Spring is coming.
Julius is growing every day. Waterfalls of spit ups and poops. Toothless smiles and funny baby noises.
Simone has new words every day: bug, tree, boots, teeth.
I still cry every day.
I still feel like this is all impossible.
I still feel achingly lucky. My little family. Julius on my boob, Simone’s whole body flung on mine. Peppa Pig on TV.
Heart bursting and bursting and bursting.
Whenever I need a moment of beauty and thoughtfulness, I read your newsletter. Keep blessing the world with your amazing writing. XO, Richard G. Harris
It is so good to read your honest assessment of all this. You are a wonderful writer and your kids will have a fabulous record of what this time was like for all of you. Wishing you more ease, lots of love, and a happy spring!