a new world

I’ve had one of the songs from our birth mix in my head these past days, the line: “say goodbye to the world you thought you lived in.” This seems right. We spent so long preparing to bring a child into this home, but none of that preparation seems useful in this massively overwhelming moment in time. So much to feel.

Bram’s Aunt Kippie just wrote to me suggesting that I take some time each day to write so that there’s some record of these early days once they’ve slipped by. I’m not sure how coherent I can be right now, but I do want to try to record bits of this. I can’t sustain the structure of the paragraph, though, so bullet points will have to do. I’ll throw in some images, too, which should do more justice than my words to all of this.

  • I am hobbled by my love of this new person. It is almost too much to bear. Sometimes I just focus on one of his parts – on his ear or his skinny legs – because to look further might break me.
  • I’ve thought about the women who helped us get here a thousand times. I feel connected to each of them by an invisible thread that honors the fragility and the sanctity of life. Our birth team, the many nurses and midwives who labored with us, our beloved midwife and our doula (I’ve tried to describe these women for about ten minutes; there are no words), my wife and all of her raw strength. I caught Bram, my hands clasped in our midwife’s. I wish I could convey my love for these women, for this new world they led me to. Women who uphold other women, who gather them in their arms and walk them safely through fear, pain, and darkness. Who enter that space and just hold it day after day. I am overcome.
  • Watching J in pain for so long devastated me in some substantial ways. I’ll need to write about it (in my birth story), but I’m not there yet. There was darkness before the gift of this child. Moments when I wished we’d never tried. Moments when I thought all this was evidence that I’m not meant to parent, that I don’t deserve it. Moments when I thought my persistence might cost me my wife.
  • I still can’t believe he came on her day. That they share that. There are 365 days in a year, and both of my children were born on January 19th.
  • Emmett and Bram share that day with Paul Cezanne (my favorite painter), Julian Barnes, Edgar Allan Poe, a much-loved Charleston friend, and Buffy Summers (we’re Joss Wedon fans around these parts, so this one is significant).
  • I haven’t been gracious to our parents. I wasn’t anywhere near ready to share our boy, and after such a long labor, all I wanted was to bond with my wife and new child. My mom and J’s parents did a lot to help us, though, and their love for their grandson is clear.
  • Our dearest friend C took notes throughout the labor. I’ve only been able to read them in pieces, so beautiful and uncensored are they. Seeing this through her eyes is a magical thing, and the gift of her observations unlike any other I can imagine.
  • Bram is on a biliblanket for jaundice. We’ll check his numbers again tomorrow; I so hope they’ve improved. Though I know how common it is, I lost it today when J’s lactation consultant mentioned a few of the risks of jaundice.
  • Bram weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces at birth, and was 20 3/4 inches long. I forgot to include that in my last post.
  • His namesakes are Bram Fischer (a South African anti-apartheid activist) and our friend Adrienne, the only person other than J, my mom, and me to see Emmett. Abram Adrien, you walk in good company.
  • Here’s a slideshow of a few early photos. The labor/post-labor shots were taken by our doula. Her gifts to us are seemingly infinite.

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12 thoughts on “a new world

  1. BEAUTY!!! I read your words and look at the pictures and the word that can’t seem to leave my mind is BEAUTY. I am so, so happy for the three of you…words can’t provide justice. Love and blessings to you and your family and gratitude for the gift that both of your children share their birthdays.

  2. I think the labor, delivery, and first days are like this big canvas or a quilt or something, best told in fragments and images. I don’t think I could tell a linear narrative of that time, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Emotions and images rise to the surface. I love the bullet points. They begin to fill in the picture, the pieces, the agony and beauty. Thank you for sharing them!

  3. Amazing pictures! I had chills reading your words. It is amazing how much your entire being changes with the birth of a child. completely indescribable.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I feel like both what you’ve said and what you’ve left unsaid conveys the worlds of the meaning and experience that can be contained in just a few short days. Many blessings to your beautiful little family.

  5. Thanks for sharing the lovely and intimate photos. The word I kept using to describe those first few days/weeks was “intense”–intensely wonderful, intensely painful, intensely transformative.
    Oh, and the baby toes look delicious!

  6. It’s great to hear your thoughts. This time is so overwhelming. Goldie had jaundice too and it was so devastating to us. I cried so hard those days. You’re already so emotionally raw that it seems like just too much to bear. At the time everyone told us it would be ok and she would be fine and we’d have our baby back in our arms soon. It was almost impossible to believe, but it’s true. You will get past that and he will be healthy.

    It was very, very hard for me to welcome Fern’s parents for a visit when Goldie was 2 weeks old, so I definitely understand the feelings you have about having your parents there right away. It is so normal to want to hold and love your child before you share him. I was surprised at how difficult it was to share Goldie.

    Sending love.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. Your words invoke an image in my mind filled with beauty and peace. The pictures are beautiful. And his rainbow legwarmers are fantastic! :-)

  8. He’s so beautiful. You are truly blessed.

    Juju was hospitalized for jaundice and it was just devastating. We could not stop crying. But it was over soon enough and she is just fine now. Those first few days with her on this earth were so raw. I wish I had written more about it. The immense love I felt for her immediately… I remember crying because she was already a week old and time was slipping by too fast. Love him hard and long and completely. And each other, too.

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