Note: This idea is blatantly ripped off from a celebrity blogger I read, who writes monthly letters to her daughter. I always look forward to reading them, and I thought it might be a nice way to reflect on what happened each month of Miles’s life. Maybe when he’s older he’d even like to read them, although he might find them embarrassing.
Monthly Miles Memo #1
I wasn’t expecting my entire world to change on January 7, 2008, but it had to happen sooner or later. The details of your birth and the events leading up to it are already documented here and elsewhere, so I won’t get gruesome here, except to say that everyone who told me that you quickly forget the pain of childbirth was LYING. It HURT. A LOT.
But now, as you’re sitting on my lap, kicking and cooing (which is why it’s going to take forever to get this written, because you are irresistible, and I can’t help but dive into your little neck and kiss you every five seconds), it’s okay that it hurt so much. You’re worth it.
(That said, next time around I hope to do things in a more traditional manner that doesn’t involve laboring for hours and hours on Pitocin with little progress. That wears a person out.)
You’ve grown a lot already. At your doctor’s appointment yesterday, you were up to 8 pounds, 4 ounces. At your lowest, you went under six pounds, which worried the medical types, but you’ve come back with great enthusiasm. I’m also pleased to report that your love of eating has worn my nipples into a state of leathery roughness, which I never thought I would welcome, but here we are. You have huge feet. Right now you’re wearing an adorable green sleeper with dinosaurs on it that says “Little Stomper,” and in fact your little stompers are about to outgrow the outfit.
You also gave us a scare early on with some high bilirubins. We’d only had you home one day when the doctor called and said your bloodwork had come back with elevated levels of bilirubins and you needed to be readmitted to the hospital. I held it together on the phone, but as soon as I hung up, I burst into tears and remained weepy for about the next four hours. I was sure that you’d be desperately unhappy in the Isolette, and I wouldn’t be allowed to snuggle you to calm you down.
Isolette. What kind of horrible word is that? Why bother putting a cutesy suffix on a word that clearly means something awful? What’s next, anthraxy-pie?
My worries were completely unfounded. You loved the Isolette. You stretched out in there, crossed your legs, and acted like you were at the beach. Your eye protection goggles made you look like a tiny Batman. The only times you got upset were when they had to do blood draws, which was a lot—your tiny heels were raw for days after we brought you home.
One important side effect of our extra time in the hospital was meeting a nurse who was very helpful with breastfeeding tips. No, Miles, you weren’t born the champion nipple nosher you are now. In fact, for the first several days of your life, you weren’t very good at it. Your dad and I spent a lot of time and effort syringe feeding you, which is a method designed to not ruin you for breasts in the long term. Your dad or I would stick a finger in your mouth and tickle the roof of your mouth to stimulate your sucking reflex, then use a syringe to squirt milk into the corner of your mouth, thereby tricking you into thinking your sucking had actually delivered the milk.
It got calories into you, which was important to combat your weight loss and to get the bilirubins out of your system, but it was a giant pain to pump the breastmilk, sterilize the syringes, try to get most of the milk into your mouth, see a good amount of it dribble down your chin, try to catch it with a burp rag, fail to catch it with a burp rag, change your outfit, and start all over an hour later. Breastfeeding is far preferable. I’m very glad you’ve gotten the hang of it.
You haven’t yet gotten the hang of sleeping very long at a stretch. Last night you set a new record: you slept for four consecutive hours. Of course, after that 11:45-3:45 spell, you woke up every two hours again, as is your wont. I have never been more tired. I try to take a nap every day, but I don’t always get a very good one, because every little snort and grunt you make wakes me up. Perhaps this is just a harbinger of the future. I know my mom could hear every step Uncle Tyler and I took in the house as we grew up; maybe being a mother just means never sleeping soundly again.
As exhausting as it is, though, I secretly love those minutes after you’ve eaten, as you lie on my shoulder and I try to coax a burp out of you. As the sun comes up and brightens the snow, as you snuggle in all warm and soft against me, as your daddy snores quietly next to us, I think, “This is what my life was always supposed to be.”