I forget how the pace of life slows in the breathy moments of adjusting to a new baby. Moments – on life’s grand scale, that is what they are, fleeting ticks of the clock that will pass in and out, and life will go on. Already time is moving fast – our Elijah Owen is almost two weeks old, and my husband, my sweet and giving husband who has poured himself out in servanthood this week, will be returning to work soon.
Time. One of the many paradoxes of motherhood. How can the minutes slug away and fly by at the same time?
Life resumes here. Slowly we must ease ourselves into a new normal. There are sad moments and confusing moments, funny moments and ecstatic moments. I look back on little Eli’s birth with a sort of muddy joy. Always I will remember how Bryan and I played gin rummy as we passed away the afternoon hours in the big hospital room, pausing for contractions as they passed. I will remember how the doctor came in and broke my water with what had to be chop sticks, saying something about speeding the process along. She was in and out of our room so fast, and the rush of hormones and fear overtook me, and I remember thinking (not for the first time that day) how odd it is that an act or a thought done out of routine or convenience for one person can be something entirely momentous and huge for another.
I remember how the evening hours of July 25 passed so quickly, so fluidly, both Bryan and I thinking our baby would be here within the next hour, every hour. How, at 8:00, her hurried down to the hospital cafeteria to grab a bit and hurried straight back, knowing his son could be here at any time. How I finally started pushing at 10:30 that night and how, at a quarter to midnight, I had to stop, because it was time for the doctor and the doctor was in the room next door delivering another baby. How four babies came that night within 15 of each other, and how we were third in line. Eli was the only boy born in the hospital that night.
And he came, beautiful and wet and big. His body was hot and alien on my stomach. I couldn’t see his face at first, but I didn’t care. He came. He was here, and that’s all that mattered. He made a July 25 birthday by two minutes; he was born at 11:58 p.m., 8 pounds 6 ounces and 21 inches long. And when I did see his face for the first time – smoke blue eyes and tiny pink mouth and shock of dark hair – I cried. Because he was mine, and he was beautiful.
Now the days pass, some moments quietly and other moments chaos, as what once was a family of three gets used to being a family of four. A million questions linger and yes, sleep is a sweet sweet thing. But this job of parenthood is in full swing. It’s intense and tough and messy. But it is worth every minute.
Welcome, sweet baby.