Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Cleo, this is technically your second Christmas, but to some degree, it is your first. At least as far as you're aware. So far, you are loving it. Later today we're packing up and heading over the mountains so you can see your grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

RIP Randy

Randy, though you were only with us a short time (probably due to cheap manufacturing processes) you were well loved and will be missed.
Thanks for playing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Sweet lady baby,

Today you are one year old. Here's a note from your great grandma Gwen that I thought we should save for posterity:

"Sorry I have not responded to the invitation for Cleo's birthday. I am trying to recover from some severe rib injury I received when I rolled my snowmobile, and believe me it's not going away very fast. It threw me back onto a berm of ice and knocked the wind out of me. I was gasping like a guppy out of water. Anyway, it's a good story for Cleo that her great grandmother couldn't attend her birthday party because of sledding injuries."

Cleo, this is a good story for you to know!

Tonight your daddy and I put you to sleep listening to the Devandra Banhart album that we listened to on your first night in this world. While in the hospital, it played on loop all night long. I barely slept because I was nervous I would roll on you and was constantly checking to confirm you were still alive. You were (and are!) so perfect and beautiful.

So much has changed in just this one year: your obvious growth and development, and subtler changes in myself and your dad. You've changed us so much in the sweetest of ways.

The last few days have been very nostalgic for me, remembering the days leading up to your birth. I loved being pregnant. I was relatively comfortable and I felt beautiful. I loved feeling you move inside me, and watching my stomach grow along with you over those months was so exciting.

When your due date came and went, I still felt confident in us. When the doctors said that the amniotic fluid was low and they'd have to induce, I was scared, but still knew we could do it together. As is chronicled on this blog, a few methods were tried for induction. They ultimately gave us pitocin to kick-start labor. I was frightened of the pitocin, worried that the contractions would be too much for you, and worried if I could handle the pain. Cleo, it was an absolute miracle that the pitocin was turned off. A nurse came in and read your stats from the monitor and was concerned about your vitals. She turned off the pitocin and went to find Maggie the midwife to discuss the readings. During that time, my contractions actually kicked in. When Maggie reviewed everything, she thought you were totally fine. And, since we were progressing, she didn't restart the pitocin. I asked her if this is normal, and she told me that essentially, once pitocin is started it is NOT turned off.

This was thrilling, as we were allowed to continue labor and delivery exactly as I had prayed it would happen - no meds! Just you and me kid. And your dad - he was amazing.

When you finally joined us on the outside, it was such a crazy feeling. To some degree I felt dazed - tired from the exertion of labor - and almost shocked at finally meeting you. When you came, I remember looking down and seeing you were a girl. Even though you'd been inside me all those months, it really was like meeting you for the first time. You were so beautiful and fascinating. Your daddy cried and I think he was surprised at how emotional of a reaction he had. We loved you immediately.

When we came home from the hospital we had a bit of a rocky start. You had lost weight, which is normal, but you weren't regaining it fast enough and the doctors were concerned about you. The first few weeks were very stressful as we had to take you to the doctor over and over and over. That stress, coupled with the natural tiredness that comes from having a newborn was a lot to deal with.

The doctors had us supplement your breastmilk feedings with formula, which broke my heart a bit because I felt like I was letting you down by not making enough milk for you. Your pediatrician prescribed a medicine to boost my milk supply that ended up causing pretty severe post-partum depression. My first two weeks with you before I took that medicine were amazing. Even with worries about your weight, I sensed that you were just fine and I was ridiculously happy! I specifically recall one morning while your grandma Chris was with us. I took a shower and broke down crying because I was so happy. It is a beautiful memory for me, poignant and tender, oozing with love for you.

Due to the medicine, the next four weeks were a struggle. On top of making me sad, the medicine made me really tired. I cried when your daddy left the house to go to work. I loved you and was thrilled by your presence the whole time, but your naps were particularly hard. Those were the times when I had no distraction from my depression and things felt the most overwhelming. When we finally realized it was the medicine making me feel that way, it was such a relief! Coming off of that medicine was like sun breaking through storm clouds. My happiness returned, and again my tears were for joy.

I feel like we've spent this last year on an ocean together. The waves come and some you ride out and some knock you off your feet for a bit. At each stage, just when I think I have you figured out, you move on to something new. Each new thing is refreshing and exciting. I want this voyage to last forever.

Cleo, you inspire me. I'm constantly thrilled to be a part of your life. I don't know what kind of woman you will know me as in the future, but today as a new mother, I'm incredibly blessed and happy. I love you more than I can express in words.

Happy birthday, my precious girl.

I love you,