He's here! Our little guy arrived in quite a hurry on a rainy morning last week. I labored through the night, and in the morning made my way to the birth center in what turned out to be the nick of time. Within an hour and a half of walking through the doors, a tiny screaming baby was deposited on my chest. I'm looking forward to sharing his birth story, but for now I'll just sum things up by saying that it was really intense, really fast, and very different from what I expected.
Charlie himself is also a little different than I expected. By the end of my pregnancy I had myself almost completely convinced Babeleo was a girl, so when the midwife shouted "It's a boy!" I was pretty surprised. Not dissapointed, mind you, just surprised. I've had the pleasure of being Auntie to many little boys, and I know what a joy they are. LIttle girls are wonderful too, but I'm completely in love with Charlie.
I'm also pleasantly surprised by what a sweet, mellow baby he is. So far, he is a good sleeper, a GREAT eater, and incredibly patient. What a lucky Mama I am.
He cries when he's too cold, or too hungry, or too uncomfortable, but otherwise his self expressions are full of softness and humor. I know that most people think of newborns as eating, pooping blobs, but I find that Charlie has personality in spades. His eyes speak for him, showing me things like skepticism, surprise, determination and frustration. His little limbs are technically uncoordinated, but somehow he still seems to flail and arrange them in ways that make me swoon – the way he tucks his little arms under his head while I burp him, or how he retracts his tiny legs at just the right moments to foil our schemes of getting him dressed. He's no blob. He's a sweet, funny soul that really loves breastmilk.
Weighing in at just under 5 and a half pounds, he is tiny but mighty – dubbed by one of the birth center nurses as a "mighty might". So why is Charlie so small? It turns out that my blood pressure problems had been going on without our knowledge for some time. As a result, my placenta and Charlie's cord were both super small, limiting his ability to bulk up within the womb. He's long and lean, but also fully developed, healthy and hungry. This kid was born to eat, and has already gone through multiple cluster feeding sessions in his first week. It seems like he is determined to make up for lost calories and pack on the chub just as soon as he can manage it. He's doing a great job too. In the past four days he gained four ounces! I'm very proud to see him thrive so quickly.
While I do spend most of the time that involves looking into his sweet face in utter bliss, the first week of Charlie's outside-life has not been without its challenges. Between battling bouts of insomnia, coddling my poor traumatized lady parts, and undergoing a reverse transformation, (dialing back 10 months of change in just 2 weeks is some kind of crazy. Good one, nature.) there have been a few times that I thought I might just lose it. But then I catch an hour or two of sleep, find the will to shove a muffin into my mouth, and discover the strength to keep going.
Like Charlie's birth, (the most intensely painful event of my life) I would do it all again, over and over if I had to, for the sake of being his Mama. When I think of it that way, the sleepless nights and aching muscles become a lot more bearable. The trick is to remember the sentiment while sobbing and covered in milk.