Introducing Archer Lee Ballard Nathanson, born Sunday, February 26th at 12:29a.m. weighing 8 pounds and 6 ounces and measuring 22 inches in length.
By day 4, I feel I can already write a book about all our experiences! We’re at home and doing well. Ted and I are both thrilled with our son. I’m slowly recovering — folks keep reassuring me it gets better day by day. My cousin Katie said, “In two weeks you’ll be a new woman.” I sure hope so! I’m feeling pretty puny now. My mom and sister are taking turns nursing me back to health as I focus on rest and nursing Archer. I love nursing! Archer does too. 🙂
To tide you over until I actually have the energy to write, here’s a slideshow of photos:
Leo and Missy (Pops and Mimi) hosted a wonderful baby shower for us a couple of weeks ago. Missy had the best baby shower game ever: Guests pair up and create the shower couple’s baby. Looking through our potential babies (photos below), I’m not sure whether to be honored or concerned… (just kidding guys!). We’re excited to see what our son looks like and I’m sure he’ll be at least as handsome as any of the babies pictured here. I know I’ve said it before, but being surrounded by so much love and support among our family and friends gives me such a sense of security and peace as we enter this crazy new world.
A post script to my previous blog entry (37 weeks: Testing the baby waters): I ended up staying off work Monday and Tuesday this past week – I felt physically exhausted and emotionally fragile. In hindsight I think I got hit with a big ol’ reality check – between my 24 hours of contractions, babysitting Violet, and feeling my baby drop much lower in my pelvis on Monday, I hit this moment of “Oh wow. This is really going to happen. Yikes.” The whole thing felt quite daunting and I couldn’t bring myself to face the office or much else. But then I dragged myself out to dinner with a friend Tuesday night (thank you Beth Huss!) and I woke up Wednesday morning feeling rested and ready for the world. When I taught high school for a year in Colorado, my mentor shared a piece of advice that has stuck with me: Monitor and adjust, then repeat. Grace and I talked the other day about the Buddhist perspective on suffering: We become attached to our expectations of things. We expect things should be a certain way for as long as we say so – as if we have control over the world around us. Thus we suffer when things change and our expectations are not met. By continually bringing awareness to (monitoring) ourselves and our world and adjusting as necessary, we manage to go on in the most peaceful way we can – a constant process of acceptance and adaptation.
So I’m monitoring and adjusting. I think my body was telling me to slow down and start conserving some energy and peace of mind — because this whole baby thing is about to get very real! I’ve adjusted by taking it slower and calmer at work and at home. I’m taking my time as I do everything.
Yesterday I took off work again and had a fantastic day. Ted and I had breakfast with his grandparents, then went shopping for prom attire (attending a Valentines “puppet prom” tonight with friends — I found a great $10 maternity prom dress at the thrift store), then my parents stopped by for a visit, and then we had dinner with Ted’s parents. It was a lovely day with family and with each other, enjoyed at a relaxed pace. I’m savoring these quiet and simple moments Ted and I are getting to share before baby comes along.
Today’s task: Pack the “go bag” for the hospital and start washing all of Pancake’s adorable clothes, blankets and diapers. This morning I read this nice article called The Chemistry of Attachmentabout all the hormones and drugs that come along with a new baby to assist in the bonding process – human evolution is fascinating! The article is also posted on the Resources page of the blog.
Neither Ted nor I have much experience with babies. Erin brought over his 10-week-old daughter, Violet, yesterday and I was on baby duty for about 90 minutes while Erin and Ted worked on a project. She began crying after being in our house for 2 minutes and cried the whole time! I tried a diaper change, I tried feeding her, we did bouncing and swishing and swaddling and shhhing, I pulled out the boppy, the rattle, the wool blanket which I bought after some hippie website told me how comforting wool is to babies. All were no good. Carrying her up and down the stairs seemed to be the best trick, but as soon as I paused the crying began again. So we walked up and down the stairs continually for half an hour. The cats were totally disturbed and could not figure it out. They kept trying new positions on the bed to get comfortable again and couldn’t understand why their discomfort wouldn’t go away. Finally they left the room – except for Little Boots who followed us and remained curious about the noise making creature destroying her peaceful cat haven. As soon as Erin and Violet stepped out of our house to go home she got quiet again. It was exhausting and nerve wracking and I have to admit, a little demoralizing. I relished our quiet and still home once she had left. She had required every moment of my attention and I felt so tired and worn out. Ted and I sat looking at each other thinking, “What are we getting ourselves into?” — at that moment, parenthood really didn’t sound too great.
My body went into some kind of baby response as well and I began having contractions which went on for the rest of the evening (through an entire Super Bowl party) and have continued this morning. There’s been a couple of times over the past few weeks where I thought “hmm, maybe this is a contraction” but not having ever had one before, I just don’t know. I knew if they were contractions, they were Braxton-Hicks contractions and nothing to be worried about. After last night I felt sure that yes, these indeed are contractions (neat!). I already had an appointment scheduled with my midwife this morning, and she confirmed that all is well (just to verify — they are still just Braxton-Hicks or “practice” contractions – I’m NOT in labor). I still feel so tired and worn out today, either from the contractions or Violet or just being a pregnant lady, I’m not sure. I’m staying home from work today and savoring some quiet and restful time in bed with unperturbed cats.
This morning I got a comment on the blog from Juliet, an old friend from college who I haven’t spoken to since she graduated (over 10 years ago… wow). She was a few years older than me and was my R.A. when I was a freshman. I looked up to her a lot – she was so cheerful and positive and creative and nurturing. Anyway, after years of no contact Juliet wrote me this wonderful blog comment and she shared how much she is enjoying being a mom (she has two daughters) and how being a mom just gets better and better – it came at the right time! I was needing the reassurance to know that this will be a joyful experience… despite the crying.
PS: You may be admiring the beautiful red and green baby above! Ted’s parents, Leo and Missy (soon to be known as Popsie and Mimi to our son, they have decided), threw an awesome baby shower for us a couple of weeks ago. Missy has many wonderful pictures that I need to get from her so I can share with you. But she introduced the best baby shower game in the world: Everyone pairs up with someone to create a baby (out of play-doh)! Ted and I then judged — I can’t remember what we were judging, I guess which baby we liked the best or which baby we supposed to look the most like our own. It was a very hard decision, more photos to come one of these days.
And on the photo tip, I can’t help but show off Violet, who we adore… despite her crying!