Monday, November 23, 2009

Things to Remember

It's sinking in that Declan is one month old.

From here on out, we just tick off months, one by one, and before you know it, he won't be a baby. I can't count his age in days anymore. Soon, I won't count it in weeks, either. He'll be 6 months, a year, two and a half, sixteen. And when he's sixteen, snuggling his little eleven pound body will be a distant memory. Maybe I'm just feeling extra hormonal tonight, or maybe it's the sappy episodes of Grey's Anatomy that I've been watching today, but I want to record a few moments so that when my baby is not a baby, I'll remember how it felt.

The day that we found out he's a boy, I went to Wal*Mart. I had saved a little money just for that day, so that I could buy the cutest, tiniest, gender-specific clothes that I could find. I spent a good thirty minutes in the baby section, running my hands over all of the little blue onesies, tiny socks, itsy bitsy hats. I bought three onesies - a red one with sailboats and anchors, a navy and white striped one, and a light blue one with an oxford collar. I also bought a little white sleeper with blue and orange cars, that had the word "beep" embroidered on the bottom of each foot. When I was checking out, the girl asked if I wanted a gift receipt. I said no, that I was keeping them, and explained that we just found out that we're having a boy. She smiled and said, "I thought I saw a baby bump! Congratulations!" She went on to tell me about her daughter, and her own post-sonogram shopping spree. It was the first time that anyone had noticed my belly, and I was grinning from ear to ear. At that point in time, the baby was a big secret. A source of anxiety and something that I had to hide. Even with the doctors, because they knew my age and that I was unmarried, the pregnancy unplanned, I felt like I had to act ashamed. But with this stranger at the Grinnell Wal*Mart, I could get excited. I could smile, and talk about baby clothes, and rub my belly. She didn't know if I was unmarried, or a teenager, or scared. She saw in me a fellow mother, and that was all. From that point on, I wasn't ashamed, I didn't suck in my stomach in public places. And I have a random cashier to thank for that.

In the hospital, after Declan was born, they kept a pitcher of cold water beside my bed. To keep the condensation from running onto everything, they put a diaper on the pitcher. I know that's not profound or sentimental or anything, it's just something I want to remember. I thought it was funny.

Also, that first night with my baby, I ate two dinners. He was born at 4:38, and by the time I was all stitched up, the baby had nursed, and we were ready to move to the mother/baby room, it was almost 7 pm, which was when dinner hours end. The nurse said she'd order a meal anyway, and hope that they still had some. After about 15 minutes, she came back in and saw that they hadn't brought anything yet, so she ordered me a "special dinner" from the cafeteria, one that they can serve after hours. Lo and behold, about ten minutes later, both dinners arrived! Lucky me. I had been eating tiny meals for the last few months due to lack of room in my body, and now I was ready to fill 'er up. I finished every last bite of both dinners. Then I held Declan in my arms and watched TV. We both drifted in and out of sleep all night. The nurses, when they came in to check us, always asked if they should put him in the bassinet or if I wanted to hold him some more. I always held him.

These days, my one month old reaches up and pats me on the chest when he's nursing. He likes to look out the window while I'm changing his diaper and coo at the leaves on the trees. He smiles during bathtime if I make the rubber ducky sing to him. He takes nature very seriously - today we studies some red berries, yellow flowers, and some leaves. He just stares and stares, with the occasional grunt. I also used the booger sucker for the first time today. Man, that was a big booger for a little baby.

Sorry for the epic saga. I'll post his five week update tomorrow, but first I have to take some pictures!

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