Monday, April 30, 2007

River News: Month One

Dear River,

Your mommy is a pretty creative lady, but she knows how to poach a good idea when she sees it. That's why I'm following in the footsteps of one of my favorite bloggers and starting a monthly newsletter dedicated to you.

Your entrance to this world proved you are your parents' child; at a week and a day past your estimated due date you arrived in true Doyle style: fashionably late. You also had the good sense to not be born on April Fools Day, sparing yourself from countless stupid jokes too obvious to mention (sadly, with a name like River we have not entirely saved you from that fate).

Because your parents are hippy weirdos you were born at home into a big pool of water, and because your mommy is insane in addition to being a hippy weirdo, you were born without the use of drugs or interventions of any kind. I really wanted to have a natural birth and knew that that probably wouldn't happen in a hospital--oh, how true this was. After 72 hours of labor, 24 of which were REALLY painful, there is no way I would have said no to drugs if they were offered to me. Thank goodness it wasn't even an option. See there's a difference between knowing that something is going to hurt and actually experiencing that INSANE AMOUNT OF PAIN.

By the way, did I mention that labor really freakin' hurts?

Well, it was all worth it. You were born into my hands, perfect and alert and surrounded by loved ones. There were no bright lights shining in your eyes, no rough hands on your body, and no loud noises assaulting your ears. Just peace and joy and love.

Your first few days were spent sleeping, eating, and pooping. And let me tell you, you are an excellent pooper. Your first one happened a few minutes after you were born, as your daddy held you (sans diaper)--a nice little welcome-to-the-world present for him. Since then, you have managed to fill a fresh diaper seconds after we put it on about fifty percent of the time: a very cute little trick that keeps us on our toes.

But by far your favorite thing to do in this world is to eat. I think you would happily spend 24 hours a day attached to a boob if I would let you. Many times you have nursed yourself to sleep and gently cradled your head against me, just happy to be near the boob. Since you need to eat every 1-3 hours I spend most of my days with my computer, drinks, food, TV and stereo remotes, spit rags, and diapers within a one foot radius of my free hand. In fact, I have been nursing you as I've typed this (left-handed) for the past hour and a half.

You began opening your eyes a few days after you were born and really started to see the world two weeks after. When you aren't crying or eating you love to look at the bright windows around our house. You still only see high contrast things well, but other objects--like faces--are becoming clearer. Every now and then you will look into my eyes and turn my heart into a big mushy puddle. You could ask me for anything in those moments--a million dollars, a bald eagle, a date with Jennifer Aniston--and I would march outside and not return before robbing a bank, ransacking a nest, and committing felony kidnapping. You have complete control over me, little man; I hope you use the power kindly.

Your father is also completely in love with you and has stepped into the daddy role with boundless energy and grace. He knows how to sooth you when my boobs have run dry, he has cooked countless meals with you riding in a sling, and he has turned "baby talk" into an art form. He'll spend hours bouncing you, helping you work your leg muscles as you practice standing, or soothing you to sleep by sucking his finger late into the night. I fall in love with him more intensely every time I see him with you.

I have to admit that adjusting to motherhood has not been entirely smooth for me. When I put my career on hold to be a mother I thought that void in my life would be neatly filled by you. And after you were born, when I realized that I still missed being creative, that motherhood is sometimes boring, and that I am so far away from getting back to work, I became very sad. I felt guilty for not being entirely fulfilled by you, for needing more. I am coming to grips with those feelings, and when I have a little more free time I will do what I can from home, like get back to writing the screenplay that has been gathering dust on my shelf.

I am very tired. And because I am your source of food, I have to stay very close to you 24 hours a day. The needs of a newborn are exhausting and have drained me more than I imagined. I feel guilty for my failings, which seem to be infinite in number.

Sometimes I am not as patient as I should be. Sometimes my voice is too rough. Sometimes I dread hearing you stir in the middle of the night. Sometimes I resent your screams though I know you don't cry to manipulate me. Sometimes I fear that for the next eighteen years I will have to choose between brushing my teeth, eating breakfast, or putting on clean underwear. Sometimes the realization that I am a mother now and forever is not a blissful one.

I feel these things, and then someone gives me a break to take a shower, or I see your sweet face sleeping, or I step back and accept that I cannot ever be perfect but I can be good enough, and being a mother is a joy again. I have hired a sweet college student named Christine to come over two hours a day so that I might do a load of laundry or sneak a quick nap. Crystal has also spent many hours these past weeks helping your father and I. Because of them you have a mommy who is not completely batshit crazy.

I hope when you can speak you will be polite and thank them.

I could go on and on about every little change I've seen in you (and myself) this past month but I've already spent more time than I ever thought I'd have writing this, so I'll close.

I want you to know that motherhood is different than I expected--it's harder and more wonderful--but I would never go back. I am not religious in the typical sense--there is no church I follow--but I can understand what people mean by "God" when I look at you.

I love you,

Saturday, April 28, 2007

care bears are hard core

Sorry for the lack of posts--have my hands full. Hope this cuteness tides you over:

Friday, April 20, 2007

a very good day

Crystal and Kevin came back from a week in Vegas on Wednesday and it's been wonderful to have an extra set of hands around. Crystal has had a break from work this week so she's been spending a ton of time with me and River. Yesterday I left the house for the first time in a week and a half to go get River's birth recorded. Since we didn't have him in the hospital I have to do all of that stuff myself.

I was tempted for about a second to not let the government know about him--to keep him "off the grid" as Thom would say--but I decided he can't really experience the full range of human emotions without dealing with things like taxes and government bureaucracy. Who am I to deny him that?

Getting out for a few minutes inspired me, so we all decided to go for a walk. I wanted to protect River's little head and eyes, so we tried the only hat we have with a brim. He wasn't too psyched about it:

The stroller cover would have to do. I look at this picture and find it very strange that I'm pushing a baby in a carriage. I mean I know I have a baby, but I HAVE A BABY, you know?

River's surrogate aunt Kristine and uncle Ben got this shirt for him, so I wanted to show how cute our little peanut looks in it. He's growing so fast, he may not have many more chances to wear it.

Finally, our Pooperton has a budding career as a psychic. "I see a dirty diaper in my future..."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

the landlord

This is the kind of stuff you can find when you have a baby attached to the boob for hours each day (a laptop and free hand for surfing are invaluable):

The Landlord

Saturday, April 14, 2007

rights of passage

On the night of River's birth, after Thom and I had spent some quiet time alone with him, we invited everyone into our room for a little Birth Day celebration. We handed out champagne and small mementos of our appreciation to our guests. As we all clinked glasses together, my midwife began singing this beautiful little lullaby:

The River he is flowing,
Flowing and growing,
The River he is flowing,
Down to the sea.

Mother! carry me, your child I will always be.
Mother! carry me down to the sea.

I was blown away that there was a song that so perfectly fit the moment and magically reflected our reality. I've kept that tune very close to me over the past two weeks--hearing it in my head as I fall asleep, singing it to our son in moments of stress or peace. He seems to respond to it, knowing it's his special song.

Then, there are moments like this morning when our little lullaby takes on a completely different meaning. Full belly and full pants from his morning nursing I laid River down for a diaper change, and just as I was ready to lift him into a fresh diaper he took the opportunity to really clean out his system--from both ends. As Thom attacked the spit up and I washed poop from my hands, we laughed and laughed knowing the River was, indeed, flowing.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Welcome, River!


River Dylan Doyle:
March 31, 2007
8 lbs 2 oz
20.5 inches
100% perfect