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Friday, December 16, 2016

the newborn phase

A newborn… that smell of their head, undeniable bliss. The way they scrunch their bottom when you lift them up all sleepy. The wide open mouthed yawn with closed eyes, like sleeping was the most tiring thing they've done all day.

So many tiny moments that make up a very long and yet incredibly quick period in a baby's life, in a mother's experience. A complete blur, you can't recall every detail. And then a second later, you remember. You never forget bringing home that sweet baby for the first time. 

It's baby fat rolls, and teeny tiny toes that you could stare at all day.
Grunting noises in their sleep that sound like barn animals.
Onesies and belly buttons.
Soft skin, the softest you've ever felt and will never again.

Newborn moments…
Swings rocking. Mobiles singing.
Swaying your hips back and forth as you instinctually do because you're now a mother.
Holding their head into your chest and the crook of your arm to help them sleep.

Bouncy chairs and swaddle blankets.
Baby booties, snuggly hats, and ducky bath towels.

Swaddlers diapers, Pampers, and bottle parts in the sink, after a time or two of boiling on the stove.
0-3 and 3-6 months, timing feedings and then nursing on demand.
Packing diaper bags and restocking wipes containers.
Swirling bottles of milk, washing bottles and pump parts.
The swishing noise of the pump, that noise… dreadful and yet comforting sometimes, too.

Sweet, tiny, oh so tiny.
Precious, blessing, heavenly.
An innocence you've never quite known before.
Fingers curled around my own, hand on my chest and eyes looking up into mine.
Connecting. Bonding.

Shushing, whispering, noise machines.
Fear, worrying about if they are breathing, praying they will sleep longer, waking up a few times when they do just to make sure you see the rise and fall of their chest.
Bassinets, cribs, one piece fleece sleepers.

Weight checks that make you SO proud for all the work you're doing feeding them.
Answering the question, "How is he sleeping for you?" about a zillion times too many with the reply, "Oh you know…"
Living your life in two hour increments…. diaper change, feed, burp, sleep, repeat.

Counting the ounces of milk. Freezing milk in bags. Worrying you won't have enough when you go back to work.
Praying they sleep more.
Being grateful when they sleep more than three hours at once and not wanting to tell anyone they did or else you'll jinx it from happening again.
Praying, needing sleep. Just needing to sleep.
Sleep deprivation. Ugh, sleep deprivation.

The newborn phase...
Hormones. Dark eye circles.
Belly flab that you are sick of and proud of in the same moment. That belly held life. The life you now hold in your arms.
Yoga pants. Oh, sweet, black, stretchy pants. Lifesaver. Go-to. Staple. For months. And it's OK.

Hiccups that you hear now on the outside and once recently felt on the inside.
Imagining that stretch, kick, movement he makes now on the outside is what he did on the inside… holding your belly, realizing how amazing that is.
Burping, spit up, cloths, and bibs.
So much laundry. Tiny laundry that you don't even mind folding because it's so cute.
Growing so fast they outgrow most clothes in weeks.

Cuddling, snuggling, nap time, arm hurting but don't want to move it.
Don't disturb a sleeping baby. Rest when baby rests, they say. You try.
Sweet smells, that baby smell, oh it's divine.
Kicking legs, outstretched arms and lips moving even in his sleep.

Things I want to remember forever.
And yet it's a blurry time, you don't remember all of it, it passes too quickly and you're oh so tired.
But you hold on to the small moments because they mean everything.
Those times when your little bean smiles at you for the first time, more than when they are gurgling in their bellies, like a real, "I see you, Mom, thanks for all you do, I love you" smile.

It's taking pictures. So many pictures… of hands, toes, fingers, ears, eyelashes as they sleep soundly.
Trying to video tape every little moment that means the world now, that you don't want to forget, ever.
Boppy pillow, back aching, baby carrier, and lugging car seat.
Pulling over the car to put the pacifier back in her mouth because she is screeching without it.

Staying up late for one last feeding.
Waking up at 2 a.m. thinking maybe, just maybe it's 5 a.m. and baby "slept through the night."
Finding new meaning to the term "slept through the night" to mean anything beyond four or five hours.
Somehow surviving on little sleep, despite mixing up words and never being on time again.

Watching him change and grow, learn, respond, connect.
Soaking in the smiles. Oh, the sweet smiles, your reward for all you are doing as his Mama.
Feeling hopelessly in love, overwhelmed and overjoyed all in the same moment.

The newborn phase…
So lucky to have done this three times. And yet, wishing to relive it with these growing babies once more… realizing that as many moments as I've stored in my Mom Brain, they are not enough. Touching the pages of the baby books, scanning the pictures posted, and remembering… the onesie, the outfit and hat set, the outstretched arms at nap time, the way their eyes squinted with glee when you woke in the morning together.

It goes by too fast…
If you find yourself in the newborn phase soon, take a thousand pictures and video. Don't forget the video. Sit down more. Rest more. Soak her in more. Hold him longer. It goes by too fast and it never comes again...just like everything that is oh, so sweet.

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