Thursday, July 7, 2011

8 weeks in Zoraland


We rarely call you Peach these days. Just once in a while. And it actually is still a fitting name, as your head is covered with a fine fuzzy hair that is almost peach-colored. We usually call you Zora. Papa often calls you Zorazora. I like to call you Little Z once in a while.

I thought I'd write to you a little bit about impressions of your first weeks at home with us. Several friends have said "keep writing!"....mothers who know how quickly the time goes with their quickly the details fade into the memory. Jacqui sent me some little notebooks----"write it down, write it down..." Baba-Keya also gave us some notebooks and journals. Yes, write it down before it fades away. In fact, much of these first 8 weeks already feels like a blur. Attribute it to being very tired. Or to the extreme similarity of day after day. Or to the necessity of amnesia of Newborn-Land so that the species survives. Yes, much of these first 8 weeks has been very hard!

You will know your birth story, so we can leave that be. I wrote about that last time. And we've been talking about it, you, me, Papa, over and over again, knitting it safely into the fabric of our family. It was a long long labor that resulted in your strong name, Zora.....

Zora was one of my favorite names. Papa and I had it narrowed down to about 5 names. Papa was not so sure about Zora for your name, but it had stayed on our list because I liked it a lot. So when you were born, we didn't name you right away. You were still our Little Peach for a couple of days. Then Papa said to me, "Zora. I like Zora. It's the strongest name on our list, and this little girl is strong. She handled that labor with the grit and grace of her Mama. I think I'm ready to name her Zora." And so, Laborland behind us, you were named Zora.

And then, after 5 days in the hospital, we all came home. It was a rainy day. I was still very very tired. And my belly was still very large due to air and fluids stuck inside me from the surgery. And I had a lot of pain. Papa drove very slowly on our way home. Our first car ride with you. Wow, parents we were. Would we forever drive this slow now that we have this precious being to care for?

When we got home, Lisa and Sarah greeted us, our labor team! They were at our house ready to welcome you yet again. Papa dashed about the house getting some things put away and getting us settled while Lisa and Sarah took some joy in holding you. Teacup was there too. I didn't get to greet Teacup the way I might have liked to had I been more well. Suddenly, for Teacup, our home had shifted 360 degrees. I wondered what it would be like for her.

I went up the stairs, very slowly. And I stayed there for about the next 10 days. Papa was our savior. He took care of you, me and Teacup with a lot of love and perseverence.

Week 1: Tired. Tired. Learning to nurse. We love you. We love you. We are head over heels. We are so tired and upside-down, and we are so pleased with every little move you make, every little sound, every little peep. Are you getting enough to eat? We did some crying, both you and me. Is she getting enough to eat? This is hard! Using the "Supplemental Nursing System" (SNS) to make sure you were getting enough to eat. What a difficult extra challenge to have to use this long will this go on???....a container of milk with a long tiny tube that attaches to Mama's nipple so that you get enough to eat as you learn to nurse. Papa even used the SNS on his finger sometimes just to get you to get used to sucking and getting food. Tired. Tired. Feeding about every 2 hours. Wondering how to help you. How to help sleep! Diapers. Papa and I trying to figure out these cloth diapers. They are huge on you. Diapers, oh, everything feels so overwhelming. So much work. Jeez, are we just going to use disposable after all that research on diapers???? Tired. Tired. My belly is still so huge and there is still a lot of pain. Not allowed to drive (where would I go?) because of all of the pain medication. Wow, I am depleted. Wrecked. And don't get me wrong, Peach. We love you so much. It's just that this body seems to be barely working. Pregnancy was blissful, mysterious, an adventure. Laborland was strange, challenging, even fun. But this post-partum thing,  it feels like wreckage. I wouldn't turn back, and yet how to heal feels beyond me. I am sure we will heal together, somehow! And I love you so much. So much.......and then I get a skin infection on my abdomen because of the "splash and crash" nature of the surgery---not prepping the patient sometimes leads to a skin infection afterward. More discomfort and difficulty in moving around. I hold you and tell you how immensely grateful we are that you are now in our arms.

Here you are,  Zora in our first few days home, rocking with Papa. 

Papa is feeding you,  Zora,  by SNS.....see the tiny tube running from the container pinned to Papa's shirt and then taped on to his finger  so that you can suck and get milk. 

Blurring into Week 2.....
We love you we love you. We are tired. My mother, Nana Debbie Lockman, is coming this week to help me. Wow, I had no idea I'd need her so much. "Mama, I need you. I am so tired and I'm afraid that I cry too much and I'm going to ruin Zora with all my crying." Papa is taking care of us, bringing food upstairs to me in my upstairs-post-surgery-confinement, washing the parts of the breast pump that we are using over and over and over and over and over, taking Teacup out, Teacup who can't really walk anymore. Papa has a lot to do! He loves you. He keeps saying, "She's adorable---let's keep her!" Yes, we're keeping you for sure. We want to help you to be able to cry less. That would be good for all of us! If we could get you used to the swing, or the bouncy chair....then, hmmm....maybe Mama's body wouldn't be so exhausted and we could all recover. Papa is so sweet about helping me stay determined to recover my body. He says we'll set "weekly milestones". This week we all go to the weight room and do a light workout. I work out with you on my chest in the Infantino Carrier. This feels good. And yet I have a long long long way to go to re-inhabit this body of mine. And we still cry, both you and I. This is hard. Are you a fussy baby? I cannot tell because I'm so tired and have so many hormones and have a lot of pain. I cannot tell which way is up. I just know you are my love, Zora, and we'll figure this all out. Wow, this is hard. 

Zora,  here you are about 2 weeks old. 

Happy you are, Zora, about 2 weeks old on the changing table-----turning out to be a favorite place to smile, laugh and be cute. 

And when did we ever get to Week 3?.....
Mama Nana Debbie is here. She rocks you and sings to you and I am struck by her love and wisdom. She just loves you so much and she makes it look easy to just keep rocking you no matter how much you cry. I look at her holding you. 38 years ago she was holding a baby in much the same way. That was me. Holy holy. This is holy. My Mama is here, taking care of me, again, after all these years. And you, Little Z, get to feel her love too. Nana always takes over in the morning because you and Papa and I don't sleep much at night. You go to Nana in the morning and I try to sleep for a couple hours before it's time to feed you again. And I feed you. And I pump more milk. Trying to get our milk supply really up and running, really flourishing. That's what the lactation nurses are telling me to do. Pump after every feed. Wow, this is pretty exhausting. And I'm worried that you are not getting enough to eat. Maybe I am not able to make enough milk for you. This makes me feel so sad. And I still have a good bit of pain. And tired. We are so tired, your Papa and I. Papa is a bit worried about me. I am really tired and I am still crying a lot and sometimes I don't know why. Thank goodness for grandmas and grandpas. Grandpa Lockman is here this week too, but for a shorter visit than Nana. This week we "graduate" to letting you use a "soothie"---a pacifier. We were told not to use if for the first month or so because it can "confuse" a breastfeeding baby and then you won't want Mama's nipples. It's called "nipple confusion". Well, you are not confused. You like breastfeeding and you like the soothie. And boy oh boy do WE like the soothie!!! Not sure if YOU graduated or WE did. Hope! This week I am walking about an hour a day with you in the Infantino. I walk very very very very slowly. You sleep. This is the sweetest thing ever. You, Zora, are the sweetest thing ever. Ever.

Zora, here you are about 3 weeks old. Little prayer. 

Mama and Zora--2 or 3 weeks--- in the Moby Wrap out and about at "Capture the Flag" hosted by Lisa.

 Zora, here you are smiling at Papa on the changing table. Zora, you are about 3 weeks old and just gracing us with your first precious smiles. 

Zora, here you are about 3 weeks old. Wow, those eyes!

When did we make it to Week 4?
Wow, a month old. A month in Zoraland. I could almost imagine getting the hang of this Zoraland thing. You are getting to be a very good eater. We got reassurance from the lactation department that we are on track. You are gaining weight well and we don't have to use the SNS and we don't have to pump ALL the time now---just once a day to keep stocking up on milk to freeze for later. We are still tired but maybe just maybe there is a light at the end of this Newborn Tunnel. You are sleeping a bit better. You seem to like the swing and nap better and better in it all the time. Thank goodness. And now that we are in the clear for "nipple confusion", Papa is giving you a bottle of pumped breastmilk in the middle of the night to help share the work of feeding you around the clock......And maybe we've got the hang of doing these cloth diapers finally. Ok, out with the disposables!......And are you a fussy baby? No, I don't think so. I think the fussiness in the first few weeks was as much related to my own exhaustion and depletion. I am recovering, and you are settling into your self. You are Zora, a very beautiful and happy baby.....And Papa is at work this week. We had his gentle presence for the first 3 weeks of your life. And now he's at work. We miss him. He comes home and sings to you......And one more thing about this week. You rolled over! It was a mistake, but you rolled over, just one day shy of 4 weeks. You were doing some tummy time and you lifted your head up, and the weight of that big baby head pulled you right over on to your back! What a look of surprise! Oh, and one more thing. Our "weekly milestone" this week was an almost-2-hour hike on Mesa Trail. Feels good to move more and Papa carried you the whole time, pointing out trees and birds and rocks. 

Zora, here you are with Papa on our "4 week milestone" hike on Mesa Trail. 

Proof that you really do cry, Zora. Here you are with Nana Lockman while she "bounces" you on the exercise ball. 

Week 5....
Baba-Keya is here this week, your other grandma. She is lovely. She adores you. And still, I need so much help. Baba, like Nana Lockman, takes over in the mornings so I can sleep. Yes, thank goodness for grandmas. Thank goodness for Babas. She rocks you and rocks you. She doesn't even put you in the swing sometimes even when you are asleep, because it's just too yummy to just hold you hold you hold you. And Auntie Kat is here too, and "Uncle" Anto. And Kat is enthralled with you----who wouldn't be? Kat visits as much as she can while still getting out to play in Boulder and Denver. Baba-Keya cooks a lot of food for us. I remind her that she is feeding you, Zora. If Mama is eating well, Zora is eating well. We are so blessed to have so much help. SO much help! Our beloved friend Chelsea organized a food calendar for us. We had delicious healthy food delivered from countless friends every other night for a full 6 weeks. Wow. I think we might have all starved....but we didn't! And so much other help and support. Girlfriends are coming over to take you for walks. We put you in the Infantino and away you go with them! I rest while you are out. And you get to be with other sweet friends.....and their faces and voices and smells. And Chelsea and Lynne both speak Spanish to you while you are out with them. What a gift! And now Ailish, Lisa's 13 year old daughter is also coming over a couple times a week to be my "mother's helper". She is so sweet with you. A real babysitting pro! You are beginning to love this big sister of yours..... Oh, and one more thing about this week. We took you bouldering this week. We went up Mt. Flagstaff. Papa bouldered, and you and I  and Baba rested in the fresh air......And then, was it this week?----your smiles just burst on to your face, Zora!! You have certainly been smiling a good bit for a couple weeks now, but now----now, your smiles are what we live for!!! And you giggle. The other night, I laid you in your bassinet and collapsed on the bed. And from your bassinet, I heard  a loud and distinct giggle. You made my day. Sleep giggles. How sweet. No, you didn't make my day. You made my life.......And what else did we do week 5? You went to your first concert. Ray Lamontagne at Red Rocks with Mark's summer coworkers. You were a delight. It's fun figuring out how to get out with you. 

Here you are, Zora, with your favorite big sister Ailish. 

Here you are, Zora at almost 5 weeks, sleeping under a pine on Flagstaff while Papa boulders and Mama and Baba-Keya enjoy being outside. 

Here Papa is showing you the rock he is bouldering on. 

And here you are at the Red Rocks concert. I wonder if you'll eventually like Ray LaMontagne someday.....
Zora, here you are with Baba-Keya.

And here you are with Auntie Kat.

And here we are together, Little Z!

Week 6....
Father's Day....rock-climbing in Boulder Canyon. It is so sweet to see you sleeping in your "baby in a bag" that Joan gave to us. What a beauty you are. And we are convinced that you love the outdoors because you just sleep so peacefully. You are smiling all the time. This is fun! You are fun! At home, we are settling into a clear routine. While you are in charge of the day, I feel that I can predict basically what we'll do together. You eat. That takes about 25 minutes. Then you hang out with me and smile and babble for about an hour. Then your eyes get glassy and your smiles turn into other funny (less happy) faces. And then I put you in a swaddle and bounce with you on the exercise ball for about 10 minutes and you fall asleep. And you sleep for about an hour. When Nana Lockman was here a few weeks ago, she and I coined this entire sequence---feed, hang out, sleep----- an "inning" ----even though I'm not much of a baseball fan. We have about 8 innings a day. A "good" inning involves a lot of smile time followed by a good nap. Usually in the last inning of the day I go for an hour walk and that's where you do your sleeping. I am so very grateful for a routine. And it's lovely. These are Astral Weeks, Peach. 

Zora, you like to look up. Papa loves this about you. I think he's whispering something about "5:13...."

6 weeks.....

6 weeks.....

6 weeks.....

Oh, and here we are again on Father's Day.....sleeping in the Phil and Ted's "baby bag"....

Week 7....
This week.....we went rock-climbing in Clear Creek Canyon with Mark and Claire. Again, sleeping peacefully to the sound of a roaring creek. And these days, our home routine continues to be a slow and gentle way to spend our days. We get out now, too. We sometimes go to appointments or visit other Mamas with babies. And we go to Lisa's house too. Lisa is in love with you like you are her own. She made a pact with Sarah to "spoil" you. Lisa helped bring you in to this world and she's sticking with you.  We will all remember this summer for the Zoratime we all spent at Lisa's.

And here you are, Zora, with dear Lisa, hanging out in her backyard hammock. 

Bright eyes of 7 weeks. 

You smile so much now. What joy you are!

And you have some very serious faces too. 

But mostly smiles....
Week 8....
I can hardly believe we've been hanging out for almost 2 months. Yesterday you had your first shots. It was so hard to see you cry so hard. And then you were not very happy for the rest of the day. And you didn't sleep well last night. And neither did Papa and I. You are a delight. You are beautiful. Alert. Talkative--more and more every day! Engaged--your eye contact is intense and sustained. Curious---you love to look and look and look. Loved. Loved. Loved. Sometimes I look at you in your bliss of being the center of the you sleep so peacefully, how you just melt into contentment as you finish feeding. I look into your face and somehow in that intersubjective circle, I long for that bliss too. And somehow, in giving it to you, I give it to myself. I get to have it too, this bliss, this contentment, this love. Repair. Of our labors and our losses and our loves. And so we heal. A baby, the hope and healing of the world.

Who doesn't love little toes? Ten fingers and ten toes. And like Auntie Katie and Uncle David hoped for  you.....wings. I see your wings, Peach. I see them, Angel Zora Peach. Ten fingers, ten toes, and wings. 

Sleeping at Clear Creek. Wow. Cheeks. 

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