Archive for August, 2008


god rest you, del martin. you lived an amazingly brave life. and peace be with you, phyllis lyon. i can only imagine the magnitude of your loss. and my heart aches for you.

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le sigh.

11:30 pm. i should be asleep. laptop battery is about to die and power cord is on another floor of the house–in the room with the precariously sleeping baby.

this is a hard week. jude is perfect, as is my h. anxiety is thick, despite. anxious about anxiety. hoping therapy will help tomorrow. needing a respite. somehow.

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sal cat loves him some jude, as well as sufjan stevens. enjoy!

hmm. embedding from flickr seems to be a bust. url goodness.

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two months.

dear jude,

you are napping quite lightly beside me, after a filling milk lunch. you’re stirring a lot, which makes me wonder how far i will actually get in writing this letter to you.

ah, the monthly letter. made popular by uber-blogger dooce, these letters are all the rage amongst mamas who blog about their beloved babies. i happen to think it’s a lovely idea: a time of reflection for all your constant monthly growings, and hopefully something of value for you when you become a grown jude, should you be curious about your beginnings.

so. my love. let me start with this: you are huge. i mean this in a good way. at 8 weeks old, you weighed 14 lbs 2 oz, which is apparently off the charts. your midwives giggled with wonder, and my jaw dropped. your perfect chubbiness is the best validation a breastfeeding mother could ever have.

jude, you are a very good baby. seriously. you’ve begun to sleep through the night, which is to say you sleep from about midnight to 5 am every night. our days are lazy, with both me and your other mama still at home. we watch a lot of bad tv as you nurse, hang out in your swing, or squeal at the animals on your playmat. you take a lot of short naps during the day (like now), and you wake up with a smile on your face most of the time. honestly, you are only cranky in the evenings and when you’re gassy. gripe water has been a godsend for your gassiness, and my god, you love the stuff.

on the day you turned 9 weeks old, you surprised us. in front of mama h, uncle g, and me, you effortlessly rolled over from your belly to your back. surely this was a fluke, we thought, so i put you back on your belly, and you immediately rolled over again. you did it again yesterday, and i can tell you are thinking hard about how to accomplish the more difficult back-to-belly roll. we are over the moon and a little nervous about this way ahead of schedule accomplishment. what else do you have up your sleeve, little chicken? you are already an over-achiever, and you make me proud. however, i hope you never feel pressure from us to go at anything more than your own pace. you are so obviously your own woman already, and our goal as parents is to endlessly support your self-discovery and confidence. that, and to gush at everything you ever accomplish. like humongous blowout poo. jude, you are amazing with those.

both your moms are so very much in love with you. every night lately, mama h reads a chapter from the narnia book as i nurse you off to sleep. and then, as your eyes flutter and we get ready to put you in your bassinet for the night, we simply stop and stare. and stare some more. for you are a wonder, and you own our hearts. we both get weepy, and sappy, and we’d kiss you all over right then, but you’d grunt and wake up angry. so we leave you be and kiss you endlessly when you’re awake.

speaking of which, you are waking up now. so i leave you with this: in those moments of quiet concentration and slow smiles, when you stare into my eyes with recognition, i tell you you are my life. i tell you that i love you more than i knew i could love. and it is my hope that i am passing lovenotes under the door of your subconscious; that some part of you will remember how fiercely and wholly you are loved.

mama or mommy or ma or whatever you end up calling me.

9 weeks old.
hot lips.  all around.
blurry, happy, tummy time baby.
one-handed computering.

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first video

yesterday, i dug out my old digital camera that records video, and put it in front of jude’s face. i haven’t the time or patience to edit these days, so here is all two minutes of jude being shy and cute. also features lucy the dog. and my annoying voice.


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on the day jude turned 9 weeks old, she ROLLED OVER, with purpose and gusto. twice.

holy shit.

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first, thank you to everyone who left such kind comments on my last post. it makes all the difference. really. today is a better day all around, and i’m sitting here in my backyard sipping a glass of wine in celebration of small victories.

so, today was jude’s and my 6 week appointment with our midwife, appropriately occurring 8 weeks after jude’s birth. i confess that the delay is mostly due to my own procrastination. i simply wasn’t ready at 6 weeks postpartum to have a speculum all up in my suzy. two weeks later, it was more tolerable.

the good news for me is that my wounds are healing “beautifully”. there’s nothing quite like two women staring at your lady parts with huge grins on their faces, as you hold your legs apart on a bed.

the good news for jude is that holy shit she’s thriving. the moment we walked in the door, midwife michele began to laugh. jude is a chunk, there’s no mistaking it. but we weren’t quite sure just how chunky she is. and so michele laid her on the scale. and…wait for it…our little judelet weighs in at 14 lbs 2 oz!! for serious. she has gained 6 lbs in 8 weeks. michele swears that i feed jude milkshakes. more like recycled hot pockets and hamburgers.

it was so good to see michele and midwife kristen. they are a part of our fambly now, and we love them. jude knew their voices immediately, and was happy to be snuggled in their arms. we promised to stop by for lunch in the near future, and left michele’s house with lots of kisses and hugs.

it was a good day.

and now for photo goodness, complete with our gigantic baby:

kristen, jude, and michele:
i heart my midwives.

us with michele:
with midwife michele.

us with kristen:
with midwife kristen.

little j checking out all the cool things on m’s walls:
so much to look at.

m doing her midwifey thang:
michele listens to jude's perfect heartbeat.

oh, and baby (a bit red, but not too bad) bum:
nekkid baby with a red bum.

pee ess, a note on nappies: at home, we keep jude diapered in bum genius or prefolds with wool soakers. on the go, we put her in disposables. we heart 7th generation, but ironically, it’s the p.ampers swaddlers that help with diaper rashes. go figure. so yeah, that’s all.

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i am having an emotionally achy evening. i can’t quite name it, but it’s the overarching ache that touches everything. a sleeping jude on my chest makes me weep. my beautiful lover kissing my head elicits a melancholy sigh from my lips. the happy is sad. the sad is overwhelming.

it’s the time of year; i know this is part of it. a year ago, my aunt mh passed away, which i wrote about here. and we’re approaching the anniversary of my dad’s passing as well. it’s a season of tristesse, a dear english professor friend once told me. yes. that’s it. some of it.

i am trying to sit with the sadness, whatever its name may be. meanwhile, i am navigating my way through, and doing my best to not let it turn into a depressive episode that keeps me in bed. because there is an 8 week old baby who needs me to be present, and i long for nothing more than to continue to be so.

non sequitur: i finally summoned the bravery to look at my labor and delivery photos, all taken by uncle g. most of them are of the awkwardly nekkid sort, but here is one that sums my labor up perfectly:


notice that i am the only one staying still. i have no recollection of this photo being taken. i was somewhere else, and probably about 7 cm dilated. i’m guessing this is moments before all my clothes came off.

and here is a photo just after little j’s birth. my midwife is actually still enough to be recognizable. (she is the blur in the previous shot.)

my dear midwife tends to us.

i haven’t seen my midwife since a couple days after jude’s birth. i miss her, after such an intense relationship we spent 9 months building. happily, we will see her tomorrow. sadly, our reunion involves me getting a pap. oy.

[edit: i ended this post on a happy note with a story that i’m afraid isn’t mine to share just yet. i decided not to tell it out of turn…]

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four whole feet.

so there is a new phenomenon occurring in our household: ms judelet is sleeping most of the night in her bassinet.

we love the idea of the family bed. and the past 7 weeks have been absolutely divine with all the snuggling and easy access nursing during which i can sleep. but as jude has developed her own overnight sleep schedule, sleeping in the same bed altogether has become a bit rough for the grownups trying to actually sleep well. we’ve found that jude sleeps better and longer when given a little distance from me. in our bed, she wakes up every two hours, and not necessarily hungry. she wakes up bored and would like for the big humans to entertain her please. in her bassinet, she will wake up every three to four hours, eat, and go back to sleep.

starting at about 4 weeks old, we tried to lay her down in her bassinet for naps, or for moments when i just needed h to hold me. (we have always been the spooning sort of couple, and between my third trimester and giving birth, hadn’t had an opportunity to do it in months. i began to ache for it after awhile.) jude would have none of this bassinet business. and then suddenly she liked it, at about the same time that she decided she loved both her bouncy seat and swing.

we began to implement the new sleeping plan earlier this week. we begin the bedtime routine in the big bed, altogether. i nurse jude and she falls asleep between us, as h reads a chapter (or 2 or 3) from the chronicles of narnia big book with illustrations we love so much. h relocates the baby to her bassinet one she’s totally sacked out, and we fall into a deep slumber as we spoon. jude wakes up a few hours later, and h takes the night feeding with the copious amount of milk i have pumped.

…well, that’s the idea, anyway. the first night was miserable for me. with every sleep sound jude made (and she’s a noisy baby), i found myself wide awake. my body was on the high alert of baby separation, even though the bassinet is four feet away from the bed. when she finally woke up for her feeding, i was a mess. h had been sleeping soundly beside me, and when she woke up, i started to cry. “i’m so jealous of you!” i moaned. “i’m so jealous that you can sleep!” h felt like shit for being able to rest peacefully while i was such a wreck, but there was nothing she could do to make it better. i was overtired and overwrought. and somehow, we made it through the night.

since that night of separation anxiety, i am sleeping more deeply. when i feel a moment of panic, i remind myself that the baby is four feet away. and when jude wakes up in the blue morning hour of 5 am, i nurse her in bed, and we all drift off to sleep for a few more hours…until she wakes up again, bored and punching me in the boob.

[note: i’m not sure how permanent our night sleeping situation is; i’m learning to roll with whatever makes sense, day by day. and i am still an absolute advocate for cosleeping, however long it makes sense for each individual family.]

it’s 8 am and i’m going to try to get some more sleep, spooned against my lub. meanwhile, here’s a photo of three generations of my family:

so much lub  for one little girl.
(dig the wool soakers h knitted for little j!)

and here are jude’s perfect pouty lips:
perfect pouty lips.

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big days.

well hello there. it’s been quite a while since i’ve sat still long enough to write a post. sorry about that. right now the little 7 week old is sound asleep so i thought i’d steal a moment.

so my mom came to visit last week and stayed for 5 whole days. in that time, she watched with us as jude grew and changed at a record pace. her sly smiles have broken into big gummy grins (as evidenced in the last post) which she gives more readily. her neck has become a stronger, more functional part of her body, and she spends a lot of time sitting up and taking in the world around her. it’s a wonder to behold her discovering her surroundings. needless to say, my mother fell in love.

while my mom was here, we were able to arrange jude’s christening. all three grandmothers gathered together, as well as pop pop. my sister e and the coach (from here on out to be known as uncle g) became jude’s godparents. the christening happened on august 2, my late father’s birthday. i can’t help but hope he was present and smiling.

our dear friend kate performed the ceremony, one of celebration of jude’s original blessing (as opposed to original sin). we all vowed to love and protect our jude for the rest of our lives. and this blessed event took place in our home, with our dining room table serving as altar. i teared up a little as i considered just how hallowed our house as already become, with jude’s birth and christening happening here. what a gift.

funny thing: that day was a cluster feeding kind of day for little jude. just before the ceremony began, she became quite fussy, and so i gave her a boob snack. naturally, she was not done when it was time for h and i to stand in front of the altar. and so i stood before my fambly with my boob hanging out and jude latched firmly. when she finally finished, i didn’t have time to properly rearrange, and so all of the photos feature a large part of my bra hanging out. classy.

exhibit a:
artsy shot taken by aunt eileen.

there are so many other stories to tell, and hopefully i will find the time to tell them properly here. for now, here are some photos from my mom’s visit and little j’s christening:

pop pop, gabby, grandma, nana, and auntie t:

the altar:

my mother’s hand holding jude’s feet on the day they met:
precious little feets.

a comparison: my mom and me in 1978, my mom and jude in 2008:
1978.  2008.

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