the first year.

the first year of motherhood has been unlike anything i thought it would be. it's better, and harder, and more fun, and more sad. sometimes it's busy, and sometimes it's boring. and there have been days where we are all laughing, and days where at least one of us is crying (probably me since theo actually doesn't cry that often!)

it felt like it would take an eternity to arrive, but has simultaneously flown by in a single blink, and also it feels like theo's always been with us, that it's not possible it's only been ONE year. regardless, the first year; we survived!

in practicing gratitude, during a week where i feel super down and frustrated, i am reflecting on the amazing moments of the first weeks of theo's life outside my body. probably more gratitude posts to come in reflecting on the first year, but his birth day seems an appropriate place to start.

i suppose i don't remember labour now, in hindsight, with the same frustration i felt at the time. i had a long labour, started having regular contractions on the tuesday before he was born, he came on friday. so for 3 nights, i had trouble sleeping, for 3 days was in and out of clothes, baths, showers, drinking all the water, eating all the snacks.

i remember mike handing me so many refills of my water bottle, pouring water on my stomach while in the bath to keep me warm since it didn't fit under the water, cutting up fruit and rubbing my back. that part of labour was better than i'd imagined. to have my partner me 100% in it with me, doing whatever he could to help. 

 finally, on thursday we went to the hospital. i remember the anesthesiologist looked like a tv doctor,  and mike and i joked about that. i remember the midwives being so encouraging and honest and feeling grateful i chose midwives for our care. i remember mike trying to give me so much water, worrying i'd get dehydtrated and the midwives reminded him i had an IV, so i was ok. we laugh about that still. i remember we had some complications and an entire OB and neo-natal team rushed in to help birth theo. and i remember specifically feeling comfortable, despite being so exposed in front of so many people. before getting pregnant, i worried about pooping during labour, so many people seeing my body parts up close. all of that didn't even cross my mind while we were in it, so i'm grateful for that, too. i remember the OB delcaring he was a boy, and she said "you were right, mama!". i had known he was a boy for a long time, despite not knowing his gender officially. 

i remember when they put theo on my chest, he was so slippery and almost slipped off, to be honest. we caught him of course, but if that's not motherhood in a nutshell, i don't know what is. i remember him snuggling up to me in the first moments of being here, opening his tiny eyes to study my face, and me saying quietly "happy birthday, theo". i remember that moment, when mike and i realized, he was finally here, our newest family member, and the joy and love we had for each other in that moment. 

i remember that 24 hours in the hospital being full of sleepy us and sleepy theo. i'm grateful that mike could stay, there was no covid then. i'm grateful for hospital family visits, each of them meeting theo for the first time, and bringing food or snacks so we didn't have to rely on hospital food, SO GRATEFUL for that. i remember when we put him in the first little outfit, just a simple sleeper, to go home in, he was so tiny in it. remember we took the long way home because it was freezing rain. i remember it was the only time in the first 10 weeks of his life that i sat in the front seat instead of in the back with him and we just worried about him the whole dang time, i should've moved to the back seat - that seems like a funny thing now. i remember mike and i said to each other on the way home, "what do we do now?" and "who let us leave with this baby?". 

i remember bringing him home, and telling him "welcome home, theo. you live here now". putting him in the bassinet to put some things away, the cats just stared at him from beside the bassinet, watching his tiny movements. i remember the first postpartum shower. i mean, it makes sense that you smell SO BAD after all that work having a baby and lots of hours of labour, but i significantly underestimated how good a shower would feel. i remember being grateful for maternity pants, since they were the only thing i could wear, and for the basket of pads and extra underwear i had put on the back of both of our toilets, as all of the mom blog posts recommended, i needed those more often than i thought i would. 

i remember being so amazed by my body, and women's bodies in general, for recovering so quickly. i mean, i was walking the same day he exited my body, which seemed like a miracle. i remember the first time i pumped and saw how much milk i had, and being so pleased that i could breastfeed theo. i remember the hot and cold flashes, going to bed in a fleece robe and two hoodies and still couldn't get warm, and at the same time, all the moments when i couldn't cool down fast enough. those post partum hormones and hair loss are real. i remember food being dropped off by our families and it was so good to get to reheat instead of cooking. i remember all the baby snugs with a milk drunk sleepy baby, who felt like a furnace lying on my chest. 

i remember struggling to get theo into the sling by myself, but being so happy when it happened, especially seeing how content he was there. i remember mike getting up with me for every single night waking for weeks. i remember deep breathing while holding theo close to me used to help him fall asleep. i remember transitioning to a sleep sack early since theo used to get his arms out of the swaddle. i remember watching him sleep. 

obviously i remember so many things from this first year with theo, but some of these are my favourite from the first couple of weeks of having him with us. i promise myself, that when things seem hopeless, as they do now with a stay at home order and covid replacing so many plans we had for what our live would look like right now, that i will re-read this list and practice gratitude for these moments, moments other families missed, moments other families long for, that we had and are grateful to have experienced. 

talk to you soon, friends. 

love, jess


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