Our not so little bundle of joy finally arrived on Jan 5th, 2013 at 5:12 am weighing 8lbs, 14oz and 19.29 inches long. She was fifteen days late, but right on schedule I'm sure if you ask her. Unfortunately she hasn't learned to talk yet and chooses to communicate through leaking water from her eyes while at the same time projecting a loud noise from her mouth. Apparently my womb is a pretty sweet place to hangout, but thank goodness she finally decided to join us on the outside. We love her oh so much!
I'll save all the details of my labor and delivery for my tell all book, but the highlights include being in a shared assessment room for two days prior to giving birth and at one point having the woman next to me go into actual labor. Uh hello can't you see that I'm trying to watch an entire season of Revenge on my computer while I wait to have my own baby? She never got the memo but my time finally came and it all ended successfully. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how I managed to push an almost 9lb baby out of me epidural free but it was something I wanted to do for a variety of reasons and well, now I know. Man and I thought giving up bread for that one month back in 2009 was hard.
One of the pluses of Hazel being so late is that my Mom got to be here for the birth. It was wonderful to have her in NZ for two weeks.
Although I've never had a baby anywhere else, I can say that New Zealand is an amazing place to bring a new life into the world. Just a couple hours after having Hazel, I was out of the hospital and on my way to the Wakworth Birthing Centre. In the words of Borat, "Wow wow wee waa." This place was incredible. I wanted to minimize my time in the hospital for reasons like - they smell weird, have crappy sheets, and people die there. So a Birthing Centre in the country seemed like a much better option as a place to recover. And boy was it ever.
Imagine a little bed and breakfast in a beautiful setting that was tailored for new mums and babies. I was aptly assigned the Kiwi room. This place had round the clock midwives, provided everything you need from nappies to wipes, all of your meals, and even baby clothes and blankets that they washed for you. I spent 4 nights there and got so much support and help that was priceless. They don't want to send you home until your feel comfortable when it comes to feeding and all the other baby basics. I can only imagine how much more confident and prepared new parents would feel if this kind of support was offered in every country. Oh and did I mention it was all free?!
But alas we couldn't stay forever so home we are. Despite making noises that sound like a baby Gremlin being hatched, she is pretty cute and looks good in a variety of colors so we've decided to keep her. Midwives here make home visits for 6 weeks after your baby is born. That's been wonderful and at times humorous, like when it was time to weigh Hazel and my midwife says, "I do things kinda old school," then this happens:
Weighed in a bag. Absolutely brilliant.
What can I say about being a new mother? It is like new love except you skip the stage where the other person doesn't want to pass gas in front of you. I find Hazel to be mesmerizing, magical, and the whole thing miraculous. However, the day to day can be monotonous and make you understand why sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique. The whole making babies cute was a brilliant idea because somehow it makes the sleepless nights and high pitched screams seem laughable. I mean if babies were ugly, forget it. Thankfully that's not the world we live in.
Parenthood is a funny thing. No more not washing a shirt because it passes my stringent BO test. I can be sure it will be a one time only wear, as I can guarantee I will have a stain of some sort on me by the end of the day. And I'm pretty sure my cool factor dropped dramatically as soon as she was born, evidenced by a comment I recently made. We were watching the X games and they flashed to the crowd. Everyone were jammed together, listening to the DJ spinning, and looked to be be having a great time. All I could say was, "I hope there's not a natural disaster or an emergency because there would be a stampede if there was, mmm mmm not safe at all."
Adam just looked at me like who are you. I swear a month ago I would have seen the same scene and said that looks fun and think nothing of it. Everything now is a potential danger, a potential inappropriate clothing choice, a potential street leading my baby girl to tattoo city and tour buses. I've not even a worrier by nature but the shifts my brain made almost instantly upon becoming a mother are incredible.
It's an exciting journey we've started and I really do feel so blessed that we have a beautiful, healthy baby girl to share our lives with. The past month has been some of the longest days and fastest weeks of my life. Here's a few more shots of Hazel during her first six weeks of life, including a great visit with my Dad who also came from the US to visit:
As I start this new chapter I'm reminded of Tina Fey's, A Mother's Prayer for Her Child:
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a B*tch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Sh*t. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.