Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I Want to Remember...

Everybody says that it goes so fast, and I can already feel that twinge when I look at pictures of Henry from the day he was born - I can hardly believe how quickly he's changing. It seems like each stage lasts just a couple of days, and my dresser is piled high with clothes that need to be stored away because they are already too small for my no longer teeny baby. I'm doing everything I can to inhale each moment, to really stop and notice the little things that change from week to week. I want to fix this time in my mind.

Henry is sleeping, and I should use this time to make progress on the to-do list that's constantly taunting me from the back of my mind. There are two baskets full of laundry that need to be folded and put away, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, and the bathrooms are long overdue for a cleaning. But first - this.

I want to remember...
  • The huge gummy smiles that seem to overcome his whole body,  how he throws his head back in delight.
  • How wine, Netflix, and intermittently pausing whatever we're watching to stare at the monitor to marvel at our son makes for a pretty spectacular Friday night these days.
  • How he passes out every single time he eats and how sometimes I won't try to transfer him to his crib, choosing instead to ignore the aforementioned to-do list to let him sleep in my lap.
Sometimes I try to get a little work done while he snoozes...

  • What a happy baby he is, how little it takes to make him smile. 
  • His hilarious "mad dog" face.
  • The early morning nursing sessions when the party animals have gone to bed, the early risers aren't quite risen, and all is quiet.
  • His fuzzy head and the strange patch of newborn hair that has come to be known as his "rear mustache." 
  • The way he watches the world from the safety of the carrier - wrapped tightly to my chest, just his head visible, taking it all in. 
  • The grip of his tiny hand around my finger.
  • Bringing him into bed on weekend mornings for family cuddle time.
There are plenty of things that I won't mind forgetting - like how short my fuse can get after a week of sleeping only 90 minute stretches, but on the whole, this time of life is pretty dreamy.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Huck - Month One

Young Henry's first weeks of life have been obsessively documented, and I don't see the rate of photo-taking diminishing any time soon. Shockingly,  I haven't found a lot of uninterrupted time to put all of the swirling thoughts and emotions into words, so for now, a photo dump will have to suffice.

Henry's first few days were spent in the hospital, and they passed in a blur of rotating nurses (Valentina for life!), cuddles, and naps.

{It would be nice if the hospital photographer gave you some kinds of heads up so you could at least throw on some lip chap before her arrival.}
{amethyst (Henry's birthstone) earrings from Tom}

By day two in the hospital, I was up and moving around and looking for activities beyond watching Wheel of Fortune, so we inked Henry up and added his footprint to his baby book.

When we got the ok to head home on Monday, we jumped at the chance.

My mom stayed with us for a few more days after we got back from the hospital, and I'm so glad she did. There was the practical matter of having an extra set of hands, but even more than that, I needed my mom by side as I adjusted to motherhood myself. If I can be half the mother to Huck that she has been to me and my siblings, he'll be in good shape.
{practicing Spanish with Deedee}
The first two weeks after Henry was born passed in a blur of nursing and cuddling and short daily excursions for a dose of vitamin D and catching sleep where we can find it.
{first trip to the farmers market - an important California milestone}

Seriously, the cuddling is out of control around here.

Henry's first bath at home was somewhat traumatic, and we didn't attempt a repeat for at least a week. Fortunately, he's now starting to come around to the awesomeness of a good tub session.

This is a picture that I've been looking forward to taking for years...
I knew that Tom would be a great dad, but he has truly blown me away. I have fallen more in love with him over the past six weeks than I ever could have imagined. He's been incredible - so protective of both Henry and me, bending over backwards to make sure that we both have everything that we need. He makes up silly parody songs to accompany diaper changes and he wears the Ergo around like a champ.

I think that the fact that I seem to have avoided any serious baby blues can be largely attributed to Tom. He's constantly telling me how proud he is of me, swooping in when I start to teeter on the edge of total overwhelm, and doing everything he can to make up for the fact that feeding Henry kind of has to be my sole responsibility for the time being. It also doesn't escape me how fortunate I am to have Tom working from home - Henry makes a great executive assistant when I need five minutes to eat. Henry and I are so lucky to have this guy.

Presented without further comment, a few of my favorites from Huck's first month.
{Huck bleeds purple}
{the first of many pictures of Henry and Mr. Hug'Ems}
{first night home}

{morning cuddles}
{I kind of miss that gross little umbilical cord}
{This is atypical - most car rides involve a lot more screaming and a lot less Zen-like smiling.}
{St. Patrick's Day}
Not pictured: a previously unfathomable number of dirty diapers, the heart-piercing wailing that accompanies all car rides, endless Netflix viewing (in Huck's first month, we plowed though House of Cards, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Bloodline), two am feedings, three am feedings, four am feedings...

There have also been more than a few moments where I dissolved in a puddle of tears. When I cry these days though, it's not because I am sad or even frustrated really - it's just that all of my emotions feel very close to the surface. Maybe by the time Henry's fontanels close and we can no longer see his heartbeat through the delicate skin at the top of his head, I'll have toughened up a bit, but for the time being, I'm essentially a walking soft spot.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Welcome to Earth, Henry!

Introducing Henry Donald Cusimano, the baby also known as Huck.
I am not sure that I'm up to the task of finding words for all of the emotions of the last three weeks, but I will try. I heard once that having a child was like suddenly having your heart outside your body, and that comes as close to describing how I feel as anything. It feels raw and vulnerable (you were right, Dad) but also thrilling and awe-inspiring. 

I could sit and stare at Henry for hours. The funny little faces that he makes in his sleep are endlessly entertaining, and just when I think I have memorized every plane of his face, he changes and I begin again - committing him to memory. I know that there are still hormonal issues at play, and sleep deprivation certainly plays into things as well, but I could cry just looking at him.

Ok, onward. When our attempts to get him to flip failed (Tom's favorite joke was that the baby obviously has my sense of direction), we knew that Henry's birthday would be Friday, February 27th, so no surprises there. On Thursday night, we headed around the corner to Fig and Olive for our last childless date night. We went back and forth on names and stuffed our faces with crostini. It was the perfect end to what was a pretty wonderful pregnancy.

The next morning, I distracted myself with Scandal and Grey's Anatomy until it was time to leave.
{I kind of miss that giant belly.}

We drove the eight tenths of a mile to Cedars, checked in at Labor and Delivery, and settled into room 17.

My parents arrived shortly after we were settled in, and I was so glad to have them there. My mom was her inimitable, soothing presence - calm and reassuring, as always, a model of the mother I hope to become. My dad distracted me (and entertained our nurse) with tales of playing "Box That Star" wherein one person provides the name of a deceased celebrity, the more obscure the better, (George C. Scott) and the other person must correctly identify the cause of death (abdominal aortic aneurysm, which also took out Einstein, should you ever find yourself in a game of Box That Star). They were exactly what I needed, as usual.
Before long, it was time to do the damn thing. Tom suited up. I took deep cleansing breaths and tried not to think about the impending rearrangement of my insides.

Tom had to wait in the hallway while I acquainted myself with anesthesia. I got a spinal and a healthy dose of Versed. I was in and out while what felt like a lot of people buzzed around the room. At some point, Tom was allowed back in. I just remember that he suddenly appeared by my head and was holding my hand. Not long after that, I heard Dr. Walden say that he was really wedged in there, and I remember feeling pressure and tugging when they pulled him out, but all in all, the whole experience was very...low key? 

And then, all of a sudden, he was here.

I have a very clear image in my mind of Henry, seconds after he was born, eyes wide open, looking right at me when Dr. Walden held him up over the drape. When I heard his first cry, I let out the breath I didn't know I'd been holding, but when I saw him, I became a mother. They immediately whisked Henry to a nearby warmer to be weighed and measured, and Tom went with him to cut the cord and take a lot of pictures.

I was on the other side of the room in somewhat of a daze, but I will never forget Tom's first exclamation on holding our son - "He's the softest thing I've ever felt!"
{This whole being out in the world thing is highly suspect...}
Then, finally, he was in my arms.

It was at that moment that we decided on his name. We had pretty much settled on Henry the night before, but it wasn't until he arrived that we officially chose Donald for his middle name. As it turned out, that was a pretty appropriate decision since he bears a striking resemblance to his namesake.

As soon as my insides were all safely returned to my inside, we were wheeled into the recovery room.  

It was one visitor at a time in there, so after a little while, Tom sent my mom in.

Next my dad came for a visit. As you can see, he was pretty unmoved by the whole thing...
Again, I have no concept of how long anything took, but after some unknown period of time, we were wheeled into the postpartum wing and the room where we would spend the next couple of days. The rest of the day consisted of a lot of cuddling.

My sister and Tom's brother arrived to love on Henry.
{Michael brought Tom a purple cow when he was born and decided to continue the tradition.}
This picture, taken by my dad, pretty much sums up the day. So much love.