Given that Nick and Brigette seem a bit pre-occupied lately with the growing of Baby Violet and trying to figure out how to swaddle a disturbing-looking doll, I decided to guest write a blog post. Nick, please be kind with your edits (Ed. Note: I can’t make any promises); I spent a lot of time reading book reports, research papers, lab reports and college essays ((Ed. Note: touche). Once, you thought I had literary skills. Then you turned 18.
I was going to write a sweet, type-through-the-blur-of-my-tears-post, but as I was gathering my words, Brigette sent the picture of Violet’s last ultrasound. At that moment, I realized EVERY family waiting for a baby knows they are being blessed with the most perfect, gorgeous, and brilliant bundle of joy. My mom always said it was too bad people didn’t realize that although their grandchildren were quite lovely, hers were, in fact, perfect (Ed. Note: truth).
I plan on being blunt and honest about having a newborn so you won’t be surprised in the hours and days after Violet is born. It’s not all fat, bouncing babies that nurse effortlessly and gaze into your eyes lovingly. Readers, if you had a different experience, please keep in mind that I am a guest blogger and in no way represent the views of Becoming Bottos (Ed. Note: our legal team requires her to write this). I also don’t represent the ideals of people who either don’t have children yet or think the fact they have a cat or two makes them qualified to offer child rearing advice. Last I checked, I wasn’t able to leave out enough water and food for three days and expect to find my children still legally in my care.
Lesson 1: If you have a birth plan that includes reading poetry and writing in your journal during the moments between contractions, realize the pen may become a weapon of pain used to stab the person who isn’t breathing in the rhythm of your cleansing breath (Ed. Note: *gulp*). The sooner you come to terms with the idea that children have no schedule, no pattern, and don’t care that you picked essential oils that would open your chakras and allow you to calmly bring a new life into the world, the sooner you will realize that labor is not yours to control. YOU WILL DO WHAT YOUR BODY DECIDES (Ed. Note: I’ve read this post a couple times, and always read this segment in the voice of Gandalf at the end of The Fellowship) and you will do it with no resistance. See? Before you even meet your daughter she will be the eye of the storm. Your body knows what needs to be done to get this baby out and keep her safe. You will have do whatever it will takes to comply.
Lesson 2: In the delivery room I remember thinking all I wanted was a heated blanket and to sleep, but I better ask how many fingers and toes my kids had. Isn’t that what they say on TV? It’s not that I wasn’t in love with my babies. I was from the moment I knew they existed. But at the moment of their birth, I was emotionally and physically spent. I just needed a moment. That thought would occur many times over the next 18 years (Ed. Note: definitely Brad and Jake’s fault).
Lesson 3: Nurses bring you sweetly-swaddled, perfectly-wrapped burrito babies and you return a small unfolded pile of human laundry that’s flailing around and escaping from their blanket. The mere fact you are the person that will be caring for them solo in less than 24 hours terrifies both of you. I rolled and tucked and tried to mimic that swaddle, but concluded that, until you’ve tried to wrap a chihuahua in a silk shirt, you have no idea how intimidating this process is. I know you’ve been practicing on a doll, but you may want to spray Lola with a hose and master cat wrapping.
Lesson 4: Babies have a lot of “stuff” stored in them, and it comes out in shockingly large quantities. I rang for the nurses to let them know some of this material had escaped, and for some odd reason they assumed I was on the self-service plan and knew how to take care of this chemical spill. I clearly thought I signed up for the club level of this resort that included fresh apple juice hourly and only clean, fresh-smelling children. I made a note to call customer service to dispute this obvious accommodation error, but was expected to deal with this unpleasantness independently.
Lesson 5: You will cry, and cry, and cry, and cry. I had 24 hours of 100% non-stop tears. I cried because I was exhausted; I cried because I was so in love with my babies; I cried because of hormones; I cried because no one came to visit for 5 minutes; I cried because people came to visit every 5 minutes; I cried because I wasn’t pregnant anymore and would never feel you kick my ribs and my bladder at the same time ever again. Mostly I cried because God chose me to be your Mom and I had no idea how would I ever be able to be all He expected.
Lesson 6 and the most important. Get your Kleenex now: Brigette and Nick, you will always be enough, but you won’t often feel it. The days will be long and endless sometimes: your body, your thoughts do not belong to you, you will wonder who you were and who you are. Brigette, you will be annoyed that Nick gets to go to work and doesn’t have to nurse…again. He gets to keep the body he had 9 months ago and his clothes still fit. He gets to drive to work to see adults. He gets to eat all of his lunch while it’s hot. From your perspective his life won’t change as much yours did. Nick, as a Dad (I am assuming all of this, but I need to balance this paragraph) you will resent leaving your new family sleeping together in bed. Suddenly, you are responsible for a tiny person who will need diapers and shoes and ballet lessons (yay Celia) and–in what seems like a moment–college. You’d trade every adult lunch meeting for sticky Kix eaten from a toddlers chubby fingers. Although the hours and the days may seem as if they dragged, the years will fly by.
God gave you Violet because He believes that you are the hearts that will allow her to become the person this word needs. She will make you see everything for the first time all over again. Snowflakes will be more beautiful and rainstorms will be magical. You will learn to ride a bike again, learn to sing songs you forgot you ever knew, and you will never again take for granted a full night of sleep.
Violet isn’t just your heart existing outside of your body. She is ours too (Ed. Note: *sniff* good one, mom)