ONE

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And just like that, the first month of his life has passed. And what a month it was, full of surprises and challenges and so much love. The kind of month that changes you in such a way that you can barely remember what it was like before.

To celebrate this milestone, we gave our tiny guy his very first bath. And let me tell you, he was not impressed with the gesture.

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He was really upset about being wet.

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Turns out, there aren’t many things that make my Huckleberry friend angry, but diaper changes and baths are at the very top of the list.

He’s a remarkably peaceful baby, generally content and easily soothed. Of course, he loves his mama’s arms most of all, followed closely by daddy’s chest. He is always happy to be worn, skin to skin, in my Solly Baby Wrap, and has his very own cozy spot in nearly every room of our home. In fact, he’s napping in his wooly-lined Moses basket right next to me as I type this, all bundled and smelling fresh.

Because he’s still so small, our main task is to get his weight up, which means we’re on a strict feeding regimen. He and I spend a lot of time together learning our nursing habits, which is fine by me because nursing a baby is one of my most favorite things in life, ever. We had our first bottle-free day today, a huge success in the world of premature infant nutrition. Tomorrow, we’ll see his pediatrician – a young doctor who was present at his birth – for our fifth (yes, fifth) weight check since being discharged from the NICU. Fingers crossed we’re over five pounds!

Life with a brand new baby is a lot of things, and not all of them easy. But life with this brand new baby is nothing if not spectacular.

Oh, Roux Huckleberry! Thank you for choosing our family, for bringing your sweet spirit and positive energy into our home, and for being so darn cute. Everything is better because of you. We love you so.

11/52

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“a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, for 2014”

Emet Preston: His wise eyes.
Jade Eloise: Mama’s little helper.
Roux Huckleberry: 27 days old.

It was about this time, exactly one month ago, when things got very interesting. The hardest part about being admitted into UCSD Medical Center was having to contend with their silly flu season policy, which prevents any person under the age of 12 from entering the hospital. Of course we weren’t aware of this until we’d arrived with both big kids in tow, dressed in their pajamas because it was past their bedtime on a Sunday night.

Kissing their sweet faces goodbye, and not having a clue as to what was going to happen next, was just about the hardest thing I’d ever done. That is, until a few hours later, when I was forced to face my biggest fears and most terrifying demons, in order to bring that precious tiny guy into the world.

But here we are, four weeks later, and nothing makes me happier than those three little people. And my handsome fiancé, of course.

I am so damn lucky.

THE 52 PROJECT – AN UPDATE

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“a portrait of my children, all three of them”

Well, it’s been a busy few weeks over here. With everything that has happened recently – a nearly ten day hospital stay, a new baby, a handsome fiancé, and not a lot of sleep – my personal projects have fallen a bit by the wayside. I had the most noble intentions when it came to this portrait series, and it seems that at this point, I’ll just have to take what I can get and work with it as best I can. Which, not for nothing, seems to be a current theme in my life.

Emet has wanted a baby brother for as long as I can remember, and seeing how much he loves and cares for the newest member of our family is absolutely priceless. He takes his role as the oldest very seriously. Whether he’s reading to his sister, or fawning over our tiny guy, the love he has for his younger siblings is unsurpassed. Jade is over the moon excited about having a baby in the house, being the little mama that she is. The days since bringing our bundle home from the hospital have been full of so much love and so many tender moments, my heart can barely contain it all.

Did I mention that I’m not sleeping? I’m not sleeping. At most, I’ve gotten three consecutive hours since the baby was born. Whether I’m being woken by soft newborn cries, or the sharp sting of too much milk in my boobs (sorry, but it’s true), one way or another sleep escapes me entirely. Surprisingly, I haven’t lost my mind completely. I have somehow managed to get the big kids fed and off to school in the mornings, and to keep our house relatively tidy. Ok, the mister gets most of the credit for keeping the house tidy, so I guess what I mean to say is that I’ve managed to not destroy our house, which is kind of the same thing, right?

We’re beginning to find our rhythm, and I’m slowly climbing out from under the weight of all these thoughts I have swimming around in my head. I’ll be honest, it’s hard to spend so many months planning and visualizing one kind of experience only to have the exact opposite come to pass. And I’m a sentimental gal, meaning it’s far too easy for me to be swallowed whole by what ifs and whys.

Tonight was supposed to be our last date. We’d planned on seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel, and enjoying one last fancy meal together. The chances of us actually making it to the theatre to catch this film are slim, let alone getting out for a grown-ups only dinner anytime soon. We did, however, steal away to a favorite local spot for lunch today, and the baby slept through the whole meal. It sure felt like a date. A date chaperoned by the smallest, sweetest person I’ve ever met.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though I was caught completely off guard, and rather unexpectedly, I’m finding my way back. And I’m a better, stronger person for it.

PREGNANCY, INTERRUPTED

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There is a very fine line between life and death, one that isn’t always easy to recognize. What is easy, though, is taking for granted the gift of intuition. On February 16, I trusted my instincts over my reasoning and have been permanently altered as a person – and as a parent – as a result.

I can’t say exactly how I knew, only that I did.

The past two weeks have been incredibly intense, and I’m only barely beginning to be able to wrap my mind around the magnitude of it all. It is my hope that as I begin to distill this experience into words, that I will be able to have a better understanding of what I went through, and why.

When February began, I had a sense that it was going to be a busy month, but for very different reasons than what it turned out to be. And here we are, the first day of March, and it seems so surreal that I don’t still have a baby in my belly or a home birth to look forward to. Instead, I have a tiny guy to nuzzle and a sparkly ring on my finger, two of the greatest gifts this life has ever given me.

What surprises me the most about this whole thing is that I’m not sad, really, only nostalgic. Everything happened so suddenly, and I wasn’t exactly prepared. Thankfully, with the love and support of my precious family and dearest friends, I have managed to survive what is easily the most tragic and triumphant time of my life.

I have no inclination as to what this month shall bring, but I’m thinking it’s going to be a good one. And if I’ve learned anything at all from all of this, it’s that my gut feelings are usually spot on.

In that case, I say hello to you, March! Show me what you got.