Thursday, February 17, 2011

trailing clouds of glory as they come

Sometime in the next 4 weeks we’re going to have a new baby in our house. I want to catch and hold onto every emotion that will flood through here in the weeks ahead.  There is really nothing more euphoric and magical and exhausting and beautiful than the few weeks before and after a baby enters into your world and changes everything.  And those weeks only happen a few times in a life time.  Since I’m feeling like four might be my limit and this might be the last time I live through this kind of experience, I want to drink up every bit of it (just writing that makes me all teary…..).  I can’t help it, yes, I’m uncomfortable (and I know it’s much worse for so many women) but I just love all the anticipation and preparation and work and change that happens when your family expands.  As Wordsworth says, babies “trail clouds of glory” with them when they come, “heaven lies about us in our infancy.”  I can always see this heaven in the soft perfect glow of retrospect….but it’s hard to always acknowledge as you go through it.  Let’s be honest, what’s ahead is hard hard work.  But, I want to be able to see those clouds of glory as I pass through them, not just when I remember them years from now.
So, just so I have it in the front of my head, here are some of the things I love about what is going to happen in our little life in the next few weeks:
  • The anticipation.  When? Where (the car???)?  How (there is a real baby in there that has to come out)?  What will the baby look like, be like, sound like, suck like, smell like, sleep like? 
  • The preparation.  Folding baby clothes and receiving blankets.  Remembering your other children in the same clothes and blankets.  Creating birth plans.  Remembering what my body needs to do.
  • The dreams.  I always have the craziest dreams right before my babies are born.  All of my babies have appeared in my dreams and they’re usually doing something mischievous, like kicking through my new maternity shirt.  Last night this baby boy appeared in my dream and poked his little head out of a hole he had kicked in my stomach.  He was the most perfect looking baby, except that he kind of looked like a groundhog, the way he peaked out through the hole with his tongue out.  My midwife took him out to inspect him and then stuffed him back in, head down, so that he could make his all important journey through the birth canal.  I was just so mad I didn’t get a picture of him when he poked his head out.  He looked so cute.
  • The work.  The labor.  The power that and connection that kind of work forges between you and this new life.  (More on this in another post).
    • The growth. Your heart miraculously grows large enough to swallow up another little child into that amazingly expanding mother love. Mother love doesn’t get divided when another one falls into it….it just expands. 
    • The introductions.  Introducing your older children to their new baby.  I love watching my children fall in love and watch as the marvel and miracle of a new life changes them and bonds them and ignites them.  This part of new life has only gotten better and better as my kids have gotten older and able to grasp the miracle of what is happening.
    • Those first few hours of life.  The first cry. The first suck.  The first fast breathing on your neck.
    • The smell of a newborn.  Before the first bath.  I love how they smell.
    • Those first few nights.  Exhausting and challenging as they are, they are nights full of real sacrifice and work.  They are when you and your newborn figure each other out. 
    • Being surrounded by supportive people, parents, in-laws, friends. My heart aches for people who go through this without this support….like so many of my former clients.  Support makes this experience sweet.  It is humbling to need so much help and blessed to have it.
    • The naps.  I love having people take care of the stuff I normally have to do so that I can restore my body from all the shock of labor and nursing.  I love napping with a newborn still beside me.
    • Feeling so much respect and tenderness from Jeff as he worries and works in his own way to support me through labor and birth and newbornness.  He’s a little weirded out by all of it,  so it makes it all the more sweet that he works so hard to support me. 
    • That feeling of physical emptiness after birth.  It’s the strangest physical sensation I’ve ever had.  To no longer feel that movement inside of you but instead watch it squirming and swimming outside of you is strange.  And a little empty.  But boy does it feel good to lie on your tummy.
    • Being babied again by my own mother.  There might not be anything sweeter for me than having my own mother there to baby me as I figure out my own baby.  I love being reminded (in such a experiential way) of where my relationship started with her, all the sacrifices she made to bring me into the world and nurse and nurture and love me.  All while she’s pouring out all kinds of love and pampering and reassurance as I navigate my way through a new mother/baby relationship.  I can’t wait to do this for my daughters. 
    • Waking up to a new little life breathing beside you.
        And here’s what I don’t like so much about the upcoming weeks:
        • my pants falling down as I struggle to bend over a million times a day to keep things picked up
        • heart burn (though I secretly like the feeling of relief that comes with a half teaspoon of baking soda in 4 oz of water). 
        • a big post baby jello belly
          • being engorged
          • not being able to really sit down for a while
          • lots of yucky stuff, like blood and sweat and milk pretty much everywhere (not too glamorous)
          • spit up
          • worry about all the things that could go wrong
          I’m going to try to focus on the first list.  It is so much more beautiful.  I want to feel this babies trails of glory as they whoosh by us. 


          1. Thanks Saydi! I needed this since our babe is coming in no later than 1 week....ahhh!!:) It WILL be great!

          2. A truly great and thought provoking post!

          3. Mmmmm! This post feels like a great feast of new motherhood...a taste of sweet honey, a luscious remembrance of what we all love and dont' love about the process of welcoming a newborn to the world. So much to remember and treasure. So much to cherish!

          4. I love reading your posts, so so inspiring. I am excited for your upcoming adventure! May you (try to)enjoy every minute!

          5. i love this post saydi! you are the best :):):):):)
            sorry we got cut off today, let's talk again soon. xox

          6. IWAN. and IWTCVA. (I Want To Come Visit Again) like I did when Emmeline was born. That was so fun for me. Love you...can't wait to see all the pictures.
            Love, Shawni

          7. I love how real you are Saydi...blood guts and all, it's not always pretty...and those darn annoying falling down pants! The last few weeks are so hard.
            You brought so many memories back to me...the ones I don't want to forget, the fun of the anticipation and the kids meeting the baby for the first time and all those sweet little blankets and baby clothes....the good and bad, ups and down, it's all so important to remember!

          8. Oh, how I love you! I love all of the emotions and experiences you list here. I can't wait to hear all the arrival of your Ultimo!

          9. What a great description of what it is like to have a new little one. So very sweet!

          10. I love your words, Saydi. I love the euphoria of birth and the peace of new babies fresh from heaven. I hope you have a glorious birth!



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