dear eliot | your birth story

dearest eliot,

i can’t begin to tell you the story of your birth without first telling you a little bit about how you came to be. it’s too soon to go into the birds and the bees with you. so, don’t worry, i’m not gonna go there. what i want you to know is this – you were so wanted skinny legs. so wanted and so loved from the very beginning. here is a little note i wrote to you on the day i discovered i was pregnant. (and, yes, i called you eliot even then. i was convinced you would be named eliot regardless of your gender).

“dear eliot.

today, i found out that you existed. i peed on a stick. the “pregnant” line appeared immediately. i am still in a state of disbelief. your sister’s reaction to the positive pregnancy test was, “good job mommy.” i don’t want you to be offended, but her response was probably directed to my having gone pee in the toilet rather than on the floor or in my big girl panties. she appreciates the little things in life.

i can’t believe that you exist. i really can’t. it will take me some time to process this news. for now, let me say that i love you already in a very vague and indeterminate sort of way. but, i know that i will love you with my whole heart soon enough. it will be an all-consuming love. a love so big that my heart will barely contain it. i can’t wait.

best of luck to you little zygote.

mommy”

here is something else you should know – mommy is usually right. i do love you with my whole heart. the minute i saw your face i was overcome with emotion. with love. with hope. with humility. but, i am getting ahead of myself.

at some point during my pregnancy, i knew that you would be born via cesarian section. i tried for a “natural, un-medicated, birth” with your sister. but, that didn’t work out so well for me. when the doctors (multiple doctors) suggested a c-section, i was right there with them. call me a member of the uneducated, uncaring, unnatural masses if you want, but i am not in any way troubled by that decision. it was a good one for me. and for you. and for our family. that’s what matters. the end. moving on.

you were born on april 5, 2012.

that morning, i woke up, showered and dressed. i made pancake mix for grammie. (grammie stayed with us and helped with lillian – one day you should ask her about why i had to make pancake mix. it’s a funny story.) i made sure that i had everything i needed for the hospital. i didn’t eat or drink (it wasn’t allowed), but i did think a lot about that forbidden breakfast and coffee. i texted a few people, including sally brewer, my friend and fellow photographer, who had agreed to photograph your birth. i gave grammie many instructions on caring for lillian (none of which she needed. but, i was nervous). then, daddy and i were on our way to the hospital.

at 10:00am, i checked in. i changed into a gown and socks (totally stylin) and answered a lot of crazy questions. i was hooked up to various devices and readied for your birth. i was nervous. what would the surgery be like? would i be one of the unfortunates who had a difficult recovery? would you be okay? would i love you right away or would it take some time?

you see, baby eliot, i was most worried about that very last question. i read that sometimes mothers who have c-sections have a difficult time bonding with their baby initially because of the medication that is necessary to preform the surgery. your emotions are stunted (because you are high as a kite). and, i’ve heard from some of the crunchy crowd (those i like to call “birth nazis”) that mothers who have c-sections can’t have the same emotional experience as those who push their baby out of their bodies. i beg to differ. because, my little friend, the moment i saw you i loved you. i knew that you were coming. i felt a slight tugging. i heard you start to cry and knew that you were out. when they held you over that sheet, and i saw your tiny face, i fell in love. you had arrived. and, i loved you. my heart felt so big and so full. and, in that moment, i felt complete.

i didn’t get to see them weigh you. but, your daddy did. he went with you over to the warmer and watched them take care of you. i wanted to see everything, but i couldn’t. i suffered a crazy side-effect that made my shoulder cramp and couldn’t look to the side that they had you on. but, that was okay. you were here. and, before i knew it, your daddy held you close to me. i could see your tiny profile. your dark hair. your puffy cheeks. you were so red! you looked so healthy. i felt so blessed that you were mine.

in recovery i was able to finally hold you. i put your skin against my skin and closed my eyes and breathed you in. because, eliot, your mommy has come to realize something. each day, each minute, is precious, especially those minutes spent with your children. you won’t be my baby for long. and, i know that. i plan to try and savor every minute of your little baby life. those first few days (and even now), i couldn’t get enough of you. i marveled at your little hands and feet (with their long fingers and toes). i stroked your soft skin. i admired your beautiful dark hair. eliot – the baby of the world! (ask your sister about that some time).

your sister and grammie came to meet you the afternoon you were born. i was still in recovery, but, as luck would have it, the doc came to check on me and let them back as well (i was only supposed to have one guest at a time with me in the recovery room – but, i had four!). the look on your sister’s face when she saw the two of us was absolutely priceless. i will never forget it. sally photographed your meeting, and i will treasure those images always. the love in the room was overwhelming.

sweet eliot. you are darling. your birth brought you into a family that adores you (and adores each other). i can’t put into words the emotion i felt when you were born other than to say that i have never felt closer to God, to my family, to myself. you complete me. you complete our family. i can’t wait to watch you grow but am enjoying every minute of your newness.

i love you skinny legs.

mommy

what follows is a birth video made by me from photographs taken by sally brewer of sally brewer photography. when we decided to have another baby, i decided that this birth would be photographed by a professional photographer. (as many of you know, i photographed my friend’s birth many months ago and fell in love with birth photography. hopefully, one day, birth photography will be a bigger part of my business.) i am so grateful to have these images. hospital policy would not allow sally to come into the operating room with us, so we had to improvise in there (bradford and the nurses took photos for us). but, the images of lillian meeting eliot were worth it all. they are now among my most prized possessions. enjoy.

to see a larger version or an ipad ready version, click here: eliot pearl | birth (photos by sally brewer. music by the dixie chicks. turn up your sound!)

life with eliot pearl | our baby is here!

four weeks! eliot pearl was delivered four weeks ago today. the time is flying by, which is sad.

with lillian, i remember being so ready for the next stage – whatever that was. when i was pregnant, i was ready for her to be born. when she was a newborn, i was ready for her to grow up a little. to sleep more. to breastfeed better. to start doing tummy time. to sit up. to crawl. to stand up. to talk. to walk. only recently did i stop and really think to myself – holy crow. she is growing up too fast. my baby is now my little girl. that hurts.

i don’t want lillian to grow up. of course, i am excited that she is growing and learning and thriving and coming into her own. but, i miss having her as my little one. my constant companion.

i guess that’s why i grew a new one 😉

eliot pearl is the best thing since sliced bread. she is ridiculously adorable. her hair is dark and wild. her eyes are wide and curious. her arms are long and skinny, as are her legs (earning her the nickname “skinny legs”). her fingers and toes are also long and skinny (no surprise there). she craves contact. she wants to be held and loved. even at night. especially at night. (yes, she sleeps with me. whatever. she loves it and i do too and we all sleep. yay for sleep).

lillian is a wonderful big sister. i worried about how she would respond. but, as usual, she has exceeded my expectations. she enjoys having baby eliot around. she likes to do things to help us take care of the baby – especially picking out which diaper baby eliot will wear next (baby eliot’s favorites are the ones with the birds according to lillian) and bringing her her pacifier. she also enjoys talking to baby eliot (baby eliot’s voice is very high-pitched fyi). seeing lillian adapt to her role as a big sister (and make the role her own) has been one of the highlights of having eliot join our family.

we are all very much in love with this baby. and, knowing how fast they grow up, i plan to do my very best to savor every moment of her little life.

life with two kids is crazy. and hectic. but good. so very good. we are very blessed.

littles at the hospital after putting on the socks they so kindly required me to wear during recovery: