Tuesday, August 28, 2012

this is what it looks like when dreams come true

 this is a very baby-centric sappy post...skip if you aren't into babies :)

Have you ever wanted something so much that it feels very precious to you? So much that you hesitate to even talk about it aloud, treating it like some sacred secret to be handled with reverent care, holding it inside you like a gem that gives you buoyancy and spirit. It is a part of you, this dream, will always be a part of you no matter the outcome, shapes every thread of your existence.

My dream has always been to have a baby.
There was a time I dreamed of having twenty kids! By the time I was ten years old I'd settled my dream to becoming an anthropologist with six kids. All my dreams involved being a mother; even as a teenager I dreamed more of having babies than having a rad boyfriend or a great love affair. Needless to say I was an excellent babysitter and a second-mama to my littlest brother Joey. I rocked him to sleep and sang songs to him, changed his diaper and fed him bottles and played school with all three of my brothers. I held every baby I could get my hands on.

As an adult I grew other dreams too, of course. Dreams of being a scholar, of having a country house with a library and a spiral staircase, of writing a novel, of selling vintage clothes, of having chickens and kittens and a farm in the sun. A lot of my dreams are still in the making or changing shape. But underneath them all, for years, was the dream that started to seem impossible, the dream of having my own baby. The prospect started to look dim as my cycle came back regularly month after month, year after year. I have vast compassion for those who struggle with infertility; the desire to have children is something so huge and so personal and life-altering, and when that desire is threatened, your heart breaks again and again and you never know what to expect and the path of your own life seems strange and impenetrable and foggy.

When I found out I was pregnant after six years of trying to conceive, I was filled with inexpressible happiness. I hardly dared believe that my sweetest dream might be coming true. It was like holding my breath, with pure excitement and glee like a little kid on Christmas Eve, but for forty weeks.

Then she arrived. My tiny baby. A little daughter for me to feed and teach and love, love, love. i smell her, I cuddle her, I gaze at her hands, toes, tummy, eyes. I whisper in her ear, i love you i love you i love you.
Friends, there is no telling how much light fills the heart when this kind of dream comes true.


I know I sound blissed out, and that's because I truly am. 

Yes, having a newborn can be difficult. She cries and I panic and I feed her round the clock. I have anxieties and I am fuzzy headed, tired and a little bit cuckoo and completely devoted. I never knew the extent that a baby would become the air I breathe. And because I am utterly a baby person, I embrace this transfiguration with all my heart. I really do think my acceptance comes from having loved the idea of having a baby for so long. I don't know how it is for everyone else; I understand that there are frustrations and struggles and I admit, nothing is easy anymore...not a routine run to the grocery store, not thrift store shopping, not even taking a walk. everything comes with a plan, a fresh diaper, a light blanket, a pad for my boob, an exit escape in case the baby freaks out. But I love all this, because it means I have little Lucy by my side.

I have always tried to be the kind of person who lives life with gratitude. I want to always appreciate the town I live in, the kind of family I grew up in, my amazing husband and our incredible friends, the wildflower hills and the books I've read, professors and poets and the river and gardens and the earth itself. 
Well, needless to say my gratitude has never been more grand. with this most incredible blessing of life, I spill over, I can't contain the flowing spirit of this immense joy, like a confluence of rivers to the sea. 
My baby and me, we are ancient as time itself. Doing what mothers and babies do best, caring for each other, knowing each other fully, loving.

 My Lucinda is six weeks old today. All these photos are from the last week or so, just hanging around home and town, getting our rhythms down, growing together.

 And all I can do is go outside and look all around, and look at my baby, and my house and my husband and my life and say right out loud until tears stream down my face, thank you. thank you. thank you.

i hope that every one of you has known a joy so sweet as a secret dream coming true.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

happy camper

we took our littlest on her first camping trip last week to watch the Perseid meteor shower. unfortunately, mountain thunderclouds covered the stars that night, but we still had an amazing camp-out with a bunch of besties.

our favorite spot for car camping, silver lake. because it's got a lake and a river spot both perfect for swimming, large flat rocks for sunning or stargazing, and endless mountain vistas that capture your breath and spirit.

my first time swimming since the surgery....sooo good!

blissed out daddy...

it was both our babies' first camping experiences!
so fun to camp with these cuties...i remember becky often telling me, "you're going to love breastfeeding," with sweet emotion, and it is so true.

telling carolann and ezra about my birth while nursing my baby on the warm rocks in the mountains. (darin took the cool soft focus photos)

lucy has taken a real liking to the moby wrap. we have had the fortune of being given several different types of wraps/slings/carriers and so far this one is the best for her newborn size, she snuggles right in like a tiny papoose and falls asleep deeply. it must remind her of the womb.

but most of the time on the trip she was awake and alert.
this is what she loves looking up at:

hanging out in our campsite:

carolann and ezra provided veggie burgers and everyone else brought potluck dishes, sylvan tended the grill and dubbed it "chef sylvan's place." we had a campout FEAST:

busted out lucy's jammies and a little hat that is already too small, but sooooo cute.

she got lots of good making-friends practice. i think she really likes her friends.

the sun started to go down and we were sure hoping we'd get lucky and get to see some crazy shooting stars, but the clouds moved in as the night got darker.

evening feedings out-of-doors at dusk with the smell of pine and smoke and dirt and fresh air.
 so perfect.

lucy slept very well next to me on the cushy bed i made with quilts in our tent. i was more nervous than her, needless to say, and spent much of my night quiet but alert in the dark, hearing my fellow campers breathe, or babies wake up to nurse. i left a head-lamp on in the corner for moral support. lucy woke up happy as a lark to her favorite view:

and to faces like this! sylvan was basically our camping ringleader and class clown. the fun thing about sylvan is he will play with kids of any age and they all actually have fun together. he took oliver and yarrow under his wing and really boosted their interest in walkie talkies.

 i can't believe i am now one of those family campers. i am not just a freewheeling adult who can drink beer and get loud and stay up super late. i am a mama. those who told me about the transition, from maiden to mother, this was one of those moments. i took lucinda into our tent around 10:30 and just relaxed with her and nursed her while our other friends sang camp songs and passed around a bottle. i loved every second of it, my heart snug with sweetest love in our forest nest, but it was interesting to note my new position in the social world.

sleepy morning feedings:

little bundle.

the boys, yarrow and sylvan:

see what i mean, walkie talkie brigade!

our whole group. i recommend group photos. no one ever wants to deal with it at the time but everyone always loves the results. it's a rare day indeed to get all these friends together, from san francisco to the mountains, we love each other.

stopped at the lake before heading home:

sylvan and siri were in heaven. siri was so ecstatic she whined frantically while going after her sticks in the water. she was livin the dream.

good bye lake, trees, mountains, clouds....with our little adventurer who loves the great outdoors, i am sure we'll be back soon!