We’re at the end of 2017, which means my baby is about to turn one. This is bizarre to me. I look at my child, waddling around (walking!), never sitting still, acutely aware of everything going on, trying to speak to us, taking the snacks we hand her directly to our dog… and I think, has it really only been a year? But also, has it already been an entire year?
It’s been a year. And despite my near absence online since her birth, I did document it. Now I want to share it, and I’m going to begin at (almost) the beginning – Eliza’s first month of life – January 2017. (Her birth is too big for me right now… maybe we’ll get to that later). Here are some of my thoughts and memories (truly I have so much more to say, but I will keep most of it contained to personal conversations).
What I remember most about the beginning was how slow it felt, and how impossibly unpredictable. The way you used to live your life is simply blown away – there is no more planning the week or tomorrow or even the rest of the day. I’m not terribly organized but I found this to be a shock to my being. To push through it I would tell myself that I can get through the minute, and we’ll worry about the next one when it’s over. I did have postpartum anxiety, so likely that was part of the problem. But I would find myself wondering – would I ever get any semblance of normalcy back? Would I ever know how a day would likely play out and get to stop living life minute to minute?
(*SPOILER* for those of you about to have your first babe: the answer is yes, absolutely, and of course.)
The lack of predictability left me somewhat paralyzed most of the time. I would hold Eliza and just stay still. I couldn’t figure out how to get up and get anything done. I was terrified of her crying or waking up because I always thought, what if I can’t get her to stop? What if feeding doesn’t help? What if I can’t figure out why she’s doing it? Now, twelve months later, I want to yell at myself – “Hannah, chill out!! It’s fine! Babies cry!” I want to think that the next time I have a child, should I be so lucky, I will be more relaxed and less anxious. I work with newborns at the hospital now and their crying doesn’t even make me flinch anymore. Hopefully this level of calm will carry into my personal life in the future.
The anxiety was rough, and the hormones worse. I thought pregnancy was bad, but during pregnancy I still felt some inkling of control. Not so afterward. I cried for no reason, literally all of the time. Sometimes I would laugh while crying because it was just so ridiculous. Chris would glance over at me across the room and exclaim, for the tenth time in an hour, “Oh baby, not again!”. *The Weepies*, it’s called. Makes it sound cute and tiny. You’re taught that hormones are a powerful thing, a chemical floating around your body, aiding your body and mind, but jeez. The impact they have on your physical actions is actually insane, and this was extremely clear in Eliza’s first month.
In the foreground of all of my personal issues, though, was Eliza. She was there. Here. In our world. Adorable, with that distinct Remavege face. She made these noises, coos, and squeaks that were so cute I couldn’t take it (and probably cried). She was so tiny and perfect that the thought of her growing and changing would somewhat destroy me (and I cried about it a lot). Her hair was soft and brown but her eyebrows invisible… so I had a feeling she’d eventually be blonde. She had a stork bite above her right eye, several sharp red spots. Her eyes were the color of a clear winter sky. She would watch us, stare right at us, and the fact that she was previously inside of me seemed most unlikely. Surely she’d always been a part of this world?
Here are some photos we took in her first month. Forgive our appearance, it was January and we had a less-than-one-month-old. #Noshame. And if I look like I’m about to cry in some pictures, it’s because I was. I was always about to cry!
I took notes every month this year on Eliza’s personality, characteristics, or milestones. Here are my notes on Eliza’s first month:
Smiles in her sleep
Doesn’t burp easily
But has big, loud, echoing, satisfying burps when she actually does
Likes to sleep with her face smooshed against you
Sleeps best on daddy’s chest
Loves the swing
Hates the bassinet
Is not a fan of tummy time
Loves to move, stretch, wiggle and dance when awake
Likes a bath, but hates being put in and hates being taken out
Hates facing your body when awake and being held
Loves to look at the world
Has a very strong neck
Giggles in her sleep
Loves to eat
Is always in footie pajamas
Would rather be held during the day
Carries lint in her fists for days, won’t let go
Is not usually awoken by loud noises, like the dog barking
Likes the pacifier, but doesn’t love it
Has gained a little more than one ounce a day since birth
Gosh I miss holding the little curled up peanut body she was! Her legs were always scrunched up against her belly and never properly in the pajamas.
That stork bite!
And I put together some videos of Eliza in January:
Until a post on month two (maybe? am I that put together now? probably not), xoxo,