Monday, June 10, 2013

Welcome, Elsa!

Elsa Marie: 7lbs., 12oz. & 20"

In an instant*, our lives changed forever.

*An instant that was precipitated by 28 hours of labor. But before I make myself into a martyr, the first 20 were spent at home, prompting me to make the comment that "Labor is pretty anti-climactic." (And yes, I knew it was going to get more painful before it was all over.)

At 8:46am on Friday, May 10th, Jon and I became parents...and like a friend warned us, we've been second-guessing every decision we've made since.

We didn't go into parenthood thinking we would know what we were doing--we at least had that much foresight. And we recognize that Elsa is pretty forgiving of our cluelessness. Nonetheless, the past month has been surreal.

My schedule now revolves around naps and nursing, although the multi-tasking perfectionist in me is fighting that ever-present need to cross things off my to-do list. In a weird way, having the laundry done and dishes put away makes me feel calmer. I admit that I'm an utter failure at the "sleep-when-the-baby-sleeps" concept.

That being confessed, the most important thing we've done in the past month is marvel at the miracle that is our daughter, Elsa Marie. It would be incredibly easy to spend the entire day doing what I have termed "Elsa gazing." While her personality will reveal itself in the coming weeks, months, and years, it is so entertaining to just watch her expressions change with her moods. Even her angry face is cute.

Everyone says that kids grow up fast, and it's true that it's hard to believe that an entire month has gone by. Elsa does indeed possess a super-power that enables her to make time move twice as fast as it used to. Before we know it, an hour or two have gone by, the entirety of which has been spent watching her sleep.

Yet, before we get carried away with clich├ęs and mushy sentiments, I feel it's important to recognize what parents everywhere have known since the beginning of time: having a child is hard. We're constantly trying to figure this little girl out (a task I feel will go on for the rest of our lives). Just when we think we've noticed a pattern in sleeping or eating, for instance, the next day is completely different. There have been moments of confidence and success--back to our birth weight at the two-week check-up!--but for every one of those, there have been numerous parenting fails.

We've experienced fussy nights that end with Elsa sleeping upside down and backwards on Jon's leg as he dozes in the pillow fort he's created to prop them both up. We've experienced growth spurts that result in marathon nursing sessions which leave me with sore wrists, arms, and shoulders (among other things). We've experienced spit-up on the bed, on our clothes, and in our hair, most impressive when it comes out of Elsa's nose. And we've discussed poop--both the color and consistency, as well as the frequency--more than we ever thought we would.

It would be easy to be overwhelmed by all of these challenges (and we are very overwhelmed). It would also be easy to take for granted what a blessing this tiny human being is. So, we're trying to stay balanced and recognize that the very best thing we can do is love this sweet little baby, following God's call to be parents. Despite the inevitable ups and downs, we know that we've only just begun the greatest adventure of our lives. If the past month is any indication, it's going to be quite the journey.

Don't be deceived by her beauty (she is pretty, though, isn't she?)...Elsa was peeing on the couch while this photo was being taken, then spit up immediately afterwards.