Thursday, August 19, 2010

One Week Ago, I had a baby.

It's not that I was worried I wouldn't like my baby. But I think maybe I was a bit worried that the motherly instincts button would forget to turn on in me or something, and I would never quite get it. . .
I've been very . . . I don't know what the word is, even-tempered maybe, low-key maybe, realistic maybe, I don't know, but I was very something during my entire pregnancy. I was never over-the-top excited about the change that was about to take place in our lives. I mean, I'm not a robot- I was excited, but it was more something I knew, intellectually, that we wanted for our lives; I was never so emotionally excited about having "a baby!" Shawn and I have a great life together and I was worried about messing with that. I have a great business and I was worried about messing with that. It just sorta felt like a huge risk. I think I experienced the entire 9 months with my fingers crossed, hoping it was gonna be the right decision. And actually, I continued to feel this way through the entire labor. Literally, it wasn't until she was in my arms that I truly felt excited. Somehow seeing and holding this little slimy, bloody, poopy, 6lbs of blue baby girl (the very slimy, bloody, poopy mass I was afraid I would think would be too gross for me to want to touch) made me go from that to this. . .

She is mine. I could sit with her for hours, just feeling her breathe on my chest. I do sit with her for hours just feeling her breathe on my chest. I look at her and feel a mess as tears fall from my eyes for no apparent reason. I'm just happy. I love her. Like crazy. I love Shawn even more because of her. I am floored by how quickly my perception of having this person in our lives has changed- from feeling like something of a sacrifice to feeling like something I am indebted to her forever for bringing to us.

At the risk of sounding overly cliché (which I'm sure I've already done and I'll continue do a lot now) the day Berkeley was born was truly one of the best days of my life.
Here are some images of our time at the hospital those first two days with Berkeley.

My birth experience went nothing like it was "supposed to". It seemed like every single thing I wanted to have happen, didn't. And every single thing I wanted to avoid, happened. As such, I thought I would be more disappointed when all was said and done, but oddly enough, even though nothing went as I wanted it to, it went wonderfully. It was really a perfect experience for me and I feel so grateful that things unfolded like they did.

I keep thinking I'm going to write down the entire birth experience so I'll always have it to remember, but it's been over a week now and I still haven't done it. Luckily though, there's Shawn. And he recorded the whole experience here on his blog. So read there for the complete story.

Strangely, I actually got very excited about the actual birth in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I read a ton about natural birthing, practiced Hypnobirth techniques, went to a Meditation In Labor class, and was feeling really excited about the chance to experience this childbirth thing. I very much wanted to keep it as un-interfered-with an event as possible. I just felt like, "it's a woman having a baby. the same thing that has happened billions of times over throughout time. it's not a medical event. it's childbirth". So yeah, a ton of reading and practice was devoted to prepare for the experience in this way.

But I guess this would be my first lesson in parenthood requiring one to be flexible. Among the many things that didn't go as planned, I started throwing up 24 hours before baby was born and continued to do so the entire time, so I was dehydrated and had to concede to an IV. After several hours and hours of hard labor, I actually regressed and in exhaustion I had to concede to Pitocin, and as I knew would happen, that made the contractions too powerful, and in the end, I had to concede to an Epidural.

I felt defeated and cried a little bit when this happened, but it ended up being just fine. The Epidural didn't get to me until I was at 9 cm, so I was still able to feel like I had the natural chidbirth I wanted for the most part, or at least a natural childlabor. I had been able to experience 20 hours of being loved and supported and encouraged by Shawn, Liesel and my mom, and that was an amazing experience. The three of them were the only reason I was able to get through that time. They let me hang on them, pull on them, squeeze them, blow my nasty day-ol' vomit breath on them. They never left my side. They walked me down the halls, talked me through the pain, got me to rock, bathe, and breathe . . . As much as everything hurt, it was so worth it.

Then when I finally got the epidural, it allowed me to eat a few bites and to sleep for a few hours which gave me the energy and awareness to be a little more present and calm for the actual birth than I would have otherwise been. At this point it was like a completely different experience. I was chatty, and smiley, and even took some pictures.

So I guess I just felt like I got the best of both worlds. And here are some images of our world on that very fine August 12th day.

My team, tired, sweaty, and happy.

I think one of the most lasting images in my head from this day will be of the way baby just stared. I was so surprised at how aware she was. When they put her on my chest in her first few seconds of life, she just stared and me, and she continued to do so later, even through the glass of her little hospital bed.

It was some time before we settled on the name Berkeley. We tried that out for half a day, then tried out Wren for another half a day, and then tried out Clementine for a few hours. To be honest, I was pretty sure she was gonna be Clementine, and if not that, then Wren, but I was thinking that Berkeley was gonna be the least likely of the three on our list. But in the end, about one hour before we left the hospital, we named her Berkeley Lynn Kessler and signed off on it :) And then we bundled her up in clothes that were way too big for her and a hat from Aunt Jeanne and took our baby home.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Baby Necklace

I have officially cooked my baby 2 full days longer than the recipe suggested, but I'll gladly take the extra days as I'm of course still trying to cram a million things in before I split in two.

And one of those things was to take some pictures of me wearing this necklace (while pregnant), which I can check off as of today! So thank you baby for waiting.

This is just a silly little thing, but I have loved wearing this necklace while being pregnant. I think I would have loved it no matter what, just cause, holy CUTE. But I love it even more because Shawn's mom wore it when she was pregnant with him! And it just feels fun to be a part of something passed on like that.