V was born 37 weeks and one day ago today. This means she’s been living outside me for longer than she was inside me. It’s arbitrary, but it feels like an important milestone.
Then: 7 lbs 11 oz
Now: 23 lbs 8 oz–ish
Then: strawberry blond hair cropped close to her head
Now: the hair she was born with is longer than the rest and clings to her forehead in copper waves
Then: cornflower blue eyes
Now: sky blue eyes with a white ring around the pupil
Then: not a tooth in her head
Now: one tooth and a second one about to break through any moment
She’s gone from a scrawny foetus booting up for the first time to a large, chubby baby who takes in the world around her. Because she’s so big for her age (97th percentile for weight and 95th percentile for height) she doesn’t seem very acrobatic — she has rolled from front to back and back to front, but doesn’t do it regularly; she’s not crawling or pulling herself up. I’m not worried because she is active in other ways — kicking excitedly, grabbing toys, waving her hands, bouncing holding on to me, doing crunches to get a better view, sitting up for extended periods of time — but I think I will mention this at our nine-month paediatric appointment next week to confirm our theory.
DH and I think she’s more of an observer anyway. She studies the world around her. Her head swivels in all directions when she’s paying attention to something. About a month ago, long before we gave her a sippy cup, she grabbed Grandma’s glass of water with both hands and raised it to her mouth before we could stop her. None of us taught her that — she’d learned by watching us. She’s learned so much.
And what have I learned in these 37 weeks?
God, am I patient these days. It takes longer to leave the house. The place is in a constant state of chaos. We eat dinner late. I don’t have much time to catch up with friends and family. There’s always something to be done and, holy mackerel with a cherry on top, do I ever understand the expression ‘Not enough hours in the day’!
I’ve plucked up the nerve to make new mama friends. True to the English side of my upbringing, I am not very good at initiating conversation with a stranger. But strike up a conversation with me and I’ll talk your ear off! My efforts have paid off and I have a few lovely mama friends now.
How to relax.
My MIL has remarked at how surprised she is that I am so relaxed. I am surprised by how relaxed I am! A barista at the place we buy our coffee beans from remarked that I was probably “the most calm mom [she’d] ever seen” and that she hopes she can be as calm as I am when she’s a mom some day. I tell you, that was music to my ears and they are still ringing months later. But I gently explained that after everything I’ve been through I think I am better at not sweating the small stuff. And part of that means accepting I am not and will never be a perfect mother, and that’s okay.
How to embrace my infertility.
I’ve outed myself on Facebook. Shared with strangers who have become friends that V is here thanks to the generosity of a woman we’ve never met. I think about the pain of losing Bean and my infertility journey daily. But I wouldn’t change a thing. If I could wave a wand… well, then I wouldn’t have V. Enough said.
I don’t know what I believe.
I used to be an atheist. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe things happen for a reason. I don’t actually believe that The Universe has plans for any of us. But for some reason I cannot shake the thought that V is Bean. It’s the same energy. Although I think about the pain I was in after my miscarriage, I haven’t grieved Bean in a long time. I don’t expect this to make sense to anyone but me, but I think it’s because that little spirit came back. He had a part in V’s survival and in that way he is V.
Sleep is overrated.
Well, not really. But I am a.m.a.z.e.d. by how well I can function on so little.