This Sunday, my son will be eight weeks old. That’s how I talk now. I have plunged into the strange, wonderful, and sometimes terrifying, world of parenting, and now I talk like a parent. Non-parents ask “oh how old is he?” and I say “seven weeks” while not making eye contact with them because I am instead beaming at my own offspring (even though I pretty much look at him all day every day, and to be honest, I sometimes do get sick of it). They say “oh. ok…” and look up at the sky or ceiling and I can see them thinking “what does that fucking mean? how many weeks are in a month anyways? why the fuck do these people talk this way?” And I feel bad, I really do. I probably should have said “about a month and a half” or something like that. But I’ve already moved on. See, my kid and I are having a really complex conversation now about who has feet and it turns out I am just desperate to know. Who does? Who has feet? No really.
This Sunday, my son will be eight weeks old, and I have not written here in ages and ages. Too much has happened. Too much has changed. I have been a new kind of busy that is hard to describe and truthfully, hard to comprehend myself most of the time. Currently my wife is working and I am not, and she comes home to me looking glazed over, overwhelmed and confused, wondering both where did the day go? but also how on earth was it so long?
I gave birth to W on Sunday, May 24th, by caesarian section, after an attempted homebirth. We had planned a homebirth based on the premise that birth is a natural function of the human body that mostly works, but we had also planned to transfer to the hospital if the situation warranted it based on the premise that you know, sometimes it doesn’t work. It didn’t work. Depending on how you count these things, my labor was either just under a week long (with a short break in the middle), or just under two days long. I count it the first way, because I was there and I was working my ass off. We went to the hospital because things were progressing at a shockingly slow pace, and I was so tired as to be completely delirious and unable to do anything except think about death.
I’m still working out my complicated feelings about the labor and birth, but I know two things for sure:
1. I do not regret the planned homebirth.
2. I do not regret the eventual C-section.
So my wife stood next to my head in what amounted to a space suit made out of dryer sheets while a doctor I had only met once cut into me and took out a human being. I was so doped up, and my teeth were chattering so loudly from all the medications, that I could not hear my son’s first cry. But I saw the light steal over my wife’s face when she saw her child for the first time, as he was lifted up and out of my body. The OR staff was all very courteous, and no one shouted “it’s a boy!” like the do in the movies. Instead Chelsea came back to me after inspecting him, and quietly whispered the masculine-of-center name we had picked out for a male child.
If I wanted to explain parenting a young infant to you in the terms of poetic moments (and I do) I would say it is like this:
You are catching your breath as you hear your child giggle for the very first time, and suddenly your gasp turns into something else and the both of you are laughing joyously together. You are struck by how ridiculous your life has become , as you wipe human breastmilk off the bedroom floor with a dirty skirt. You are tiptoeing into the room, avoiding making eye contact with the baby. You are taking his clothing out of the wash wondering how the hell he has grown out of everything already. You are sobbing on the bed next to a wailing baby wondering if there is any hope left in all the world and why you ever thought you could handle this. You are waking up to feed him in the night, and it should be annoying but somehow it is the sweetest hour of the whole day.
A lot has happened since I last wrote, and since the birth, for that matter. I am a mother now, and I have postpartum depression, and I have new scars. I’m just starting to get to a place where I can think beyond “oh god is there food in the house?” and “does someone else want to change the baby this time?” and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and observations again.