The New Normal

He’s finally here!

Our sweet son was born last Saturday, 9/10/16, at 11:52 am, just an hour and a half after we arrived at the hospital (though after many more hours of labor at home).  The midwife nearly missed the affair, arriving at the second push.

My parents took the other two kids for the week, so my husband and I have been home alone with this new one.  We have been drinking in his soft soft newskin, curled leg cuddles and succession of suspicious looks he directs at us.  I am relieved to have him out of my body and in my arms.

The house has been quiet.  I never noticed how peaceful our neighborhood is before.  

Like childbirth, this homecoming and postpartum week has been surreal.  I remember feeling this way when we brought my other two home–like you are living outside of time, in an alternate reality.  You gaze in wonder at those around you doing normal things like having garage sales and mowing their lawn and marvel at their ignorance.  Have they not felt the cosmic shift of a new soul breaking into our atmosphere?  

Life will never be the same.

Our windows have been open all week, early fall breezes sashaying into the living room as my husband and I share the responsibility of feeding for the first time.  Our son hasn’t figured this breastfeeding thing out yet, so this particular dance of life looks like nursing a short time, then pumping as my husband bottle feeds our little one.  

I’m trying to not let it break my heart. I nurse, then watch him greedily feast on the bottle.  My offering feels inadequate.  My pride in not being his sole provider is pricked.

But my husband gently reminded me that this dance is not about me.  It’s about our son.  And he is growing and thriving under this rhythm my husband and I are waltzing together.

Our son wakes every two and a half to three hours, rolling and gnawing his fists.  For the night vigil,  I groggily scoop him up and head downstairs.  When it’s time for the bottle, I call my husband and he takes our babe to feed him while I pump.  We’ve already binge-watched the entire last season of Downtown Abbey, laughing and crying together in the wee hours of the morning.

Though this is not what I hoped for, there is goodness in it.  Unexpected gifts and new connections with this man I am privileged to love first. We are bonding in and through our exhaustion, new solidarity rising up between us.  “We” are tired, now.  “We” need to feed the baby.  “We” are his primary caregivers.  Not just me.

My other children arrive home in just an hour and our new normal will begin.

I miss them as if a piece of myself has been absent all week, not quite knowing who I am apart from them.  But I’m also bracing myself for the challenges, noise and stress.  Yet I’m thrilled for them to fall in love with their brother as we have.

I’m trusting that though God does not promise rest right now, He does guarantee strength measured out in its perfect portion.  Just as my son looks to us on an hourly basis, so we are looking to our Father to fill us, only to be emptied again…and again…and again.

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength…” 
Isaiah 40:29-31a

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