6.04.2012

ON HENRY HOLBROOK'S FIRST WEEK HOME

This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I'll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories (projects/ideas/etc) with you over there. Stay tuned for more details!
henry holbrook, three days old

these disney baby posts have been a chance to write down what i wish i'd thought to write down when henry holbrook was very, very little. so as i ran errands today, and made lunch, and then cleaned lunch off the floor... i thought about the very beginning of henry holbrook. i tried to imagine the gaps in my account of his life in this blog. what didn't i write about? here is my chance. so here goes. henry holbrook's first week home.
henry holbrook, three days old

henry holbrook was born an old soul. it was one of the first things i noticed about him when he was laid on my chest in the delivery room, his poor head all smooshed after spending a full forty-five minutes with half his head stuck on one side of life and half his head on the other. he was all smooshed and he looked so insulted. and i remember thinking, staring at that indignant face of his, "kid! do you have any idea how hard i worked to get you here?" and i did. i worked hard. forty-five minutes of crowning, three hours of pushing, five hours of laboring, thirty-nine weeks and six days of cooking, two months of clomid, twenty-one months of ovulation sticks and negative pregnancy tests and day counting and trying all kinds of weird stuff, plus two years of waiting before that for my husband to finally agree it was "the time." oh yes, i worked hard. the least he could do was show me some appreciation! but he had his own ideas from the very beginning, and i could tell. i could see them on his face. from that first moment and ever since, any time it seemed he was trying to tell me something, i'd hush up and listen. nod my head somberly at whatever he told me. i figured out very early on that what i wanted my babies to know above all else, was that i heard them. that would be my legacy. that i always listened patiently, and that i always tried to understand. 

henry holbrook, five days old

the beginning of henry holbrook felt like a never ending sunday night. you know when it's sunday and your body clock tells you it's late, but miraculously it's somehow only a few minutes past four, and it's dusky out and you're lazily cooped up inside, nowhere to go and nothing to rush you? that's what henry holbrook's first days felt like to me. i would stare at his face and time would drip by so slowly, and so quickly, and pass me a burp rag please and hey, is there any fruit left in the fridge? my memories of that time are as blurry as this photo, taken on halloween when henry holbrook was just five days old, when everything felt woozy and sleepy and delicious. 


henry holbrook, six days old
(this last one makes me cry every. blasted. time.)

i ate fruit that first week like it was going out of style. i couldn't stand the thought of anything that wasn't 80% water or higher. we had the air on full blast and the baby wrapped up burrito-tight and i just sweated and sweated off all that weight as i patted and bounced and shushed. it was gross and sort of primal. i'd put a shirt on in the morning and it lasted all of ten minutes before it was off in a frustrated crumple on the floor. more than twice i answered the door in nothing but yoga pants and a nursing bra. henry holbrook's first week was strictly clothing optional.

henry holbrook, two days old

on day three my milk let down with a vengeance. if my body needed convincing to make a baby, it needed hardly any encouragement to fatten him up. i'll never forget waking up that morning, walking to the bathroom for a shower, taking one look at the girls in the mirror and thinking whaaaaaaat? i couldn't wait to show brandon. look but don't touch! ouch. never in his wildest imagination, i tell you what. G, is what the bra fitter measured me at that day. if you think i am exaggerating... i'm not! for once. up past my clavicles, hard as rocks. imagine that barreling toward your face and now you know how it felt to be henry holbrook.

natalie holbrook, mom of two days

we did not have an easy time nursing, not at first. my milk was overeager and henry holbrook was quite unimpressed. he'd scream and fuss and he had horrible reflux. it was hard. and nursing really hurt. but i was weirdly calm and patient about it. i was nothing at all like me, actually. i was getting at peek at mom-me and i was sort of in awe at her. mom-me has a much cooler head than normal-me. at about three months in, it suddenly clicked, and then, then he got really fat. since then we've had the best of luck, and nursing has been one of my favorite parts of motherhood. (good trick i learned: nurse only on one side, for as many as three feedings in a row, no switching. cleared things up in about a week.) 

henry holbrook, four days old

every night that first week around 9PM a strange sadness would set in as i realized that another day with henry holbrook so brand new was ending. i was exquisitely aware that this experience was never going to happen to me again. not that i wouldn't have more babies (knock on wood!), but that no matter how many i had, or however many times i'd get to hold a freshly born baby of my own, just three days old--it was never going to be like this, ever again. i wouldn't get to experience a first baby a second time. and oh, there is just something about a first baby, and something so beautiful about a first time mom. i tried my best that first week to bottle every feeling up and cork a lid on it; save some for later. if i could go anywhere, anywhere in this whole world, i'd go back to that first week. that first week i was more than just myself: i was somebody's entire existence. and i had nothing to do with my days but just gaze and gaze and gaze at his serious, thoughtful little face, and sleep when he slept, and nod my head when he wanted to tell me something, and dream about the whole life that lay ahead of us.

the next disney baby post:
on pregnancy face, pregnancy arms, pregnancy elbows, 
and feeling pretty anyway, 
or at least trying to

63 comments :

  1. AnonymousJune 04, 2012

    I love this. I can't wait for the rest of your disney baby posts.

    so beautiful

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  2. That was such a lovely post! You seem like such a wonderful mommy :)

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  3. AnonymousJune 04, 2012

    I wished that someone had told me how hard breastfeeding could be; it took four months with my first! And each time after it has been so different. Sweet baby & baby Mama!

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  4. this was an absolutely beautiful post. though i've only been married for just under a year and my husband and i both agree that this is most definitely not the right time for babies, you made me want one. and bad.

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  5. Gah!! My husband and I have just started trying to get pregnant this past month (maybe I already am pregnant and don't know yet...I am not holding my breath), and I already have baby fever. I didn't think I could want a baby more, but now I do! That is the sweetest thing I have ever read. I hope hope hope that someday soon I will get to experience being a first time mama. Love your blog so much, I read it every single day.

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  6. Natalie.. this has to be one of my favorite posts I've ever read on your blog. It was just so beautiful and emotionally real. I look forward to someday, becoming pregnant and holding my own first baby in my arms. You have been given such a blessing in Henry. I pray you get to experience holding another little newborn of your own someday soon.
    Janell

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  7. I knew from the title this would be good! so beautiful and thoughtful. makes me feel more sure of wanting to be a mother one day.

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  8. Such a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing these special little moments-- you're one beautiful mama, natalie!
    xo

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  9. that last picture is still one of my favorites of you & huck ever. evvvver. :D so far!

    lovely post, as well!

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  10. such a beautiful post. i realize that those times are blurry for me too. but i got tears in my eyes every time your words helped me remember. you're right, being a first time mom is so special. but being a second time mom will be really cool too. :-)

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  11. what a sweet post, natalie. you described the first week of motherhood perfectly. i cannot wait for more disney baby posts.

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  12. what a beautiful post! my second babe is due in 16 days (16!?) and it just makes me all tingly thinking of those first days again. mine were rather rough with my first, but i'm still so excited to do it all over again. thanks for sharing!

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  13. How did you lose your baby fat so fast? Share with us!!

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  14. I know JUST what you mean about watching your mom-me self with a little bit of wonder. I see parts of myself I never dreamed were there before I had a baby.

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  15. what a beautiful way to remember your first week as a mother. you are just glowing in these pictures! and you always make me giggle no matter what in your posts. especially with the whole G scenario. too perfect! ha
    xo TJ

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  16. haha loved the description of the size G boobs! Needing to read the next post as I am 5 months pregnant!

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  18. Love this! Oh man, you always kick my baby fever into high gear!

    val
    www.daily-distraction.com

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  19. This was so sweet! I get the feeling I will like these Disney baby posts... :)

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  20. Natalie, I loved this entire post, but your last paragraph was golden! (And it made me tear up, which I never do while blog-reading!) I remember that first week so well, how I mourned the loss of my pregnancy and each day my baby grew a day older, and I could never get any of those "firsts" back. I remember crying when there was no more meconium

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  21. I am so excited for these posts! This was a great one. Can't wait for my first week with my own little nugget in September. I'm excited for the next post-pretty sure my husband is tired of hearing me complain about this awkward pregnant body.

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  22. i never comment here, but how could i not comment on this?! you capture that first week so perfectly (especially the milk-coming-in experience)! love this and love you!

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  23. Could that have touched me more? I think not. You make motherhood look good; and motherhood looks good on you. I pray I can find as much joy and tenderness as you when I (someday) have my first week as a mommy. Those red haired boys are lucky to have you.

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  24. Oh my how I would LOVE to go back to that first week, month, two years before my second came. It was the most magical time of my 36 year existence. My heart yearns for it, and sometimes my desire almost makes me cry. You love the next babies just as much, but it's never just you and that precious soul fresh from heaven again. Oh how I ache for it!

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  25. You write so, so well. That was lovely, and so v touching (and Im not even a mamma!)

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  26. Your writing is beyond good. I get lost in your words. This post was beautiful and it made me soooo excited to become a mommy one day (hopefully soon). Look forward to the next baby disney post:)
    Thank you for sharing your story and heart with us.

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  27. beautiful, just beautiful. I too loved my first week as a mama, albeit mine was spent in nicu. it was still the most wonderful, exhilarating week full of new emotions and love. oh, the love.

    (can't wait to read more of your Disney posts.)

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  28. This is beautiful, Natalie. Thanks for sharing!!!

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  29. Every post about Huck makes me weepy, but you really did it this time!

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  30. Love your blog! A friend got me onto it the other day and I've been devouring your posts. You make me have hope that there is a baby in sight for us! Thanks for brightening my day. xxx

    P.S Huck is the coolest baby and the coolest name. EVER!

    http://thesequinedcollar.blogspot.com.au/

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  31. Love love love this post!

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  32. I loved it, Nat!
    With your words I recalled the birth of my baby
    Thank you
    Kisses!!

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  33. Huck is such a cute little baby and especially the one with him in the onesie! Can't believe he was so tiny! Feel like squishing him.

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  34. Natalie, this was absolutely beautiful. I remember feeling the same way with our first baby. That first week is wonderful and blurry! I am so, so glad you wrote this.

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  35. Sweetest, most beautiful story ever. Can't wait for those feelings.

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  36. thoughts on this post:

    a) 45 mins of crowning? you are a saint. I did about two and that was enough.
    b) I love nursing too.
    c) I'm with you on the overwhelming awareness of each day ending. bittersweet.

    great post, Natalie.

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  37. I'm going to pretend you're writing these posts just for me. You make me so, so excited to be a mom, Natalie.

    And PS, it's unbelievable how fresh you looked two days after giving birth. SO FRESH.

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  38. Good grief, lady, you should write a whole book someday. You take the simplest, most common experiences and perfect them for the imagination. I can almost feel what you must have felt. You make me want a babies more and more.

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  39. Such beautiful memories. Henry is lucky he will be able to read this someday!

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  40. You make motherhood sound so beautiful. Right now we have fur-babies, but one day I hope to experience this. It sounds like a slice of heaven.

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  41. This is so beautifully written. It makes me incredibly excited for August when my sweet baby comes. =)

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  42. AnonymousJune 05, 2012

    these are such sweet, beautiful pictures.

    www.wewouldlovetoadopt.blogspot.com

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  43. Aaah.. I have always wished I had written something like this about my son's first week of life. First week of everything. So brand new, so exciting. Sometimes i feel like you put in writing my unarticulated thoughts. Love your blog Natalie!

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  44. it's good to remember these memories :) henry boy is a cutie.

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  45. OH boy! He is just so darn cute and you have just so beautifully captured the stillness of life at home during the first days of your very first little one's life.

    xoxo,
    Nicole
    localsugarhawaii.com

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  46. The last paragraph perfectly describes exactly how I felt right after my son was born.
    It was miraculous. It was transformative. It was literally life-giving. It was pure and natural. It was perfect. And in that moment, experiencing a miracle, I was fully aware of how quickly it would pass.
    That, for me, was as heartbreaking as it was beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  47. I loved this! It makes me that much more excited to welcome my first baby, a baby boy into this world this October. :)

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  48. this was such a sweet (and funny!) post. baby huck is so adorable!

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  49. AnonymousJune 05, 2012

    Oh golly I loved this. It made me incredibly nostalgic for those magical, precious, exhausted, terrified, besotted early days with my little man. I won't have another for various reasons so they are even more precious, those memories. Thank you for bringing them back.

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  50. I spent the first weeks of my daughter's life flailing a bit because it wasn't like my first baby- her older brother. My God, it's fuzzy and scary and ethereal. Magic. Period. With my second baby my milk came in with much less "HOORAH, BEATCH!" (it was more like "Hullo there, old chap") and I already knew how to burp and diaper and rock and sense when baby was tired/hungry/justoverit and and and... well, I was expecting it to be more like HIM. Like this post. But I finally had to let that go because there really is only one first, and my second baby is sublime in all her own way.

    Loved this, if you couldn't tell.

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  51. Your picture on Henry's second day, taking him for a walk on a beautiful NY street is my DREAM! Every part about it! Ahh some day...
    -Monica
    www.freakoutanddropdead.com

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  52. Crying, the good tears. You are an amazing writer.

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  53. Oh wow, beautiful words. I think I'm going to have to bookmark this post. I'm in absolute (good) tears over here... especially since I'm three months away from becoming a first-time mom. (yay!)

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  54. This is such a beautiful post. I read it when you first posted it and have been thinking about my own experience ever since.

    I feel sad, but I wish I had the insight to try and enjoy and drink in the whole experience of my first week of motherhood. Instead of being sad at the end of the day that my baby was a whole day older, I was sad that it was night time and that I would want to get a few hours of sleep but that I wouldn't be able to. It sounds so very selfish now, and it makes me sad. I spent the majority of my first week horrendously exhausted, crying a lot, trying to figure out the nursing thing, but mostly just holding my baby boy as he screamed all night long. It was a blur. A huge, huge blur. I did have moments where I felt OVERWHELMING feelings of love. Like, I could feel love tangibly flowing through my veins. But I spent a lot of time in a zombie-ish state for the first six months of motherhood.

    I look back now and try to remember the sweet moments amidst the trying ones and hold on to those memories as much as I can.
    Being a mother has taught me a new level of unselfishness. Someday I hope to experience it all over again and remind myself in the hard times that "this too shall pass".

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  55. I love this post. Mostly because it brought back so many memories for me. I remember distinctly some of those first nights and it is true that you cannot get them back, I wish I could though.

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  56. I just love this post. My little man turns 4 months old this Sunday, so these are nights are still fresh on my mind. :) I literally laughed out loud when I read the clothing optional, breastfeeding thing...I had to read it to my husband, too, because I know he was thinking I was crazy with my wardrobe options during that time. I'm really glad I found your blog. I live miles away in Tennessee, but it's fun to read about your happenings in New York. :) Thank you...

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  57. i found you through rockstar diaries' series of "advice to a new mother." yours was exactly what i needed to hear at that exact moment that it brought me to tears. it fit into my heart-- a fragile one lately as a first time mama trying to soak it up and learn it all at the same time.

    Your words calmed me and made me feel less alone in this learning of motherhood. For that reassurance, i can not thank you enough. xo

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  58. It needed no such encouragement to fatten that baby up. i'll never forget waking up that morning, padding https://www.rx247.net to the bathroom for a shower, taking one look at the girls in the mirror and thinking whaaaaaaat? i raced out of the bathroom to show brandon. never in his wildest imagination, i tell you what.

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  59. Your most recent post about the end of nursing made me cry. So I started reading back some of your old posts, and here I am crying over and over again. Your words are so perfect, so right on. You describe everything so beautifully, thank you so much for sharing them with us all.

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  60. Henry is looking very cute and you are very caring him. You make motherhood look good; and motherhood looks good on you. I pray someone can find as much joy and tenderness as you when one has one's first week as a mommy. Those red haired boys are lucky to have you. healthcare entry level jobs

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  61. In your article you define comprehensively about the beginning of henry holbrook felt like a never ending sunday night. you know when it's sunday and your body clock tells you it's late, but miraculously it's somehow only a few minutes past four, and it's dusky out and you're lazily cooped up inside, nowhere to go and nothing to rush you? that's what henry holbrook's first days felt like to me which is exceptionally awesome work. vendajes neuromusculares

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