Apr 20, 2011

Dear Daughter: One Month

Dear Vivienne,

A month ago you came into our lives. I've already documented the amazing experience that was your birth, and everything since then has been equally amazing. After you arrived at home, we went by ambulance to the hospital. At a mere 15 minutes old, you had started breastfeeding, and I knew you were going to be an advanced baby. We spent one night in the uncomfortable and sterile hospital room, with constant interruptions and some painful heel pricks for you. But you were happy as soon as they were done, and we got to take you home the next day with top marks for your health.

The next two nights were rough to say the least. We hadn't yet figured out each other's rhythms, and I wasn't swaddling you because I thought it was cruel to restrain your arms at night. Also, my milk hadn't come in and as a 9lb 7oz baby, you weren't getting what you needed from colustrum. On the third night, my milk had come in, and I swaddled you, and you went from howling all night, to sleeping so long that I had to wake you for feeding. The next day we all felt like a million bucks, and although we had always loved you, we now had the energy to enjoy you too.

Your sleeping success hit a snag when you went through your three week growth spurt. It felt like someone had taken my lovely, non-fussing baby away and replaced her with a rapacious locust. For about four days, you nursed constantly, spat up and cried. I was close to my wit's end, but after googling growth spurts, I felt better about it as a normal stage of development. Last night, you fed for a few hours before going asleep, but then slept for 5 hours so I feel confident that we are getting back to normal.

Speaking of Google, I am reminded that I need to apologize for failing to meet my promise to keep the neurotic worrying to a minimum. I have spent much of the last month worrying about every little thing you do, and turning to Google, WebMD, TheBump or other resources to assure myself that you are perfectly healthy. I won't begin to list the various conditions that I have convinced myself you are suffering from, but I am happy to say that you are in perfect health, and as time has progressed I am feeling more confident about my parenting skills' ability to keep you that way. I should mention that we have had our first family trip to the emergency room. I bumped your head as I was walking through a doorway. I panicked and called the pediatrician, but as it was close to midnight the answering service sent us to the ER. You were alert, nursing and showing no unusual signs, so the doctor diagnosed me as being a first-time mom. He also advised your Dad against uttering the words, "I told you so." Smart doctor!

Moms are always biased, so I will share other people's opinions of you instead. We've been told over and over that you have perfect features. Your head has a beautiful shape and your skin has a lovely tone. This is likely owing to the speed at which you were born, meaning you didn't get subjected to "molding" or the other injuries of childbirth. You have been incredibly alert compared to babies your age, and lots of people have commented on that. Your Nana Mary has availed of your alertness via daily Skype conversations and loves how responsive you are. We've also chatted with your Granddad, Step-grandmother, Uncles Sam and Ben, and Summer the puppy online. I've tried to spend your active time reading books and listening to classical music. Your Dad thinks I am silly, but I want you to have the best start, and it's a better use of my time than watching Desperate Housewives reruns on Netflix.

You have begun to show signs of smiling. You gave your Dad a huge beaming smile, but that was when you were only a couple of weeks old so no one believes us. I saw it, so I know it was more than gas. Since then you have smiled at the ceiling fan, your Dad some more, the monkey decals in your bedroom, and your musical elephant toy. No smiles for Mom as of yet, but I am your patient servant!

You have had a number of visitors already. Your Great-grandmother was the first to stay at the house, and you two got along so well that your father and I were able to spend some time together and run errands. Your next visitor is your Grandfather and Uncle Sam who are coming over from Ireland tomorrow. Then, Uncle Ben hopes to come visit but we have to see how his Army training schedule goes. Finally, Nana Mary is going to stay with us for a couple of months after my maternity leave ends so that you don't have to go to daycare too early. We also had a playdate with the Moms and babies from the centering pregnancy group I attended. We're going to make a regular meeting of it, and it was wonderful getting to show you off, and to meet my friends' little babies.

Although it has only been a month, I still can't believe you are here. I was warned by many mothers, including my own, how wholly and completely I would fall in love with you, but they failed miserably to describe fully the intensity of the love that comes with motherhood. I find myself spending large amounts of time gazing at you like and idiot. I really have become fascinated by this perfect little life that I have here, and how my purpose has become to keep your life as perfect as possible. Despite the sleep-deprivation, being pooped, peed and vomited on, and being omitted from the smiling, this last month has been the best of my life. I have loved getting to know you and I can't wait to see you and your personality grow. Thank you for letting me be your Mom.

I love you, Princess,


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