Month one

Dear Eleanor,

Today you turned one month old. Your arrival has turned our lives upside-down in many ways, partly because we’re so tired and partly because we’re in awe that such an amazing little person popped out.

Eleanor - Popping out

I borrowed the idea of writing a monthly letter from a blog that I read, though it might be wishful thinking on my part to imagine that I’ll have the time to keep this up.

The past month has been difficult, but not as difficult as we expected. Your sleeping, not your sleeplessness, has been the problem. The first week after your birth, we had to wake you up every three hours to feed you. And you were such a sound sleeper. The nurses told us to take off all your clothes to wake you. You would open your eyes for the briefest moment, then close them again because, heck, you were used to being naked.

Eleanor - Used to it

There was extra urgency to all of these feedings because your blood sugar was low after your birth. And every low blood sugar reading would require three more tests after successive feedings to make sure you were doing OK. You had three or four bandages on each of your tiny heels – where they had pricked you over and over. I’m certain those bandages caused me more agony than the needles caused you. The nurses said you barely cried.

But you have rebounded from all those tests. Your cheeks have plumped up, and you’re constantly lifting your head now – just to show off your newest talent, I think. You constantly grunt and groan, and you cry often, but you always seem to have a good reason. As long as I keep you moving so that you have a new piece of furniture or patch of ceiling to stare at, you’re content. Before your birth, I was terrified at the thought of breastfeeding, but now it’s one of my favorite activities – during the day, at least. We’re getting better at it, but your chin and cheeks are always dripping at the end of each feeding. And you still bang your head against my collar bone – and then wail – as I try to burp you.

Eleanor - bumping

The noise from all your bodily functions has flabbergasted me. You are not shy about passing gas in a crowded room. You concentrate so intensely on this that your brow furrows. And your burps? Wow. You sound like a 300-pound football player who just downed a liter of soda. I have not been nearly as disgusted by all of this as I expected to be. And actually, I felt immense pride when your Grandma M was here and you rocketed poop at her repeatedly while she tried to change your diaper. You’ll understand someday when you have a mother-in-law.

Last night, when we went to change you into your pajamas, the same ones you wore home from the hospital, you were too tall for them. What a bittersweet moment. I’d like to keep you as this tiny, cuddly newborn, but you have a personality waiting to emerge and a world waiting for your exploration. And I know that even as you grow, I’ll always remember you this way.

Eleanor - sized up