(Harris’ birthday was actually last week on the 13th, and I started writing this then…. I’m just now getting around to finishing it. Poor guy has such a slacker mom!)
A year ago today I experienced one of the most incredible transitions of life. Harris was born… all by himself. All by myself. There were a few words of encouragement by the midwife, she confirmed that my pushing was at the right time, and she and Clay caught him together. The rest was us, Harris and me. I had been ready for him to come out for awhile, but he took his time to get things started, and then he straight FLEW out of me! (three hour labor, start to finish) Over the past year I’ve reflected on his birth quite a bit. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I loved it. Not just the having him, but the process of waiting and helping him come. I literally labored for him…. the pain was meaningful and productive, and somehow the process of feeling it completely and surrendering to what my body instinctively knew how to do in labor was significant to me. I gained a much greater love and appreciation for my body and what I’m capable of, what God designed and empowered me to do. There have been times over this past year when I don’t feel strong or when I’m discouraged about something my body is doing (not making enough milk, not losing weight) and I remember what I did when I birthed Harris. It’s something I come back to and am reminded that hey, my body did something pretty darn amazing! It carried and nourished and birthed another human life! I feel so blessed to have had that gift, and it changed the way I see my body. My body may have struggled to nourish Harris with a complete supply of breastmilk, but it sure did something right and amazing when it carried and birthed him. I may be a little softer and rounder than I was before, but my body has been strong and instinctively intelligent as a mom. I will always come back to Harris’ labor and birth as something that my body was awesome at.
This year has been crazy. The first six months of Harris’ life I wasn’t always sure that I liked him a lot. I loved him a bunch, but good grief, that boy kept me tired! He was a screamy, non-sleeping baby who literally woke-up about 5-7 times per night… for about four months. Really, he was probably about 9 months old before I consistently slept more than 3 straight hours at a time. I considered myself lucky to have more than one block of 3 hours per night. As soon as he came out and for the first three or so weeks of his life, he was stuck to my boob. And no, I don’t mean he nursed frequently… I mean there was rarely a time that he was NOT nursing! As in for HOURS at a time, several times a day and many times during the night. For the first six months or so he screamed in the car almost anytime we went anywhere….we went through phases where he needed to be held for his naps, where he needed to cry for his naps, where I cried for his naps…. we’ve really done it all! He needed so much attention for the first few months that I constantly felt guilty that I was giving Evelyne the short end of the stick. Let’s just say she watched a LOT of tv for awhile there. I kept telling myself, “It’s just a season, it’s just a season.” And I was totally right. If anything, I’ve learned this year that nothing ever stays the same with kids. All of those long, hard, terrible days are gone….in retrospect, they were really here for such a short time.
And now I have my beautiful, sweet Harris, whom I am truly in love with. As he grew older, he turned into a happy, content, very quick to smile, lovable little guy. He started scooting and beginning to army crawl at 6 months, so he’s been busy and on the move for quite awhile. He’s cuddlier than Evelyne was at this age, he’ll actually throw his arms around our neck and hug us with his head on our shoulder, or sit in our lap for extended periods of time just hanging out. He is just the sweetest and most awesome baby, and I am SO thankful for him. I didn’t like this stage with Evelyne (she was hard for a full year), but in the past few months I have just enjoyed Harris so much. He is so fun and now that I see how fast they grow, I’m wanting to keep him small and babylike for as long as possible. The hard beginning was more than worth it to have such a beautiful soul in our family. I really can’t remember what life was like without him, he adds such a wholeness to our family that wasn’t there before. Happy Birthday, Harris, may God give you many, many, many more.