Monday, August 20, 2007

the gift

I am absolutely, positively, inexplicably in love. I never would have thought it would be possible that I'd have enough love in my heart for another child.

But I do.

My feelings surrounding our little baby are so intense, I don't even know that I can begin to describe them.

But I'll try.

He is amazing. He is beautiful. He is pure magic. He is divine love. He is a gift unlike any gift I have ever received and I am treasuring each and every minute of each and every day with him.

Even those minutes that span from 2 AM until 6 AM.

I am extremely thankful for the privilege of experiencing motherhood, with an infant, again. It is incredibly different with a singleton. More different than I ever hoped for or imagined.

I am able to devote all of my attention to one baby.

When I am not wearing him, I am holding him in my arms, or on my lap. Or, bouncing him in his chair with my foot.

Charlie tells me that I'm a baby hog and I can't refute it. Nor do I try.

He is my little buddy. He sleeps in a bassinet next to our bed until 2 AM most mornings. And then, I scoop him up and nestle him in bed next to us, where he remains until we get up for the day.

I don't worry about rolling on to him the way I did with our triplets.

I'm not as completely exhausted with him as I was with our triplets.

I can hear his breathing, even in my sleep. My motherly instinct with co-sleeping that I'd heard about and called phooey before, is firing on all cylinders, this time around.

I nurse him whenever he needs it.

It seems I nurse him all the time.

And I love it.

I love holding his tiny hands and his tiny feet. I love his corn niblet toes. I love the new rolls of fat that are accumulating on his legs and arms. I love his fat cheeks. I love his bright blue eyes, pug nose and peach fuzz baby hair atop his perfect head.

I love his ears. The tiny little ears that need to be tested for a third time at Children's Hospital because it appears there might be hearing loss in one of them.

But that makes me love them even more.

I love the way that his legs curl up underneath him when he is on my chest, resembling the fetal position he maintained for 40 weeks, in my womb. I love that he rarely cries, probably because I am never more than five feet away, but when he does, I love the sound of it.

Six weeks and a few days later, I am in absolute awe that God has blessed us, again, and I thank Heaven, constantly.

I never want this time to end. I don't want for our baby to grow up and not need me the way he does at this very moment.

But he will.

And I am sad, to the point of tears, because I know how fast it will happen. He's doing it right before my very eyes.

In the six weeks since his birth, he has already grown 3.5 inches and hasn't fit in newborn diapers for almost four weeks. It makes me realize just how important it is to treasure all of this. To relish all of the changes, because he is changing so fast.

I am seeing things with him that I didn't see with our triplets.

Our triplets didn't even come home from the hospital until they were six weeks old. And when they did, they were still three weeks premature. I was in a daze of exhaustion and fear with three premature newborns.

I have never felt so confident as I do with our new baby.

At six weeks, Henry is smiling and starting to coo.

He recognizes us and his eyes light up when ever he focuses on my face.

His little arms flail around without control and his little legs work furiously like he is pedaling a bicycle. When I nurse him and he is particularly hungry, his little head bobs like a woodpecker and shakes rapidly from side to side until he is latched on. And then, his eyes will roll back and his entire body goes limp while his hands open wide revealing tiny fingers. He is gaining neck control and will lift his head for brief moments, when placed on his tummy.

He is soaking up the world around him and all of his family is soaking him up.

The children absolutely adore him. They ask for him first thing in the morning and insist on kissing him before bed each night. They run to find his pacifier if he is crying and will tuck his blanket in beneath his chin.

When I hold Henry, my heart aches for more children.

I want to be able to experience this magic ... again and again.

And again.

I wish that I could have had the same kind of bonding with our triplets that I am having with their brother. I wish that I could have showered all of my love and affection on each one of them - the way I am showering love and affection on my newborn. But, then again, our triplets shower each other with love affection that I can't even match.

Albert Einstein once said that there are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

I am surrounded by miracles. I see them everywhere I look.

It is a miracle that any of our children are here.

It is a miracle that with three two-year olds, that have the ability to drive me nucking futs several times a day, I yearn for more babies.

Charlie tells me if we have more children, we have to get a new car. He also tells me that there are only four sides to our growth stick. From what I can tell, those are his only valid arguments. But then he adds, with four children, we will have lots of grandchildren that we can dote on.

So even though I am holding a newborn on my chest, I'm thinking about how wonderful it will be, thirty years from now, when we can have our grandchildren come stay with us for a few months days.

And then, I predict I will be writing Dear Abby letters for advice on how to convince our children to let me take my grandchildren. They are mine, after all.

But for right now, I'm savoring our young children. I'm also doing my best to savor the moment, which as I watch our babies growing up ... I am reminded is a gift.

Isn't that why they call it "the present"?


  1. awwww....thats so good to hear, we are hoping to have another baby sometime soon and sometimes I worry about being able to love another one the way I love Sam....Sounds silly, but I am sure I'm not alone....I am so glad that you notice and tressure your blessings...even if they sometimes drive you nuking futs....thats so hilarious!:) Keep on enjoying!!!

  2. What a wonderful love letter to your child! Someday, Henry will read this and be reminded of how much he has been loved. Love is the most important thing in life. Love is what it's all about!

  3. That must be kept and printed, tucked into a special box as much as it it tucked into your heart.

    Being the baby hog is fun!

  4. Yeah, he is adorable Jen. And didn't I tell you that you would just adore having a singleton, for the mere sake of having a singleton???

    As someone once eloquently wrote in a mothering article I read "I can't remember every single moment...but I know that I was there for all of them".

  5. I couldn't have explained this to you before you had your baby. I experienced all of this with Austin. There is no way that I could have explained this to another triplet mother, but you put into words exactly how it felt for me to have my singleton after the triplets. I have tried to put into words how the love I have for Austin is different. I don't love him more, but I do love him differently because I bonded with him in a different way. He is the best thing that ever happened to our family. When I look at him now and know that he has a brain tumor possibly growing right this minute inside his brain it feels like someone has crushed my heart and ripped out my soul. He is the love of my life.

    Okay, now that you made me get mushy here's what I'm telling Charlie:

    Charlie, Jen's hormones are making her think she wants more children. She should bounce back to normal in a month or so and you really don't need to go buy an airport shuttle bus and convert it to a car. Pick yourself up off the floor, your wife has not gone bonkers. :)

  6. Beautifully stated...I sit here in tears.
    Linda (Chicago)

  7. That was beautiful. You make me want MORE! He is absolutely gorgeous!!!! I am so glad you two have been so graciously blessed and so glad your enjoying and savoring this precious time.

    You really deserve it (and a few more...especially a girl named Margaret;-)
    Love, Marg
    So beautiful.

  8. Jen,

    You don't know me, but I've been reading your blog for several months now. Actually, I forget how I got connected with your blog...but, it's been one of my favorites. I look forward to checking it almost everyday.

    My husband and I have a 20 month old little girl who I stay home with. She keeps me hopping. This post hit home to me because my husband and I have been talking about when we should have our next little bundle. I know that I want more children, but I just don't feel "ready" yet. But, tonight reading your post about sweet Henry, I suddenly feel ready. I really do. I truly miss holding a sweet newborn in my arms. Just wait until tomorrow morning when she's tearing around the house and I feel like I don't have one moment to myself. I might decide to hold off another year or two. But, for right this very moment, I DO miss that stage.

    Bless you and enjoy it. I'm glad it is going so well for you! He is just ADORABLE!

    Laura (from Ohio)

  9. You're right-it does pass so quickly. It's awesome that you are able to savor these awesome moments. Makes me want another baby too!

  10. How sweet, and how true.
    I think you have put into words what many mothers feel.
    And it's such a deep and intense feeling, it brings you to tears.

    Thank You for a wonderful post.

  11. I have tears in my eyes as I read this. Don't take one minute for granted. My baby boy just moved out and as he was packing up his clothes this evening he and I both cried like babies. I crave that baby closeness so much right now.

  12. what a sweet post...that will be so great to come back to remember years from now!

  13. The woodpecker rooting statement brought a smile to my face. My son is eight months (where did the time go?), and I still smile when he roots. I this might be what I will miss most when he stops breastfeeding.

  14. I love reading your blog everyday, but this is by far the loveliest thing I've read so far -- your kids, ALL your kids, are so lucky to have you!

  15. i swear my heart is breaking w/love after reading that . . . and i don't even have any little ones. check out this new Henry though:
    I can't seem to find it right this minute but Swistle wrote a great post about newborns somewhere in here. . . . love to you & yours

  16. Awww, what a beautiful entry! And beautiful photographs...I agree, you MUST save and print it. I am with you, I hope to someday experience having a little tiny newborn again and again! Children are the most beautiful things in the world!

  17. Jen,

    Thanks so much for sharing that with us. It was so special to read about the love and joy that Henry has brought into your family. What a blessing. The love that is throughout your house is abundant!

  18. Oh MAN, that is a cute baby. He IS pure magic.

    Love his name!

  19. This was a beautiful post to read. We've got a four year old foster son, triplets on the way, and I'm just not ready to commit to being done with having children after the triplets, even though everyone (including my husband) probably thinks I'm completely crazy.

    I hope someday Henry reads this post and realizes how much love you have for him!

  20. I am so happy that you are so happy. I contemplate having another child after our triplets and then I think I have made my decison not have more children and then I read something like this! I would love to experience what you have described! Thanks for sharing.

  21. I am in love with my baby too. i just got a nursing degree four days before her LATE arrival and I just can't seem to part with her and go make some badly needed moola. Wait til three months, and he catches your eye from across the room and smiles......oh my NOTHING is better. Love the pics

  22. I'm 29 and a bit (but who's counting!) weeks pregnant and if I thought I couldn't wait BEFORE I read your post...

  23. oh hun - that is the most beautiful post! I so understand all your feelings - I think now, that I have my son, only now can I really understand. Henry is adorable - you know you guys make great kids! I just have to say that for a feeling you couldn't really put into words, you sure managed to word it just right! love to you all.

  24. Love every word of this blog. I'm going to go hug and kiss my little boy now...

  25. You just completely made me want to have #3 (after twins). I have felt a little cheated out of the whole infant thing. Just today I was thinking that I shouldn't have another b/c it would mean less time for my girls. But that was so touching

  26. wonderful - he is so precious - I know exactly how you feel, as I felt that super glow of love with each of my babies.

    Watching them wrestle on the floor right now, I can't even believe they were once so tiny like your baby is now.

    That heart ache? I wonder if it will ever go away - since I still feel it even though I think I oughta be done.

  27. I've been reading your blog for awhile now and I have never commented before. I had to this time. For the first time, I feel like someone may actually understand how I feel about my daughter. She is 4 months old and my second child. There is nothing like having the first child but there is something amazing about how you feel about the next. Enjoy your blog!!! Kim

  28. Oh Jen, isn't is simply amazing. You said it perfectly.

  29. What a gorgeous photo (the first one of his precious face in your hand) The love just pours out of your writing. Enjoy that little bundle.

  30. That photo of the three children holding Nemos could only be cuter if Henry was lying across their legs!

  31. I love that pic of Henry in a doll cradle...I assume that's what it is? If not, then he must be about 4 feet tall by now!

    Congrats. You're an inspiration.