Room 116. That's the room we spent 48 precious hours getting to know our sweet Heidi in. I'd like to say we all slept, but D and I were on such an adrenaline high that first night, all we did was stare at her. And rightly so, she was mesmerizing. Around midnight, a nurse came in to give me a light snack (the best bagel with banana and peanut butter of my life!) and was surprised to find us both awake. We couldn't stop mulling over every detail of Heidi's arrival. I was fuzzy on some moments (hello, labor pains), so D filled me in on all the parts I missed...or couldn't see, for that matter. We were in total awe of our baby girl, who was finally Earth-side, sleeping soundly in my arms. That first night was one of the most sleep deprived, yet sweetest, of our parenthood journey.
Things I remember about her those first two days:
- Her smell...babies DO smell delicious, right from the get-go.
- She has the most adorable dimples, high on the apples of her cheeks. I've never seen any dimples like them! They're absolutely my favorite thing about her.
- She was (and still is) a very alert baby. The nurses couldn't believe how bright-eyed she was our whole hospital stay. She entered the world with eyes wide open and has had major FOMO ever since.
- She has D's lips, 100% fact. They're irresistibly kissable.
- She's got my nose and my eyes.
- She can spread her toes wide apart! Especially that big toe. It's hilarious! We've got a little monkey on our hands!
- She smiled from Day 1. Involuntarily, of course, but a smiley baby nevertheless.
- She has small stork bites on her forehead between her eyes. At her first doctors appointment, we found more of them on the nape of her neck under her hair.
- She has the most perfect ears. I told D that if I had to go to an ear store to pick out new ears, I'd choose hers...they're that wonderful.
- She has a birthmark in the shape of North Carolina on her left shin. Fitting, seeing as we'll forever call NC home.
- She loved staring at us and the lights that first night.
- She LOVED the sound of the shutter on Kirsten's camera during our session. Probably why we got such incredible shots of her!
Seeing D hold Heidi for the first time was other worldly. I didn't think it was possible to love another human more than I already loved D, but my heart almost burst from growing ten sizes that day. So much love for our new bundle of joy, even more love for the man who gave her to me. The sheer magnitude of what we created, a new life, still blows my mind to this day. Out of a love built over 15 years of dating and marriage came this tiny human...half him, half me. It's just the most incredible feeling. Such an unbelievable gift. When I look at the two of them playing together today, I'm in total awe of God's love and provision for our family. I hope Heidi always knows how loved and cherished she is by both her daddy and I. I hope she someday sees him the way I do...selfless, full of compassion, kindness, a strong, yet gentle leader. I can't wait to watch their bond grow over the years. She'll be a daddy's girl for sure.
Much to my dismay, Heidi wasn't a great breastfeeder right off the bat. In fact, after meeting with the Lactation Consultant, we found her latch was poor and I ended up using a nipple shield for most of her hospital feedings. She hadn't mastered putting her tongue to the floor of her mouth just yet...she kept wanting to push her tongue out (no tongue tie, thank goodness!). I, of course, was discouraged, nervous, and majorly frustrated. I just wanted her eat and eat well! Even though she didn't feed much at the hospital, a couple days after we got home, she finally got the hang of things and gained back all the weight she lost (and then some!). Unfortunately, a few weeks later, we began to run into some major feeding issues that had nothing to do with her ability to breastfeed. These issues ultimately ended our breastfeeding journey quite abruptly at 4 weeks old. Again, I hope to elaborate on this in detail someday, but it totally rocked my world (and still does). For now, I rest easy knowing she's well FED (as evident by those thunder thighs she's acquired!), no matter how it's done.
Other than our initial feeding issues, our Heidi is just plum perfect. 10 fingers, 10 toes...a healthy appetite for life and her prescription formula that smells like potatoes (ughh). She's such a curious little thing. Those wide eyes always studying everything we're doing. She's also quite the spirited gal. Knows what she wants and exactly how to get it! Guess she takes after her mama in that way. We're in trouble come the teen years, I can already tell! When she's calm, she reminds me so much of D. He's the chill one of the family. And certain facial expressions she makes look just like him. She's the perfect blend of us both.
Is our family complete? For now, yes. It's much too soon for me to even think of adding another kiddo to the mix. Living far from family and friends during this season of life has been very challenging. Exhausting, stressful, and just plain hard. We're so thankful my mom was able to stay with us the first 1.5 weeks of Heidi's life and for her visits every couple months since, but the lack of village made our newborn days long and tear-filled. Especially given the curve balls we were thrown in those early weeks. I can't imagine having two babes running around and zero help. Sends my ovaries into hiding every time I think of it! As hard and sleepless as those early days were, D and I have grown so much as parents. As a couple, too. While having only your spouse to lean on for support was trying on us both, we're stronger for it. As they say, babies don't get easier, YOU get better. We've gotten better together. Even so, we're praying the Air Force sends us closer to the East Coast when moving time comes in 2018 (we think). California is great (don't get me wrong), but the saying "home is where the heart is" has never rang so true until Heidi came along. So, little Miss will be our only baby and focus for now. Ask me again when she's out of diapers, mmmkay?
As for these beautiful photos, they were thoughtfully taken by the lovely Kirsten of Kirsten's Captured Moments Photography. Would I recommend a Fresh 48 session to every mama-to-be? HECK YES. I will forever treasure these images...plus, it was nice to have photos of us all cleaned up and rested. I do, however, kind of wish we'd also done labor photos. It was something I debated about for months, but ultimately chose not to do. After going through the labor process and wishing I was a fly on the wall of my own labor room, I totally would do a labor session as well. If you're in Roseville/Yuba City/Sacramento area, I'd highly recommend contacting Kirsten for your Fresh 48 session! She captured our sweet girl and our new parent glow just perfectly!