Nora arrived on May 27th, a little before 2am on an early Sunday morning.
I meant to write all of this in the days following May 27th so I could put in all of these vivid details, but things have been a bit crazy and I kept putting it off. And now it’s been literally months, and it’s hard to know when to just call it done and publish it.
Suzi’s family was in town helping us out and then we were on our own and running off of 2–4 hours of sleep at a time. I was drinking a lot of coffee (and I nabbed a French Press and Chemex at a garage sale for $5) and adjusting to this new life with a baby and spending a lot more time at home and not having anyone else cook food for me (wow, thanks for all of the cooking over the past 18 months, Maren, Angela, Chieh, Suzi, and Airbnb).
I should be clear that it’s been immensely joyful. It’s not even primarily “hard” - it’s primarily “joyful.” It has been such a delight to have Nora in our lives; even when we’re just about to go to sleep and she starts crying and we have a hard time soothing her or figuring out what’s going on, we wouldn’t want it any other way. Being her parents and watching her develop and being entrusted by God to teach her how to live is richly rewarding. Having her in our lives, in our family, has added this extra dimension and gravity to whatever it is that we’re doing. It’s a little magical, a little enchanting. It’s like normal life got transposed to a higher key, so even the mundane is a bit more interesting. Anytime we do something, there’s this understanding that “this has never happened before, Nora has never done this.”
It’s also been so rich for me to see Suzi as a mother. She’s a good mom. I feel like these last few months have been getting to see a whole side of her that I didn’t know existed. She’s rarely sleeping longer than 3 hours at a time (because Nora needs to feed that often, though she’s starting to sleep longer and longer at night), and she had to get stitched up down there, and had a lot of tailbone pain, and went through breastfeeding, which was, in her description, harder than labor - but I still haven’t seen her really get frustrated with Nora or say or do anything regretful. I can wake Suzi up with a hysterical baby and she’ll still be cheerful and want to kiss her and laugh when she makes a funny face or does something unintelligible with her hands. So Suzi’s basically been crushing it, and I don’t know how she just continues to do it.
Before Nora came, I knew Suzi was worried about how things were gonna turn out. I tried to reassure her that it didn’t matter what happened, that I thought she was a good mom already and nothing would change that. But it’s not like I actually knew that, I was just sorta speaking in the abstract. Now that I’ve watched Suzi go through all of this stuff, I feel it like it’s a conviction. Like, Suzi is a really good mom. Better than I thought she would have been. I’m glad Suzi is Nora’s mom, and I hope in many ways that Nora is more like her mom than she is like me.
I took a “conscious fathering” class a few weeks before Nora arrived. There was a lot of practical stuff - some tips to swaddling the baby, holding the baby, burping the baby - stuff I now use every time I do any of those things. But there was all of this other stuff about “presence before perfection” and building memories and giving the mother some space, even if it’s just 20 minutes. I liked that a lot, because almost everyday, I need to get out of the house. So I’ve been taking Nora out on walks and stuff since the third week. We’d go to Seward and walk around, or Kubota Garden, or we even went on the Chief Sealth trail and did hills in the heat.
Something else they told us during Conscious Fathering was that you shouldn’t keep score with your wife - and if you try to, you’re going to lose. But basically, you need to be putting in 100%, not 50% and hoping that the mother is doing the same. Suzi’s doing a lot of work for Nora, and she’s doing a good job. If you see her, you should give her a big hug and allow her to talk to you about it as long as she wants.
I’m gonna split out all of the labor and delivery details into another post so I can at least get something published.