Letters To Thane IV: Born
Hey Thane! You are now 3 weeks, 5 hours, and 14 minutes old. That’s right, you got born. And it was a beautifully intense experience. Almost as beautiful as you.
Right now it’s just past 7:30am and you’re sleeping on the right side of my chest. I’m writing this on my phone with my left hand. It’s hard.
I’m writing this letter for two reasons:
1. To say a few things that I wanted to say in my past letters, but they just didn’t fit into the flow.
2. To tell you how the first few weeks of your life have been, for all of us.
One of my favorite things of the whole experience (the 9 months leading up to your birth, I mean) was hearing your heartbeat. Not because it was cute or reassuring, but because it was fast.
A regular human’s resting heartbeat is about 120 beats-per-minute. The first time we heard yours, it was 170; that only happens when you’re doing something really intense. I love the idea that you were not just peacefully blooming into being— you were truly fighting for your life. Racing into existence.
I hope I’ll have told you this thing at least once before you read these, but just in case I haven’t, I want you to know this now: mom and I are kids, too. Little kids still growing. Being raised by life, each other, and our Heavenly parents. In most situations we probably do know “best” and it’s probably a good idea to listen to us, but not always. Let’s both try to remember that, okay? Okay.
Mom went into labor at about 1am on March 1st, having not yet gone to sleep. She waited two hours to make sure the contractions were coming at regular intervals, then she woke me up.
She was in labor for 25 hours. And she handled it like a goddess.
Between mom’s innate desire to create environments and the influence of aunt Liz who recently became a doula, she was very prepared for this adventure. She had a playlist entitled “Lovely Labor”, a bottle of her favorite kombucha (Lavender Love) to sip, a blend of essential oils that she would inhale to calm her nerves, and a simple, silky, olive green dress that she bought specifically for the event.
She swayed and moaned as her body demanded, without hesitation.
Liz massaged her legs and rubbed her belly, and would occasionally instruct me in ways to help alleviate mom’s pain, such as squeezing her hips and holding up her belly.
I think sometime around 1pm the contractions slowed down for some reason and mommy was able to nap for about an hour before they started up again.
Her water broke—all over the couch—at 3pm and we headed to Orem Community Hospital at 7, thinking you were surely going to be born within the next couple hours, but no, we wouldn’t see your little face for another seven hours. The longest and most surreal seven hours of my life.
Not all dad’s do this, but I “caught” you when you finally came out, and cut your umbilical cord. I was ready for the excitement and the blood, but no one thought to tell me that after the cervix made it past the widest part of your head, the rest of you would pop out almost instantaneously, so when that happened I was a bit startled and almost didn’t catch you…haha :P But I did, and it was great. I will never, ever (I hope) forget the very moment your head popped out and I saw your face — purple, distressed, and perfect.
How are you?
Newborns are all about 80% the same for the first little while, but I know that each person is born with a unique spirit, and I believe that yours has already begun to show itself.
One of the only things I knew about taking care of newborns before this was that you’ve gotta hold their head because they can’t support it on their own yet, but from the first week, whenever I’d hold you upright against my chest, you would lift your head away from my body! All by yourself! And you still do it every time, unless you’re ready to sleep, then you fall asleep on my chest and just about melt my heart.
Let’s just hope this isn’t some kind of poetic foreshadowing for you being extraordinarily stiffnecked, right? #bookofmormonjokes
Up & Out
The second thing that we’ve noticed about you is that you prefer your carseat to your basinet and you are soothed by trips to the store and rooms full of people. The best nap you took after being born was when we took you out & about for the first time. We took you to Good Earth (the place mommy worked for years until a few weeks before you came) where about ten different people lifted the carseat cover to adore you for a couple minutes each, then we took you to Target, then made two more stops where one of us stayed in the car with you, then finally headed back home and brought you inside where you continued to sleep in your seat for another hour or so. You’ve since spent about half of your sleeping hours in that carseat.
You also prefer to be in that upright position I mentioned before, rather than being cradled. Not only that, but you really like it when I burp you, even when you don’t need to burp. I guess you just like the rhythmic, gentle impact. It almost always calms you down and often puts you to sleep.
It doesn’t have the same effect when mommy does it for some reason, but that’s okay, she’s got the milk. Can’t compete with that.
This all could turn out to be no indication of your personality at all, but it seems you’re going to be a curious, alert, and adventurous boy. I look forward to all the questions you will ask, the things you will notice, and the crazy things you’ll do :)
The internet says not to let babies sleep on their tummy because they could bury their face into the mattress and suffocate, but we’ve found that’s how you like to sleep and real people say they’ve always put their baby(ies) on their tummy and never had a problem. In fact, here’s a funny anecdote: Grandma Dot says that 20 years ago she was told to always put babies on their tummy, and at some point “they” said babies should sleep on their side, now they say babies must sleep on their back. Pretty silly, huh?
Everybody’s different and scientists are always changing their minds, so I’ve found it’s best to listen to what they have to say, then listen more closely to what your heart and your own experiences tell you. You do you.
Between exercising your neck muscles, sleeping in your carseat, and the crazy amount of time you spend eating you’ve been introduced to our “family culture” a little bit.
You’ve been on a couple hikes, a few walks to the gas station for treats, fallen asleep watching New Girl, and the other day you and I listened to two of Steve Jobs’ famous speeches—the commencement speech at Stanford and the one introducing the Think Different campaign—both of which I have watched before and you will probably watch/hear many more times in you life. If you want to, of course.
You may hate hiking, gas station treats, New Girl, and Steve Jobs one day, but for now you seem to be enjoying them. :P
You’re a very pleasant boy, I think. Quiet and cooperative unless you’re hungry or gassy.
One of my favorite things that’s happened since you got born happened just yesterday—which is about 2 weeks from the time I started writing this letter, btw.
I was holding you on the couch and you made eye contact with me, which you’ve done plenty of times, but this time there was a new level of comprehension in your eyes. Like you were really seeing me for the first time.
And I don’t know how to explain this, but it seemed like you realized who I am. Who I am to you.
Dad. Like mommy, but different.
It felt so clear to me that I said out loud, without a second thought:
“That’s right. I’m your daddy.”
I’ll never ever forget that moment. It was magical. You’re magical, Thane.