Here she is. At the beginning of this month we finally welcomed the third and final act to our family circus – Bonnie Matilda. Only five days late (her sisters were much tardier) she came tumbling into the world at a generous 4.3kgs. That’s 9 pounds, 7 ounces for people like me who weirdly prefer imperial measurements. She is as healthy as a little bear, coos and sings in her sleep (as though she smuggled a miniature clarinet into her crib), smells delicious and feels like velvet.
I am writing this as she snoozes, on day four of her life. I have to admit the memories of labour are fresh and vivid in my mind, still stinging, like cognitive paper-cuts. It wasn’t the easy birth I’d had with my second, B2, though I was more experienced to both persevere and surrender than I was with my first. It was hard, so hard, but aren’t they all? After several curve balls she finally, finally came. I was convinced She was a He. But, no, not to be. I checked several times in that first hour just to make sure the medical staff weren’t joking. Bonnie is definitely a lass. Now, of course, the fact of her girlness seems so obvious, as though we knew all along. B1 is still hurtin’ that she doesn’t have a brother but B2 is beyond thrilled. She told her Dad “my beat is beating so much today!”, clapping her hands together in joy. Matt insisted baby was a girl from the get-go and has always said, as long as I have known him, he is destined to be a father to daughters. But…three daughters? Three?! It clearly bears repeating (get it?).
Now to shamelessly turn them into Bronte / Moriarty sisters….
I’m currently riding the roller coaster of the first few weeks – body transforming from pregnant to not pregnant, body recovering from labour, body making milk, body making hormones. Body tired. Mind overwhelmed. I find this time so challenging, not just from the physical effects, but the emotional tides that sweep in and drown everything and then sweep out and take everything with it. A kind of fear-dread-desperate-coping-surviving-exhausted-numb cycle that I recall from the previous babies but always underestimate the intensity of. I dread the nights and face them like a trembling soldier, though all there is to fear is a crying baby and sleeplessness, they’re hardly mortar fire*. And I also find myself mourning pregnancy, though I was over it in that last, hot month, while simultaneously longing for more consistent, predictable future days. Days when I will look back and cry over the loss of these days. The softness of the skin, the sweetness of the sleeping sounds, the lovely, quiet patches between cries and feeds. The simple fact that her feet are the length of my thumbs.
Soon enough I will be looking back at these photos disbelieving how tiny Bonnie was. I will be feeling more like myself and we will have found a rhythm, albeit more like the chaos of free-form jazz, with school drop offs and kindy lunches and laundry and feeds and all that business. One phase will slip into the next. I have the disconcerting feeling that I will wake up and find myself living out one of Anna Quindlen’s essays from “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake” – standing on the threshold of my seventies, wondering where on earth the time went and ruing the state of my knees.
I once read a post on Humans of New York – an interview with a woman who said that time seems to stretch when you are truly in the moment, living, soaking up, observing, being part of every breath and every second. Her plan to make her life longer was to doing exactly that; to stretch time, moment by moment, like a piece of bubblegum, simply by being truly immersed in it. The theory of her plan seemed to have some merit. Perhaps, I just need to be in this rushing tide of feelings and anxieties, rather than wishing them away. Perhaps this is the only antidote to the vanishing of our lives and waking up to the sudden realization that our babies no longer babies. To live it all, even the uncomfy bits.
While I am busy philosophizing, worrying and wiping baby vomit from my shoulders, I will be sharing with you some posts I prepared during pre-Bonnie days. Think of them as preserves, as jam. Posts with easy biscuit recipes and interviews with incredible women, photos of delicious food and sensational people. Plus, I have some GREAT NEWS (sorry to shout, but really it’s great) coming up in the next couple of months, which you can keep an eye out for on my facebook page. And in that interim, during the haze and daze of early morning feeds I will be posting #bonniespam on Instagram. Breaking the internet with a bazillion photos of our girl and life with our girl, boring you all to tears and not even caring.
Thank you to everyone who has left messages of good luck and congratulations here, on Facebook and Instagram, and who have supported and followed us on this journey. None of it goes unnoticed.
Hannah and Bonnie x
* A great app I use for (simple, gentle, user-friendly, non-denominational, all-round great) meditation is Headspace. I am currently using the Anxiety package – in ten minute sessions – the meditations outline a simple, effective technique calling “noting” which may reduce the severity of anxious thoughts and feelings by up to 50%. It was recommended to me and I’ve really found it useful. Hormones really bust my mental health chops so I wanted to pass the tip along.