13 July 2018

Welcome to the World

Here he is! Our little miracle finally made it into the world and, sleep deprived and sore as I am, I can't stop smiling. Jon and I are besotted-- and I honestly think I never knew the real meaning of that word until we became parents. Here are the stats on our little man:

Ezra Frederick Young
8.5 lbs, 19 inches long 

Our little guy has massive feet. They are seriously huge and the midwives kept giggling about it and how funny it is that he likes to stretch his toes out like fingers. I suppose I should have expected this given the strength of his in-utero kicking... perhaps we may have a little footballer on our hands (also, can we just acknowledge the tragedy of England's loss in the World Cup? I usually couldn't care less, but the fervour in the air around here had me rooting for a win). 

I love this photo... it captures the peaceful lull we felt after the madness of labour perfectly. Ezra's birth was induced, thanks to his low heart rate (pretty sure this is just genetic as both Jon and I do as well, but I was eager to get the ball rolling). 

Looking back on the experience now, the birthing process has left me with one baffling question: how and why are there so many children in this world? I'm serious. How did my mom have seven kids, and Jon's mom have eight? How is this something people keep doing over and over and over again?

People always say as soon as you get that baby in your arms, you forget all about the pain. Well let me tell you something, I was on (what my midwives described as) the most effective epidural ever given, and I remember the pain. VIVIDLY. I had expected period pain meets constipation multiplied by a factor of 3 or 4. Holy cannoli, labour is a whole other dimension. I have gained so much respect for you ladies out there that do it 100% al natural. That had been my intention-- I had this beautiful, serene hippy water birth in mind, supplemented by my hypnobirthing tracks and a sweet husband rubbing my feet and talking me through my breathing.  What I ended up with was very very different.

It was a beautiful fantasy and one that I would have thought would haunt me given how my labour actually happened, but (blessedly) I feel completely at peace with my birthing experience. As difficult as it was, I learned so much about myself (that I apparently have the pain threshold of a cream filled doughnut) and life that have already made me a more empathic mother. It is a glorious thing that our bodies are all different and that we experience our own journeys in our own way. 

I hope this baby grows up to be just like him. 

When we were finally discharged from the hospital, I got to dress Ezra up in a little blue and white set of pajamas that my sister-in-law sent me. Apparently, Jon and all his brothers came home from the hospital in this same outfit. Now it has been passed down to this next generation so all the male cousins (that have the last name 'Young') have come home in the same sweet outfit, just like their daddies. It felt like a real full circle moment getting to take him out of the hospital like this.  

These are just a few images of the first few days of our little babies life. I'm beyond excited to see what the days ahead have for us. 

08 July 2018

Still Growing

Well, we are officially overdue. Baby was marked to come on the 4th of July, but it turns out, we both still have some growing to do!

I think sometimes, when Mother Nature sees swollen bellies crouched down near the dirt, she sort of explodes with excitement and all that zeal for growing lands on pregnant mamas so that all we want to do is just grow stuff. That’s how I’ve felt for the past nine months— growing babies and seeds and trees and ideas— just growing, growing, growing. 

As such, I’ve spent a lot of time at my allotment. My garden has been my happy place and my motivation to get moving, especially when my inner couch potato says I have a decent excuse to lounge around the flat. Even if my garden were a complete failure, I’m grateful I’ve had that  incentive to be active. I know it had made for a healthier pregnancy and— to take a complete nosedive into hippy land— I think the spiritual connection you feel with the Earth while you are growing a new life inside is one of the most beautiful things a woman can experience. 

Above is Patty, my favourite neighbour. He is so lovely and kind and (unlike some OTHER allotment neighbours) very non-judgemental. My plot is pretty shabby compared to those around me…. This year has literally been an exercise in how little effort someone can put in (well there has been a LOT of effort, just precious little physical dexterity) and still have a garden. Positivity goes such a long way and having him around has made me feel much better about my meagre little plot. 

Jon has been particularly lovely when it comes to my allotment. He HATES gardening— who even knew that was a thing? His animosity comes from the many Saturday hours he and his brothers spent doing landscaping and manual labour for his parents. Sometimes I find his hostility for gardening really funny, because it is so extreme. Like, it’s dirt and seeds, how bad can it really be?

However, he has been a complete angel this season and has spent so many hours hauling buckets of water for me (so I can feed my plants) I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to thank him enough. That boy has never complained about it, even though I can feel whole being seize up every time I ask, “Lovey, can you help me go water my garden today?” He is a champ. 

Anyway, as this heat wave continues to melt my face off, I'm praying for water for little plants. There is none in sight at the moment, but hopefully our little baby will come soon and bring the rain with him.


01 July 2018

Final Stretch

I'm in the home stretch now... not long to go before this little nugget arrives! 

Unfortunately, England is experiencing a massive heat wave right now so this last leg of the journey has me spending most of the day laid out in a sweaty heap hoping my little electric fan will give me the will to get up and get things done. Still, I'd take this over our days frying in the New York summer sizzle-- THAT was truly horrible.

Other than the temperature, things are pretty fantastic. My friends from church threw me a surprise baby shower (the "from little seeds grow mighty trees" was a gift I received from our friends Sophie and Byron-- I LOVE thoughtful homemade gifts <3). Because it was a complete surprise, so I didn't manage to get many photos, but here are a few:

Guess which one of us won the blind-folded put-the-nappy-on-the-teddy game? Hint: It's not the one praying for help.

In other news, I've been trying to get Jon to empathise with the weight and heat... I made him try on  a pregnancy fat suit (the boobies were tacked in like little bean bags which is what our friends Sophie and Byron [who are also pregnant!] are commenting on in the pic). As you can see by his smug expression, it didn't really do the trick.

But, when all else fails, drink milkshakes!

Luckily, we are now the proud owners of a new car! Well, an very used new car. We've named it 'Pippin' because it is red like a shiny pippin apple. We decided it was time to finally break down and buy one now that baby is on the way. Amazingly the hardest part of the process was getting Jon his UK driver's license. That thing is 10x harder to get than its American counterpart. I'm not brave enough to get one yet... I'm pretty positive there is at least one course of driver's ed in my future.

We also got to see the PMQs (Prime Ministers Questions), which is this weekly event the Prime Minister (the equivalent of the American President) holds where she fields questions from members of Parliament (equivalent to US Congress). Jon got tickets last minute, which was a fab excuse to visit London again and see the inside of the palace of Westminster. It was very cool to be so close to the action, but unfortunately there was no AC. I thought I was going to die before the session ended!
In other British-y news, Prince Harry is now married! I had zero intention of watching the broadcast, but then Jon promised to go water the allotment for me if I'd agree to make him waffles and watch the royal wedding with him. How could I possibly refuse an offer like that? So happy I did :D

Speaking of allotments, mine is plodding along. It still looks pretty scroungy, but we do get a handful of snap peas, the occasional berry, and 2 or 3 squashes every day from it. That is pretty good in my book given how little I've been able to give to my garden this year.

And that's the update for now! Hopefully the next post will announce the birth of a new little life. Finger's crossed he comes on his due date-- July 4th for a very patriotic and ironic celebration!