Sweet Baby Lewis. Baby Lew. Or as Elsa, and now all of us often call you, Baby LewLis.
You’ve already been here a month, and the days are flying by faster than I can store them up. Because you are our last baby, I am trying so hard to savor every moment…the way it feels to have you curled up on my chest, the warm weight of your head against my heart, your legs tucked up like a frog’s against my belly. With each movement of your tiny toes against my squishy belly, I recall the way you felt inside me. Your head smells like baby, and I love listening to your little panting baby breaths, your little baby sounds and grunts.
You were 7 pounds, 3 ounces when you arrived, my tiniest baby, and you felt it too. I could carry you with one hand, but you are putting on the chub quickly, little man. Your cheeks filled out almost immediately, and they are getting dangerously close to resting on your collar bone already. Your little belly is not quite as little anymore, jutting out over your size 1 diapers (you ditched the newborn size after 2 weeks). At your two week visit, you weighed in at 8 pounds, 13 ounces, when the expectation is that you’d be back to your birth weight by then. You look so much like Owen did as an infant…just with half as much of his excessive hair. You feel like a little clone of him, being born around the same time of year. It’s been really nostalgic. You have this amazing cowlick on the back of your head that looks like a swirl of frosting, and your eyes – they are big and dark and deep. You, I think, will look a lot like your dad, with your blue-for-now eyes, and dark hair.
You are happiest when being held. You do not prefer to be set down if you’re awake, though slowly but surely, you’re getting the hang of that as long as their is some movement involved in the swing or bouncy seat. But to be honest, I don’t really mind. I’m trying to hold you as much as possible, and you are fitting right into your role as the spoiled youngest because I’ve allowed for a lot more co-sleeping this time around because I want to snuggle you 24/7.
You are generally easy-going, unless it is between the hours of 6-9 p.m. in which case, you want nothing more than to be held and to burp. You burp all. the. time. And spit up all. the. time. I feel like I am constantly wiping spit-up off of the both of us, the couch, the bed, the pillow, and we burn through burp cloths at an alarming rate. You love to be upright, held over our shoulders, or sitting up.
But once you get all those fussy-hour burps out, you are sleeping pretty well at night. Usually just waking up once and then looking to eat again in the early morning. This is not to say I feel rested – I have a constant headache these days, because you and I nurse from like 3:30-4:30, and then the kids are up and hour or so later, and it’s all just not very restful after 3:30. But we’re surviving. Thank goodness for Netflix and the slip n’ slide.
What you’re doing right now is generally sleeping most of the day, but you’re starting to have more times when you’re awake. You seem especially alert when your siblings are around, and boy, do they love you. Owen especially has taken a special interest in you….he loves to kiss and snuggle you, and rub your hair. He shows you toys, and makes volcano sounds around you, and is always saying how “intristed” in him you are. And you are. Your eyes widen, and you look up at him, and you gave him one of your 7 smiles so far. Elsa loves you too, is always telling me when you’re crying, and running to get burp cloths, and wanting to see you in the morning,c railing into bed with the both of us, eager to give you forehead smooches.
Watching them explore you in the hospital was one of my favorite moments as a mother, watching their roles change before my eyes.
You gave us your first smile just before you turned 4 weeks old. I’m pretty sure we can count it. I had strapped you in the carseat and was herding Owen and Elsa and all of our stuff towards the back door. When I came back to get you, you looked straight at my face and smiled. I’m convinced it was intentional. The rest of your smiles have primarily been at the pictures hanging on the wall behind our couch. Owen and Elsa loved them too as infants. I think it’s the dark frames you like, though you seem particularly drawn to the one with all the sunflowers, perhaps because they look like a giant garden of boobs to your tiny eyes.
You are by far my gruntiest child, speaking to us in these goat-like staccato sounds that I don’t remember the other two making. Your cries are loud and sudden and furious, but usually easily pacified by a snuggle or burp or your beloved milk. You whip your head back and forth for milk or the paci the way Owen did, ferociously looking for it and then making these happy, guzzling sounds that make me feel like I’ve fulfilled my life’s purpose. You make this little clicking sound as you suck, so eager for milk, that you cease to focus on what your mouth is doing.
You love to be carried, and fit perfectly against me in the moby wrap. You love to be outside. In your first week, your Grandma Pam held you on the front porch, and you visibly relaxed into the warmth and breeze. You love to sit in the backyard in your bouncy chair and look up at the trees moving against the sky. You have taken to the bottle far, far more easily than your siblings, and you want to want the paci, but you are continually spitting it out the moment you get into a groove with it, sending it rolling to all the dusty corners of our house. You seem calmed by music, especially your dad’s guitar.
Lewis, your first month of life has also been marked with anxiety. You have had elevated bilirubin levels since birth, and the last few weeks have been a series of blood draws and conversations with specialists. Your first week home, your levels were high enough that we had to use a bili-blanket. We wrapped what looked like a wrestling championship belt around your abdomen and plugged you in, turning you into a little blue glowworm. The phototherapy helped, and we only used the blanket for 2 days…but your levels have still been higher than normal. Last week held an ultrasound, and next week we’ll see a GI specialist because we’re just not sure if your liver is still developing or if there’s something wrong with it yet. I could blame my anxiety on the lack of sleep…or those postpartum hormones. But really, I learned something more of Mama-Bear love in this last month. I would do anything to make sure that you are well, you are okay. I jumped eagerly into the role of advocate, asking a thousand questions after each doctor’s visit…because I am for you. I am fighting for you in any way I can.
It has literally been a moment-by-moment battle to trust that the Lord is tending to you, that He is fighting for you…and that He is infinitely better at it than I am. I’d be doing okay, and then hear your latest blood draw results, and dissolve into tears. It has been a constant cycle of “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” I love you so much, Lewis. So much that my heart feels like it’s expanding outside of my chest and filling this room, but I know and rest in the fact that God loves you in ways I can’t even imagine. He formed you in me, perfectly, and He has numbered every one of your days. His love is all-encompassing, and his care is boundless. Over and over, I tell myself, He is our helper and strength (Isaiah 40-41), and I have seen his care in action at the hands of family, friends, and our church who have prayed and brought meals and watched Owen and Elsa. My prayer is that this early trial in your life, and His care for us in it, would always serve to be evidence of his presence and grace in your life, even as it is in mine.
I love you madly.
Please stay a baby forever.
Things You Love: milk, your siblings, being upright, movement, being walked around, the Moby wrap, being outside, baths, the pictures on our living room wall behind the couch, music, your dad’s guitar, sometimes your paci, burping, being swaddled (though you seem to prefer having your arms out).
Things You Hate: being laid flat on your back, the struggle to burp, being put down when you’re awake or having just fallen asleep, blood draws