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There are many things on this Earth. Trees, buildings, animals, water, molecules of air, computer programs, board games, lint, the list goes on and on. Billions of things that press upon the surface of this planet and exist within its fragile biosphere, or in spite of it.
But now for the first time ever, there is something new on Earth that I helped create and that Lu is growing in her womb.
Our child has not touched the surface yet. Somehow it appeared within her, through our union, through some mystical magic of the ancient Universe and soon it will live upon this Earth with us.
We are all this amazing. We have all appeared here on this planet via that same unfathomable path. The fact that we have all arrived here on Earth the exact same way makes it seem obvious and common. It is both of those things. But it is also totally fucking crazy and utterly unexplainable.
The longer I witness this, the more dumbfounded I become. We are putting a new life on this planet because we love each other and we want to share that love, to transmit that love further along into Time. Plus, we’re crazy, just like everyone else. And having kids is one of the craziest things you can do, or so I’ve heard.
We babysat today. Still are in fact. This is actually a liveblog of babysitting my nephew Oren and I hope you can sense the excitement. Right now… he’s sleeping. Been that way for a good 2 hours. Before that I cradled him in my arms as Wilco played and he blissed out, but between the musical bliss and the blissful slumber, there were tears. And wailing. And more tears.
Seriously, he was acting like such a baby! I mean, he’s a year now, so like, what gives? Grow up kid and start cherishing sleep like all us over-worked, under-napped, on-the-go adults who would give both pinkies and an arm for a few extra hours under the covers. Not even a dad yet and I’m already complaining about lack of sleep! Actually he’s just like the rest of us Gallaghers. We fight slumber to the last moment, always hoping for another few minutes of hangout time, always ready to be the one to tuck the rest of them in, always the one locking down the place and shutting off the lights. Why would we expect our youngest family member to be any different?
I already expect the same from our unborn child. 11pm seems to be the time when the baby stirrs in Lu’s womb, kicking and thumping along to our laughter at the Daily Show. Lu says the baby knows when my hand is on her belly. I believe her because the thumps are strong and frequent when my hand rests there. We don’t know if our baby will be a boy or a girl, but we do know it will be a night-owl.
So we put Oren in the crib at 8pm but he knew there was lots of hanging out and having fun going on only one floor below. And he did everything he could to get us to give in and grab him and bring him down. But we knew it was just a ruse, a last ditch effort at rejoining the party. He wailed with gusto at first. Then with gaps of quiet. Then whimpers. Then sleep. It was tough to wait him out, but far better for everyone that he stick to his schedule.
It was hard to hear him crying away up there. But I know that is a sound I will have to get used to many times over. I already volunteered for the night shift with our new little one. I have a feeling my night-owl tendencies will be extremely useful in the coming months. I just hope I’ve still got what it takes to play through the night and perform the next day. Unfortunately all baby has to do is eat, drink, sleep and shit. I’m certain the kid has got me beat.
I have this theory about “The Vortex.” It’s a phenomenon I’ve seen over and over again in my life, and I’ve gotten good at noticing when I am on the verge of one. Usually I can see them coming, but sometimes they do just appear out of no where. This one has been swirling on the horizon for a while now, but it has begun to encompass my entire field of mental vision, and that means I’m already inside it.
The fact is it started long ago–those first tiny gravitational tugs–when Lu and I fell in love. But it was distant and theoretical and anything but certain. Now it is the opposite of all of that. That transition of theoretical to actual occurred back in January when we first discovered that Lu was pregnant. Pregnancy was a supernovae that blasted into our life and illuminated everything about us in a brand new light. The light still glows in our faces and souls, but now the gravity of what was created in her womb has clearly started to pull on us. Everything in our lives is falling inward, into Lu’s belly, into that singular moment when we pass out of this life we are in now, and into the new one only 3 months away.
I stare at her belly. We talk to and about the child within. Our hands rub and rest on the soft round skin, and we both go wide-eyed when we feel a bump or nudge. Actually, my eyes go wide, Lu’s eyes thin as she smiles smugly, nodding, wonderfully thrilled by what is happening within.
We have set ourselves on a path that we will see to the end, and this journey will most definitely transform us as we move forward. Like the first notes to a song, like a ticket on a plane, like mailing save-the-dates for a distant wedding or party, events have been set in motion that have quickly gone beyond me. Events have quickly taken on a life of their own.
This time that’s not just a figure of speech.
And that is why this vortex feels stronger and crazier and far more transformative than any in the past.
We are taking classes to prepare us for the day. Insanely tiny clothes and objects have begun to populate our home. I have begun to see pregnant women, children and babies every time I turn around. 90% of all of our conversations have, in some way, something to due with our unborn child. We have begun to circle ever tighter around the event horizon of this birth. And then, someday soon, the circling will end and the full-force crush of life and change and birth and baby will completely tangle time and warp reality as Lu performs the most profound act of her life (and mine) and gives birth to our baby.
We enter that day partners. We will end it parents.
I can’t wait to see what the Universe looks like from the other side.
Breathing. Finding her focus for the uterine surges. Leaving fear behind to embrace the beautiful experience of giving birth. Relaxation, calmness and meditation for this crazy thing called Hypnobirthing. And there I am to make jokes at the classes, and then softly massage her back as she sits on the birthing ball during the labor. Only 12 weeks left to go. Or so.
It’s all happening so fast.
9 months seems like a long time. It’s not. 9 months is a blink of the eye when every day your wife is growing larger with life.
It is incredible how different these last few months have been compared to the beginning. No cough, no nausea, her appetite is back and even though she’s working hard every second of the day, she still has enough energy to work, garden, shop and do everything else she does with a smile on her face and a hand on her belly.
Shoots are sprouting in the soil out back. The trees are thick with leaves. The heat is settling in and the breezes blow warm through our relaxing back yard where I found Lu tonight, chilled out on a chair, reading about the birth to come and how to craft a clear, calm, purposeful mind amidst the wonder of childbirth.
I just hope I can keep up!
On Saturday I was given one of the most important and special parties a father-to-be can receive. On Saturday my coming child was celebrated at a Man Shower. I was dying to know what my friends were going to get me, but in my heart I kept whispering to myself, “please be beer, please be beer, please be beer…” And lo and behold, it was beer that I was given. That and pizza and good tunes and lots of competition kicking each others butts in Wii Bowling. Truly everything and more that a man could ask for before the birth of his first child.
On the other side of town, Lu was getting a similar treatment, just with less beer. The women of SF threw down a surprise party for her and it came off without a hitch. How we managed to conceal the facts of this party from one so inquisitive as my wife is absolutely amazing, but somehow we did it. And yes, there were tears.
6 months in now and flying is out. This trip out to SF was as far along as we could push it. She and the baby did great, but it was far from comfortable. All further journeys for the next several months will be by car, that much is clear.
It is also very very very clear that Lu is going to have a baby. She recently told me how people will get this different look in their eyes and face when they realize that she is pregnant. There is a level of respect and understanding and a sort of moment of reflection when they look at her and see the little life blooming within her. I love that. I believe it is a universal human instinct to admire, respect and assist the pregnant females of our species. On a fundamental level we instantly know how important these women are. We see our mothers in them, our spouses, and of course, our future, curled up into a tiny little creature protected and enveloped within the womb.
It is the most amazing magic trick in the Universe and all of us are a little bit psyched when we see another slo-mo performance of this incredible beauty.
Tonight I had the first interaction with my unborn child. Tonight I felt a kick.
It was incredible.
Last weekend while camping Lu felt the first flutterings from within. We were laying on the airmattress, bundled in sleeping bags in the chilly Vermont night when she suddenly gasped. “I feel the baby! Just like my mom said it’s like a fluttering! That is so crazy!” I put my hand on her belly to see if I could feel it, but nothing. It has happened many times since none of which I felt, but today was a new first. Today she felt a kick.
I wasn’t there to feel it. I’m away on a business trip. Well, not so much a business trip as over at my friend’s place for the night because I’ve got a farmer’s market in the morning and I need to be near the shop to be ready to brew coffee in the AM. Staying over and hanging with them saves me an hour commute in the morning and that is gold. But I already feel like I’m missing things. I missed feeling a kick tonight!
When I get back from being away for two full days Lu is definitely bigger. It feels strange to be thinking about this already, though. That Lu’s belly is larger and, down the line, that our child will grow while I’m not looking. But that’s just the way life is. The days and weeks race by into months and suddenly two-thirds of this thing called pregnancy is done and we are in the home stretch toward the day of delivery.
Hypnobirthing classes start tomorrow. That proves we are getting close. I can’t believe we’re actually going to have this child in the middle of our apartment, but that is definitely the plan. With hypnobirthing it is all about relaxation and deep breathing, and that is perfect for Lu. As a yogi she understands the meditative state and I’m sure this class will be great for her.
Most of all I am impressed that she is planning on giving birth without drugs. But hey, that’s just how she rolls.