Today is March 14, my 41st birthday and three days past the one-month anniversary of Theo’s birth. When you’re pregnant, everyone tells you that your life will never be the same, that you will be forever changed. It’s true, in both tangible and intangible ways.
It’s surreal to have this little person—this person we created—to suddenly be outside my belly and in our arms. To see, touch and smell our son, to trace his features, looking for a glimpse of our own. To laugh at his funny faces and to feel his fingers curl around ours. To hear his cry, and feel his head heavy on our chest as he sleeps. While I felt a deep love for and fierce protectiveness of Theo the moment Elie placed him on my chest, I fall more and more in love with our son each day. And while I never thought I could love Elie more than I already did, I feel like my love for Elie has taken on a deeper richness from this shared experience of creating a human being, bringing him into the world and loving him together.
No matter how many stories we heard or articles we read, I don’t think anyone could prepare us for the reality of bringing home a newborn, someone who completely depends upon us for everything, someone who trusts us fully to love and care for them. It’s alternately heart-melting and empowering and overwhelming. I feel a newfound tenderness and unfaltering patience for Theo that I’ve never felt before, giving everything I need to patiently nurture this life as we both learn how to navigate the days and nights together.
In this first month, we’ve gotten to know this little person more and more each day, starting to decipher his facial expressions, his sounds and cries, his body language. Some of the mannerisms are familiar, like the way he sleeps with his hands above his head, just like he did in the womb, when I could feel his little fingers curling against the inside of my belly. Or the hiccups, which come predictably once or twice each day, just like they did when he lived inside me. When I was pregnant, I kept saying that it felt like we have a sweet, gentle baby. He is, in fact, just that—calm, relaxed and often content to just observe the world around him. He seems to have an old soul.
We’re delighting in and treasuring the new discoveries about his personality, like the way he lifts his eyebrows and purses his lips when he’s done nursing, stretching and tossing his head back with a grunt before collapsing on my chest, milk drunk. When he sleeps, he makes the funniest noises, humming and cooing and squeaking in his dreams. We’ve recorded him over and over, so we can remember those sweet sounds. Luckily, our little Theo loves to sleep, especially on our chest. I’m sure that will remain one of my sweetest memories of these first weeks, his cheek pressed against my chest or Elie’s, his mouth open, his arms outstretched and his legs curled beneath him.
Elie and I are determined not to wish the time away, but instead to stay grounded in who Theo is today and not who he will be or what he will do tomorrow. Just like everyone says, the time slips by so quickly. I want to capture these first weeks in my memory, remembering what it has been like to watch him change and grow each day. Theo is such an easy-going little guy, and he has quickly developed from sleepy newborn to an alert, active and strong little baby. He loves to take a bath. He generally falls asleep when we put him in the stroller to go for a walk. He sleeps in the car. When Daddy sings or talks to him, Theo stares at him with wide blue eyes. The only things that make him cry are hunger and dirty diapers. He loves to nurse, but he took a bottle filled with pumped milk without hesitation. As long as he’s full, he will sit in your lap and look around at his little world, observing. And a few days ago, we got our very first big grin, which lit up his face and melted our hearts.
It’s amazing to see how much he has changed since these pictures were taken two weeks ago. We are over-the-moon in love with this sweet soul. Thank you for being the best birthday present ever Theo. Mama and Daddy love you so very much.
Thank you to our friend, Matt Land of Matthew Land Studios, for capturing these photos of our little family, when Theo was two weeks old.