“Blink and they’re two”

mood: peaceful | drinking: yep

sixweeks

Strangers stop me on the street now. They peer into the pram, ask me, “How old is she?” And exclaim, “She’s so tiny — so beautiful — so precious — la la la.”

But they also, down to nearly a person, tell me, “It goes so fast. Before you know it she’ll be two — be going to school — be driving a car.”

Don’t I know it.

Today Lucette is six weeks old, and I can hardly believe how fast the time already flies. We’ve spent the last week holed up in a swanky hotel suite in Las Vegas. Bruce has been here on a job, and Lulu and I didn’t want to be home alone just yet, so we came along. She and I have had lots of time to snuggle, to bond, and to figure each other out.

The other night, sitting on the couch with the Vegas lights blazing like stars far below us, I promised her that I will always do my very best. In hindsight it might look faulty, but then this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. And no matter what, I will give it everything I’ve got.

Hopefully that will be enough.

-Lo, who finds it surprisingly natural to refer to Bruce as “your daddy.”

Post Partum

mood: quiet | drinking: water

pumpkin2

With the exception of one poem called “Good Dog,” written shortly after LeeLoo’s death, all the poems I’ve written in the last nine months have been all about this change, this life, brewing inside of me.

That includes a series of 13 poems titled after fruits and vegetables, starting with “Kidney Bean” and ending with “Pumpkin”… the idea being that the size of the titular piece of produce corresponded with the size of the little one in my womb.

Someday I’ll publish all 13, but I thought now was a good time to post the final poem in the series. So here you are…

Pumpkin

early
I bare my toes to the ocean
and wait for the waves,
salty and cool against my skin
steady and measured inside my womb.

active
There are women
who proudly tell stories
of profanity in the labor room,
of squeezing fingers to pulp, of
screaming fault lines
at the nearest person
possessed of a penis,
of blood, chaos and drama.

But in Room 203 I am falling in love,
knowing we have never been together
quite like we are on this night.

push
They tell me to push just one more time
and I find his eyes and bear down
quivering with effort.

“That’s great, now do it again,”
they say, and I do and I do and I do
and I think “This will never end.”

But it does, in a rush, and you slide
purple and wailing from that world
to this.

He sees you before I do, and turns to me,
eyes welling with the wonder
of having finally met
the person you made
and finding her utterly perfect.

post partum
I am halfway to the drugstore
when I remember
you are no longer with me.

After 10 months of cohabitation
the shock of your absence
is devastating.

A song comes on the radio
that has nothing to do with us

but I weep nonetheless
for the sorrow of solitude
and the joy of delivery.

***

(written September 1st and 2nd, technically weeks 40 & 41)

-Lo, with a little less writing time on my hands.

This Little Light of Mine

mood: transformed | drinking: cranberry juice

lulu_day2

She’s finally here.

Lucette de Luna was born at 7:58 am on Thursday, September 2nd. She weighed 7lbs, 5oz and was 20 inches long.

Her first name means “little light” in French, and her second name means “of the moon” in spanish and italian. So (very) roughly translated, her name is “little light of the moon”. (She’s very multicultural that way.)

Of course, there will be nicknames. We’re getting a head start on those by calling her Luci and Lulu.

mom1Labor lasted 27 hours, and if you told me that going into it, I would have been completely freaked out. But we just took it one contraction at a time and we all made it through just fine.

Of course, it helped that the first 12 hours (from 5:30 am Wednesday morning until 6pm Wednesday night) were spent at home. It was gorgeous in San Francisco that day, so we actually spent a couple of hours at the beach, with me standing ankle-deep in the ocean, waiting for contractions and watching the waves come in. Not a bad way to be in labor, really.

I’m writing this from our hospital room. We’ll go home soon, but for now the three of us are in a little cocoon of post-delivery joy.

dad1Bruce (I should call him Bruce on this blog now, not Boy. No need for subterfuge, right?) was an amazing partner, not only throughout labor and delivery, but through my entire pregnancy. Scratch that, through my entire life. He’s just pretty much the most kick-assingest person I know.

We’re both just beginning to find our way into parenthood, but so far Lulu is making that easy. She’s beautiful and sweet and the top of her head smells like heaven.

I know I have thousands of unknown days ahead, full of their own terrors and joys. But right now, at this moment, I couldn’t be happier or more peaceful.

Lucette’s here, and that’s all that matters for today.

-Lo, from babyland.

Any Day Now

mood: waiting | drinking: Bruce is

hot-sauce

Mini Watermelon

Any day now
could be The Day,

and then for years
we will mark it
with candles and confections.

The only immediate trouble is
knowing which day
will be The One.

I have always loved September,
so if you want to wait
a few more days
to make your entrance,
I won’t mind. But then,

I am already accompanied
every hour
by your elbows
and kneecaps.

Your father, however,
enjoys no such comfort
and has grown so anxious
to see your face,

he has begun to lace
my BLT sandwiches
with hot sauce.

-Lo, from week 39.

In Limbo

mood: ponderous | drinking: water

limbo

I picked up LeeLoo’s ashes today, brought them home in a small cedar box.

This weekend we will meet up with a few of her favorite people to let her fly free at the beach.

It’s been almost a month now since she left us, and I was getting to the point where I didn’t cry every time I thought of her. But when the vet tech handed me the smooth, heavy box, the reality of her loss crashed over me again.

I loved that dog more than I love most people I meet. She was a part, a big part, of the best years of my life, sharing the last 8 years with Boy and I, traveling with us everywhere that didn’t require an airplane.

We knew that change was coming… we’ve known it since the plus sign appeared on the stick in January. But somehow, losing LeeLoo made the end of our old life very clear, as if we suddenly reached the end of a book, closed the cover and put it up on the shelf.

And soon, any day now in fact, we’ll begin a new book. We’ll open up to page 1 and start writing a new era, one that includes Bean. Everything will be different.

But that’s the future tense. LeeLoo was the past tense. And right this moment, we’re in the present tense with not a lot to say. It’s a surreal time. We are living in the in-between, a weird frozen moment between what used to be and what will be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying all these last moments of alone time. I’m sleeping in, watching movies, reading books, getting facials and massages and waxes and mani/pedis. I’m loving all this time with Boy, just the two of us.

But every time Bean puts a heel in my kidney, every time I feel the cramp of a Braxton Hicks contraction, every time I try and fail to hoist my planet-sized body out of a chair, I’m reminded that this time is just Limbo. Here today, gone tomorrow.

I have no idea what the future will look like, but I’m hoping very hard that it will be even better than the last eight years. Because that would be pretty goddamn amazing.

-Lo, with less than 2 weeks to go.

The Mourning

mood: bereft | drinking: lemonade

loo_wait

Honeydew Melon

These are the heavy days.
I am weighed down by every hour.

Unwieldy with the delight of you
and cumbersome with her loss.

She would have loved you,
would have licked you,
would have introduced you
to the wonderful world of Dog.

But you have not yet arrived
and she is already gone.

Alone and ponderous,
I stagger through rooms
bereft of her sweet snuffling sounds,
rooms that await your newly born racket.
There is plenty of room
here for each of you

but not enough space
for my grief.

[written week 35]

-Lo, from limbo in week 37.

The Becoming Never Ends

mood: ponderous | drinking: lots and lots of water

boat_small

My thoughts are scattered far and wide today, floating on haphazard breezes like so much dandelion fluff. I don’t know where to begin.

I can feel myself changing. Outside, the transformation is obvious even to strangers, as my hard round stomach pushes its way further and further out into the world. Inside, everything is re-arranged. My viscera, my ribcage, my brain.

Who is it, exactly, that I am becoming?

You don’t even know how many people have said to me, “Oh, you will make such a good mother!”

The polite response is “thanks” of course, but what I would rather say is, “How the hell do you know that?”

Because I don’t even know that. I don’t know what it is going to take, exactly, to be a mother. I don’t know where, exactly, mother will end and me will begin. Or perhaps they will become inextricably entangled and I will never again be precisely myself.

I’ve waited a long time to become a mother. This is something I don’t think I could ever regret. I’ve had an excellent time learning to be myself, learning to be Boy’s partner, learning how to constantly and consciously become a better version of both.

And now, a whole new door is opening inside me. A whole new person is being knit together, and whether she likes it or not, she will always be a part of me. From here until the end of time.

It’s easy to talk about all of this evolution in pretty prose, but the reality is what scares me. I don’t know how, exactly, all of this will change me. I don’t know who I will be on the other side. I don’t know how Boy and I will make it all work.

And even more, I don’t know who exactly this new little person is. I don’t know yet what she’ll like and dislike, what she’ll dream of and what she’ll discard.

There are just so many unknowns to this whole situation.

And it’s fine for all the onlookers to be all pleasant with their platitudes about my parenting skills, but only time will tell, right? These chapters have yet to be written.

I’m sure we’ll do the best we can and day by day, we’ll figure it out. Right now, though, I sit with a butternut squash in my belly and a whole lot of blank pages in front of me and I try to remind myself not to jump so far ahead.

And I wonder why everything I write comes circling back to what’s happening in my uterus. It’s an all-consuming project, this baby-growing thing.

I fear I’ve become a boring conversationalist already, and we haven’t even gotten to the part yet where Boy and I spend dinner discussing the irregularities of our progeny’s poop.

-Lo, with a bad case of the baby brain.

Making Room

mood: excited | drinking: nope

rocker

I’m minutes from leaving on a jet plane, headed off to Illinois for a baby shower my Mom is throwing for me.

But before I go, here’s a little update… the latest poem in what’s becoming known as the “Fruits & Veggies series” because the title of each poem corresponds to the fruit or vegetable that most resembles the size of the little one.

This week’s veggie is an English hot-house cucumber, according to BabyCenter.com. I have no idea what an English hot-house cucumber looks like, actually, but I’m assuming it’s on the large side, as cucumbers go.

Last week’s vegetable was a Rutabaga, and here it is, in sevenling form:

Rutabaga

We are busy making room for you, redefining
our borders and relegating sharp objects
to the safety of high shelves and dark corners.

But it seems there is not enough room for my spleen,
and my gall bladder also has been displaced, small
squishy organs summarily relocated

by the push of my ever-expanding heart.

*****

-Lo, who has a boarding call.

Sugar and Spice

mood: ebullient | drinking: water
bean_shoes1

…and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of. So they say.

(Although I remember being a little girl and I wasn’t always sugar and spice. There might have been a puppy dog tail or two thrown into my recipe.)

From the moment that plus sign appears, you find yourself wondering who this new creature will turn out to be. And “Boy or Girl?” is right up there at the top of the list of questions. It’s certainly the thing people most want to know, right after they ask you when you’re due.

Finally, we have an answer. The Bean is a bean-ette.

I made the ultrasound technician check, twice, to be sure there were no beans and frank hiding anywhere. She was quite positive in her diagnosis, though. “No suprises,” she assured me, “It’s definitely a girl.”

This whole time, I’ve tried very hard not to want a girl over a boy. Because what if Bean turned out to be sporting a penis, and then later he found out that his mum actually wanted him to be a girl? That would suck.

But let’s be honest. I’ve been stashing away girl stuff for a very long time now, just in case. I really, really wanted to have a daughter. bean_dress

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Bean will turn out to be the kind of girl who will even be interested in the trinkets and goodies I’ve been saving for her. But maybe, someday is good enough to go on for now.

The day before the big reveal, I wrote this poem to capture how I felt before I knew the answer to the gender question. I hope someday Bean will like this, too…

Heirloom Tomato
(week 19)

Wishful thinking will not change
the tint of your eyes
the grain of your hair
the Xs or Ys of chromosomes.

You already are whoever
you are going to be.

In a windowless room at the office
I lay on the graying carpet
and let a woman string a ring
on a strand of my hair.
She held it motionless
above the mound of belly
where you swim.

If it swung in a circle,
you would be a girl.
Perpendicular, a boy.

In my impatience to meet you
I have imagined a whole wardrobe
of bright cotton dresses. I have drawn up lists
of names. (The page for girls is longer.)

Your aunt has entered birth dates
into gender calculators,
all of which predicted
you will be my daughter.

But today the ring swung
in a line, not a circle.

I want you to know, now,
before we inspect you
with sound waves,
that you are loved
exactly as you are.

-Lo, amazed.

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