After twelve weeks of eat, sleep, and breathing the newest addition to our clan, I can’t really help if this post is a little mushy gushy. I mean it’s not my fault my son is perfect. Well, maybe it is a little…he is half me! Atticus James always wakes up with lots of smiles and delightful stories to share. He illustrates his stories with nonstop hand and leg motions. I suppose after sleeping six to eight hours, arms high above his head, lots of wiggles are necessary. He goes into battle speed when he’s getting tired and NEEDS to be held. Not picking him up immediately results in an angry little bub that makes adorable little fists, which he then thrusts towards the perpetrator while grunting. Luckily, his love of cuddles results in a fleeting anger. As soon as he’s safe in someone’s arms his happy little self comes back. In addition to appreciating a good cuddle, Atticus loves baths, being sung to, eating his hand, having his head rubbed (I think he gets that from his great grandpa grant), his stuffed monkey, and anyone who pays him significant attention. He also enjoys quality television. He thought Hart of Dixie was amusing, the first two seasons of Heartland endearing, and well he is beyond excited that Hallmark has started playing their nonstop Christmas movies! However, before I get too carried away, let me back up a bit to where the Atticus saga really began.
It was a Saturday afternoon when I had my first real and somewhat uncomfortable contractions. As they grew in strength and quantity, I realized sleep would not come easily. Fortunatley, I have a super awesome hubs who stayed up all night with me in order to keep me amused. We watched several ridiculous movies and I think we even laughed a lot. It’s possible I may be making that part up as I have heard the unpleasantness of giving birth is easily erased with a cute face. It was well into Sunday before I decided it was time for medical intervention. Nick took a few final picks of my belly (why is it we like documenting and remembering just how big we can get?) and let the neighbors know we were headed out. Poor Ansel…he didn’t really understand who was going to take care of me if he was left behind, but I figured the doctor would be able to manage just fine.
Hence, on Sunday August 17, around 5 p.m., I was admitted to the hospital. At the time I felt anxious, a little scared, very excited, and prepared. I had no idea just how naive I was. That understanding would develop over the next 25 hours. Nurses came and went, each promising I was ‘so close’ to holding my baby. The hope their promises of progress brought would then be crushed by the doctor telling me the baby had not moved at all since the last time he had checked. I admit I became a bit irrational towards the end. There were tears of desperation, exhaustion, and pain. My epidural had stopped working and the new drugs being administered were less than awesome. I wanted the complete numbness back! From beginning to end Nicholas never doubted I could do it, but I wasn’t so sure. In fact there was a point where I voiced my desire to just keep the baby in. Fortunately a lifetime pregnancy would not be my fate. After doing all he could to keep me out of the operating room, my doctor determined a cesarean section would be necessary. My contractions were weakening (something about my insides being exhausted) and the baby’s heart rate had slowed down. Normally the idea of being cut open would not sound exciting, but when the doctor made the call that day, I felt both happy and relieved! After that it didn’t take long for the arrival of our precious baby boy. At 6:09 pm on August 18, 2014 Atticus James made his appearance. With no way to accurately describe the feeling you get when you see your child for the first time, I’ll just say it was incredible.
After a quick look at baby Atticus, Nicholas followed him and the medical team to a station where he got to cut the umbilical cord and help weigh and measure our little man. I got one more viewing and a quick touch of his tiny hand before the nurses stole him away to be cleaned up. Nicholas went with them, insisting he be allowed to do as much of it as he could. I wanted to go too but needed to be sewed back together first. The doctor discovered a slight lip on my pelvis blocking Atticus from getting through despite any efforts made. I would soon see his battle wound; proof my little boy really had tried his hardest. That made me feel guilty for any blame I may have put on him in my moment of insanity. My boys were waiting for me just outside our room (cue the sound of a melting heart) where Nicholas placed Atticus in my arms for the first time which elicited another indescribable feeling. I wanted to hold him close and never put him down. Three months later I still feel the same.
The few days before our first guests arrived were sweet and special for our little family. However, the arrival of my parents would begin an exciting period of visitors and fun. We picked my mom and dad up from the Kenai airport where Atticus immediately charmed his way into their hearts. For ten days they took excellent care of me while enjoying many of Atticus’ firsts such as: his first hike, which resulted in his first glacier viewing; his first bath; his first walk and campfire on the beach; his first trip to home depot, and his first doctor appointment. The appointment was only one week after being born and little Atti had already gained a few ounces. My little man was on his way to being a chunker.
Having my parents with me during the first couple weeks of Atticus’ life meant a lot and saying goodbye was, to say the least, hard. However, lucky for us, shortly following their departure we got two more stellar visitors. Atticus got to enjoy many more of his firsts with Nick’s mom (also known as Mims) and his Uncle Zachary. These included: his first trip to Anchorage, his first boat ride, his first whale viewing, his first photo shoot, and his first menacing rain storm. Why so menacing one may ask? The answer is this: We decided to spend the day in the town of Seward where one can find great ice climbing. Though it was too premature for Atticus to have his first experience climbing ice, it wasn’t for Zachary. Therefore, the two boys went off for a great adventure. The hours ticked by and finally, long after they were due to meet back up with us, Terri and Ansel set out on a search. In addition to the rain being torrential, the light was quickly fading. Atticus and I waited in the car, envisioning lots of terrible scenarios. Happily none of those would be the ending to this story, and not only were the boys found, they were healthy, happy, and safe. It seemed a very short week before we once again had to say unhappy goodbyes. Nicholas was going to miss having his ‘Bro Montana’ around to entertain and help him with projects; I was going to miss being spoiled by my mother-in-law; and Atticus was going to miss watching Jane Austen movies with Mims!
Following their departure the house would feel quiet and lonely. This, however, would only last a few weeks before it would entertain two more visitors. Aunt Trina and cousin Maxwell were happily welcomed back to Kenai. Their visit was far too short but delightful nonetheless. Trina introduced us to bakery Friday, took our family pictures, let me talk her ear off, mastered some American ninja warrior moves, and charmed more moose into town than I had ever seen. Not only were the moose charmed, the seals seemed to be higher in number and closer to the beach than usual. While we were all sad to see them go, no one mourned their parting more than Ansel. To say he adored Max would be an understatement, and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual. One would think a small child pulling your ears, poking your eyes, trying to ride you or force a binky in your mouth would be less than desirable. For Ansel, every moment of it was pure bliss. Ansel likes Atticus, but is definitely frustrated by his unwillingness to throw ball. He can’t understand why he refuses to give it a good toss!
Trina and Max were our last visitors, and so, with their parting, we have set our focus on adapting to life with a baby in tow. It has been an adjustment for sure, but one that we are thrilled to make. As I sit here writing this all down, I can’t help but feel extremely blessed to have such an amazing family. I have three demanding but fabulous boys that make me incredibly happy (Nick really isn’t demanding though he does insist on having as much fun as humanly possible.) I can’t wait for the thrilling adventure that lay ahead of us and yet am in no hurry to rush the beautiful present.