Ajax Maximilian Stewart Kaufman was born on December 27, 2012 at 8:31 am. I can't believe he's been with us for four whole weeks now.
I didn't exactly worry that I wouldn't love this baby as much as I do Helene. I did think about it. I wondered if I wasn't feeling connected enough to our baby boy while he was in utero. The truth is, though, that you have considerably less time (read: pretty much NONE) for pregnant belly navel gazing and dreamy belly rubbing and baby kick feeling over Thai takeout with your husband when your first baby is a preschooler who has the nerve to demand constantly to be fed, entertained, bathed, taken to birthday parties, and play games, and need to be tucked in, etc., and who doesn't like Thai noodles anymore now that she is four and highly opinionated. I knew, of course, that he was in there, my very active baby, keeping me company with his practically constant kicking and poking and rolling and hiccups.
But he was so abstract, this male boy-creature; I just couldn't imagine him. What would I do with a boy? I had a penis, of all the outlandish things, growing inside of me. Would I feel strange about diapering him, nursing him, because he was a boy? Honestly, I tried not to delve too deeply into these thoughts, preferring to let them skitter away into their dark hidey-holes like mice. I focused instead on the cliched-because-it's-true things that every parent of more than one has ever said: you will just love that second one; there will always be enough love.
Sure enough, after one big, desperate surging push, out he shot into the midwife's arms, christening everyone within blast radius with a spray of amniotic fluid, and then, there he was on my belly. There he WAS! So warm, and crying within seconds, and oh! Oh. OH! Hello! Here you are, of course it is you, of course I know you, of course I adore you, my little love. You are Ajax, and you are you, and everything is right.
Within a minute after birth, he'd raised his head all the way up off of my chest, and looked around at everyone there with eyes blue and clear as shooter marbles. "Wow," said the midwife. "Did you see that!?" My boy, already living up to his name.
It was so different this time. My do-over drug-free VBAC was better than I could have imagined. (Well, except the hard labor part of labor. There's nothing all that good about that.) Once the my-nethers-got-run-over-by-a-cheese-grater feeling subsided with some painkillers, I was seriously rather blissfully high on hormones and sleep deprivation and BABY. He was just delicious, and warm and snuggly, and latched on to nurse perfectly and easily the first time and thereafter.
This was so unlike last time, when I was in so much pain, beaten down by it, afraid I couldn't take care of my baby girl, afraid to be released from the hospital, hobbling down the halls with excruciating slowness. This time, I was walking around my room the first afternoon, holding, lifting, & changing Ajax the first night. By the second night, I'd sent Seth home to sleep, and was completely fed up with the hospital routine, interruptions, lectures about how often to nurse and not letting the baby sleep in bed with me (this ain't my first co-sleeping rodeo, nurse-lady) and crazy hours (Really? You take the baby to be weighed at midnight? And it takes over an hour?)
Seth sprung us from that hospital joint Saturday morning, and I'm not sure I've ever been happier to be home. My house was the warmest, fullest, loveliest place on earth on Saturday, December 29, as far as I was concerned. It had snowed lightly that day, we had a fire in the fireplace, dinner cooked by my amazing mother in law, my daughter kissing her baby brother. I had a little wine in my glass, and I was absurdly in love with my husband all over again. As my mother said, now you're all here.
Yes, we are. I had no idea how in love with you I'd be, my boy, and how full and complete and replete you'd make my life feel. You're perfect, you're everything. Welcome.