Last night I had a dream I took my baby daughter in for a weight check. The doctor's office in the dream was a converted Victorian house and I was put in a room that was more hotel than doctor's office, and I set my things down on the bed and realized there was milk everywhere––in all the bags I was carrying, on the floor, everywhere. I waited there for two hours and was furious about it, and as I was leaving to go back to my car, sloshing around in the milk, I realized that among all the bags and furniture in the room I had somehow lost my baby.
I'm not quite sure what I expected these first few weeks with a newborn to be like, but whatever I imagined, I was wrong. (For one thing, she was born so big she doesn't quite seem to have the eating/sleeping schedule of a more normally-sized newborn, for which we're grateful!) And I'm actually less anxious about things than I expected to be. Like, before she was born I bought one of those insane-parent monitors where you slip this sensor pad under the baby's mattress and it alerts you if there hasn't been any movement in twenty seconds; I bought it not because I really think those things are necessary but because I know myself and I imagined myself staring at the ceiling unable to sleep worrying about her breathing and getting up every thirty seconds to make sure she was still okay. But actually she feels hardy and healthy to me, and strong, and so much a fact of our lives that I simply can't imagine things without her.
Time has done weird things lately--I can't believe she's over two weeks old now, but it also feels like it's been forever that she's been here, but also when I think back I can't believe fifteen full days have passed. It's been, actually, kind of busy--lots and lots of doctor appointments and lots and lots of visitors--and more like normal life than I would have imagined, in that I sort of pictured this haze where dishes went undone and garbage bags piled up against wall and I never touched my computer and we kind of stumbled around dazed and so far it hasn't been like that. I guess I also imagined some kind of seismic shift in myself, or in my sense of self, and so far that hasn't really happened yet either; it's just now there's this tiny funny adorable little person to take care of.
It's strange how someday this will all feel distant and blurry and tinged with whatever kind of emotional filter my memory lays over it (and stranger still that Audrey will, of course, remember none of this). I hope I remember, things, though, like the little shriek she makes when she's bothered by something (it's so tiny and cute) and the way she looks up at me when she's eating and the way she feels nestled against me when she's just about to sleep and the way when she's hungry and you're getting things ready and holding her she'll turn her head towards you and try to eat your arm. Or how it's summer and in the afternoons the light will stream in and it's bright and open and she's here sleeping somewhere or lying on the bed while we laugh over her, or how funny I find it when she projectile poops all over the changing pad/towel/carpet/me. I have a few memory tricks: I make playlists and listen to the same one and nearly exclusively that, so that later I can listen to it again when I want to be taken back to the mood and texture of a certain time. Also, I take billions of pictures.
Also, I have an essay up at Brain, Child this week! (Trigger warning: pregnancy loss.)