April 5, 2009

Three years of Elijah

We have a 3 year old in our house. AGAIN. From my experience with Maya, I learned that 3 was even harder than 2, actually way harder than any other age we've experienced so far, I think. We'll see if Elijah will prove this wrong. But for now, I'll try to soak up the memories from this age, because he will never be this little again. Just bigger, an bigger, and then older...

Elijah turned 3. Three years seems like an awful lot of time when you think of it in terms of a child, going from a helpless newborn to an exploratory-destructive with much cuteness and charm mixed in toddler. And yet, it's hard to believe that those 3 years have gone by already, in a blink of an eye. Yes, time is a very relative thing.

I can't help but think of the day when Elijah was born. Familiar waking at 3 a.m. knowing that I am in labor, just like that. Our packing of 'the last few things' took about 2 hours, after all I was in labor, resting on the yoga ball during surges (contractions) and listening to my Hypnobirthing relaxation scripts. And no, I could not leave the packing to Mark, I was in charge then, knowing exactly what I needed to do and to have on the day I was going to give birth.

Hospital check-up at around 5 a.m. and 8.5 cm. I still remember my relief, no 15 hour labor this time. Not really surprised though, I was at 6.5 cm 2 days before. I hear Claire, my doula, is here, talking to the nurses. Her voice alone send endorphins throughout my body. Required antibiotics, hooked up to IV for 20 minutes. Mark and Claire are by my side, while I'm sitting on the yoga ball, waiting to get disconnected and immersed in the tub of warm water. I now vaguely remember tiny red lamp blinking and beeping in the dark L&D room, Claire later told me it was for the baby's bassinet/warmer, but I didn't notice it. Hypnobirthing was changing my life then.

Warm water feels like heaven on your laboring body. I don't get to stay there for too long, the baby is coming, my breathing is changing, my body is working harder, and Claire can hear that the baby is ready to be born.

Back on the hospital bed, a few nurses appear from nowhere. Midwife is ready, Mark is by my side, Claire is taking photos. I feel in charge of my birthing by letting go of any desire to control the process. It feels right, it works. No pain, no fear, no fighting, just an unstoppable power and lots of hard work. No 3 hours of pushing this time either. Just breathing and feeling my body doing all the work. I need fewer hands on me, but oh well... He is already here, beautiful hair, beautiful voice. And then beautiful eyes, opened. Love at the first sight. No turning back, he is in my heart forever...

miss that lanugo

birthday boy

It's amazing how much detail I can still remember from that day. The emotions, the thoughts going through my head, the smell and the noises of newborn Elijah. I remember looking at him and wondering what he was going to look like in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years... Three years? Are you serious? How can it even be possible that this tiny wiggly newborn will turn into a walking and talking toddler? Yes, I was wondering back then...

Those 3 years have been as unpredictable, exciting and challenging as they could be. I prayed my way through Elijah's reflux, constant inconsolable screaming, hating car rides (among many other things he disliked), my PPD, Maya's jealousy once he turned into a happy baby in the 7th month of his life. And don't forget spit-up, oh there was endless spit-up for the first 14 months of his life. So much that we had to lose some of our down payment on extra carpet cleaning when we were moving out of our apartment, and then the brand new dark hardwood floors in our rented house never looked clean again for the first year or so.

No, really where did the time go? It seems like just a few months ago I was wondering if Maya and Elijah would ever play together. Now they do, every day. Yes, they fight and pick on each other every day as well, but still, they play together, pretend together, read books together. And now he is getting more and more interested in playing with Anya, making her laugh (despite Maya's protests, because SHE is the big sister), giving her snacks. He is really turning into a BIG brother, not just 'big brother' who had no choice but to accept the title.

And he is full of love, always. He may be at the age where he disapproves of everything with very loud high-pitched screaming and long endless
nooooooo!'s, but he always finds plenty of love to give. I whisper to him "I love you, boy" and he looks at me and whispers back "I wov you, mama". He must remember that day when he was born...


Amy said...

Look at that hair! It was SO DARK!

I'm amazed by the detail you remember from Elijah's birth too, Olya. Your description of his birth (coupled with the video of Anya's birth) have convinced me that I will never attempt another pregnancy without the hypobirthing program.

Enjoy your bigger, older boy.

(Is the banner above for his birthday or everyday?)

Lisa - The WagonMaster said...

I'm thankful every day that I have such amazing nieces and nephews. Little 'lijah' won everyone over the moment we saw him, and it's only gotten better! Such a happy, curious little guy. Thanks for the birth memories - so sweet!