Kiddo#4 arrives — demented thoughts

And now, some totally disorganized thoughts from a very postpartum Mom. Buckle in and wear a helmet: this might be rough.

About five hours after Kiddo#4 was born, I awoke from a nap feeling absolutely terrific. It was 12:12, and I owned the world. The baby was right there, and I was all-powerful. I would get up, do the laundry, bring down a box of snacks, get a book, do some knitting, write a weblog entry, and call everyone I knew.

I wisely waited three minutes, by which point I realized I’d really just rather lie here in bed having a newborn cuddle. That, in fact, I was fantastically drunk on all the birth hormones. Seriously, just flying on sky-high levels of estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, endorphins, prolactin, and other substances I’ve only made a few times before in my life. Instead of getting up and doing stuff, I stayed there and enjoyed the heck out of it.

The midwife taught me a new way to swaddle, and by “new” I mean, “not new to civilized portions of the world, where babies have probably been swaddled this way since Eve swaddled Seth.” It involves making a burrito of the baby and tying the bottom of the blanket back up around the baby’s neck so the weight of the legs is supporting the head. It’s odd and it’s perfect, and the Kiddo loved it. By today, he’s relaxed quite a bit from the way he was bent up inside, so that doesn’t work so well, but it was perfect for handing him around to his older siblings.

I’d completely forgotten how incompetent I feel with a newborn. The way the baby sobs in distress when I try to change a diaper is just heartbreaking. At least it keeps me humble.

I’m remembering the cute one-day-only stuff, like how their fingernails are straight across because, well, they started growing all at once. Or how their ears are folded paper-flat to the sides of their head.

And I’m also remembering all those newbornish things you only need to know for about a week, like the way the baby raises his head and stretches to mean “I have gas, and I don’t know I do.” These little things are coming back to me on an as-needed basis.

To all the people who said I’d look at the baby and “just know” his name: if I’d relied on that, his name would be “Peanut Bundle Philangelus.” Sorry.

It took a combination of my literary degree (“Hey! Three trochees in a row!”) and Divine Mercy Sunday and remnants of my psycholinguistics class and eighteen hours to get me to agree to the name my Patient Husband lobbied for. Once we decided, though, I haven’t looked back.

I always assumed our souls entered into Heaven fully ready to function, but what if we’re “born” into Heaven the way we’re born onto Earth? Maybe this is an extension of the spiritual prematurity I spoke about before.

Spiritually, our guardian angel then keeps us swaddled for a bit, keeping our hands covered and away from our faces so we don’t scratch ourselves, carrying us around, showing us off. At first our focus is very narrow, only on God, and only later can we look around at other things. Then when we finally become competent enough to go about on our own, does the angel turn us loose so s/he can go have a well-deserved nap?

(Or maybe just a stiff drink?) stiff drink

And my most demented thought: labor is hard work and it does hurt, but it brings a life into the fullness of the world. When Jesus was crucified, it was hard work and it did hurt, but he brought our lives into the fullness of Heaven. His passion was like “labor” to us, and in that way, he “delivered” us, as both a mother (of sorts) and a savior.

It’s probably not huge, but I did end up spending time dwelling on the similarities and feeling some kind of connection between my work and his work. I was able to “get into” labor because I do see it as productive work, and at first I thought, “Jesus only felt pain,” but the fact is that his pain was productive work, because by that, we’re born out of this world and into one where we can grow and be in the light and live and be joyous.


Talk to me again next week when the hormone rush has died down a bit. I might sound more sane by then.


  1. xdpaul

    Sanity is overrated. A fat lot of good it did Freud.

  2. CricketB

    Oh, yes, the triangular fingernails, because when they started to grow the fingertips were really, really tiny.

    Enjoy the baby-moon!

  3. mercurial scribe

    Wow… I delivered on March 25th and I’m just now getting into writing about it. But this is your fourth, so you have experience on your side…

    Congrats and happy nesting. 🙂

  4. philangelus

    It’s not a contest for speed, Mercurial. 🙂 I just didn’t want to forget everything, and with three other kids running around vying for my brain cells, memories get flushed out WAY too fast.

    It sounded from your own weblog that you had a really rough few weeks even prior to a rougher delivery than I had. **hugs** Take your time. Babies are only wrinkly and new for a week or two like this.

  5. Bill Snodgrass

    Just saw this and had to read it. I should be selling your book! (I hope HTML formatting is allows or the above will be ugly!)

    Congratulations on number 4. Hang in there!

    I also kind of like the “Peanut Bundle” name, but what do I know.

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