Kevin has headed off to work for the day. Bless his heart. I don't know how many times Caroline or I woke him up last night- plenty. We had settled into a pretty nice rhythm with his earlier return to work. He would spend some quality time with Caroline while I showered and or ate. And often once Caroline was full, he'd pass her to Aunt Katherine for an hour plus of cuddling to allow me to sleep. Well, the rhythm is changing now. My whole family is over at my friend's house a few miles away, that includes Aunt Katherine. Auntie Mieke was sleeping here last night, and she did some good cuddling with Caroline before bed, but she had to get on an early plane this morning and though I was awake, so was Kevin, and he took her to the airport. But that meant that some of the time for the morning routine got swallowed up... for a good reason and it is o.k. (IT WAS SO WONDERFUL HAVING MIEKE HERE AND HAVING HER PERFORM THE BAPTISM! More on the baptism later...) And there was no one here to pass her off to so I could grab some sleep after some mid-night insomnia that was more than infant care induced. So Kevin brought in the swing that is a hand-me-down from Rebecca and Josh, and for which we got appropriate batteries this weekend (Kevin declares the money spent on those batteries some of the best ever spent) and settled Caroline in it. She is sucking on a pacifier and peacefully swinging away. She's making little noises now and then and so may need some human time soon, and so I should be taking a shower, eating, something.... but I'm too sad. And so I'm blogging.
Katherine begins a very long drive home at noon today. She came in to say goodbye last night and we both lost it. I don't want her to go. I won't pretend it has been entirely easy spending so much time with my sister, the most since childhood and then we didn't want to spend time together, but it has been pure gift. Sharing these early days of parenting with her has been such a gift. There will be three heads to remember Caroline's earliest moments. There have been three pairs of arms to bounce and rock her. There have been three people to sing to her, change her, cuddle her, love on her practically constantly. And there will still be three people for awhile, (my mom will stay until January 9th) but Aunt Katherine lives FAR, FAR away... and it is not uncommon to go a long time without seeing each other. It will be a long time before she will be in the next room and able to take Caroline for a few minutes or a few hours. And I'm weeping.
Because as nice as it is for Caroline to be content in her swing, it felt so much better to have her content (or even angry) in Katherine's arms.
Katherine doesn't want me to think like this, but I honestly don't think that I would have successfully birthed Caroline at home if she hadn't been here. I honestly believe her interventions moved the birth along every time it threatened to stall, and her interventions eventually lead to the crowning and birthing so long awaited. She is bothered that I think that because she wants me to know that it was by my strength that I brought Caroline into this world. But I know in my bones it was by OUR strength. By the combined strength of everyone in that room, but especially by Kevin, Katherine, and me. And God, of course.
More needs to be written on our decision to birth at home, and on the part that Katherine played in that. A conversation with Mieke made me realize I haven't written much about that. But for now I just need to share how sad and how grateful I am. This is going to be a hard day.