Today was my official due date. The babies have been out exactly six weeks and yet they weren't due to arrive until today. It's crazy to think about the fact that I might have been crazy pregnant in 100+ degree weather, or that I would have been able to watch Game of Thrones without a baby on one boob, whilst pumping the other. Simply mind-boggling.
I got a six-week head start on getting to know these little people. They are here and they are healthy and for that, I'm forever grateful. They each have their quirks and their unique personalities are already shining through.
Mabel, for instance, is my T-Rex. She is ferocious and loud and has tiny arms that flail around when she wants something. When I breastfeed her, she chomps down and gets really hangry until the letdown happens and the milk begins to flow. Fun fact: the letdown is what happens after a minute or two of baby being on the breast. Their sucking signals your body to release the milk. Mabel hates having to work for it. I try to help her out by milking myself. That's right folks, I spent my twenties milking it on stage and now I spend long nights milking myself in front of an audience of infants.
Oh, how times change.
Mabel doesn't applaud my extra efforts, choosing instead to grunt and growl and chew. She even pulls off to look me dead in the eye, as if to say, "Excuse me, waiter? I ordered the house white HOURS AGO. I need to speak to a manager!" I coax her back on by attempting to gently remind her of the task at hand, which quickly turns into a standoff of two stubborn redheads and usually involves me accidentally poking her in the eye with a nipple or squirting her in the face. She is not amused.
Then suddenly her eyes roll back in her head, I hear huge gulps and see milk leaking from the corners of her mouth. The war has been won. Success! In her excitement, Mabel drinks as much and as quickly as she can, a lot like I did in collage. And as a thank you, she usually deposits half of what she removed from my breast back on top of my chest, because there is nothing a mother with low milk supply loves more than having that hard-earned milk spit up all over her.
Walter, on the other hand, is patient. He latches gently and doesn't panic when milk isn't waiting for him at the starting gate. He instead takes his time to feel me up, as any self-respecting man would. He stares at me with what I imagine to be unconditional love, but is most likely gas. He paces himself and cuddles close to me, leaning in. It feels like a gentle hug - unlike Mabel who pounds me like a drum as I milk myself like a cow.
You may not believe this, but I see a lot of myself in Mabel. Not just the red hair, the stubborn streak or her very capable lungs, but also her determination. In fact, for almost five years, we waited for our "letdown." We stood before the big boob of life (yes I'm making this metaphor, just go with it) asking for milk that felt like it would never come. I grew impatient. I'd throw things and scream occasionally, like Mabel does. Life never squirted me in the face with breast milk, and for that I'm grateful, but when suddenly this thing you've worked so hard to have has arrived and you are flooded with this euphoria, it's hard not to overindulge.
Sometimes I'm flooded with so much love, I think I may throw up. Finally, our family is complete. They have all arrived and the love is intoxicating. So, Mabel, I get you. Also, please stop spitting up my liquid gold.
Walter is my little warrior. He's overcome so much. His breathing episodes have improved. His appointment with Children's Hospital is next week to discuss his craniosynostosis. Walter doesn't complain. He can sleep through anything (he's going six to seven hour stretches at night). He loves boobs. He reminds me of my husband. And thank God! We needed at least one more laid-back person in this household.
Speaking of house ... we bought one. Up in my hometown where I grew up. A place I never imagined returning. It's three minutes from my folks and almost double the square footage of our current 900-square-foot house. On close to an acre, it has central air and a dishwasher. It's magical. While I'm going to miss my village of incredible friends who've become more like family down here, it feels like the right move for the five of us.
The floodgates have opened. Only thing left to do is sit back, enjoy the fruits of our labors and do our best not to choke. We worked hard for this letdown. And the love just keeps on flowing.