you look lovely today.

I have developed a belief about what happens in these moments and it goes like this: Kindness is like a breath. It can be squeezed out, or drawn in. To solicit a gift from a stranger takes a certain state of openness. If you are lost or ill, this is easy, but most days you are neither, so embracing extreme generosity takes some preparation. I learned to think of this as an exchange. During the moment the stranger offers his or her goodness, the person being aided offers degrees of humility, indebtedness, surprise, trust, delight, relief and amusement to the stranger. The Universe Is Conspiring To Help Us
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18463814
Pretty into this book. Thanks, Nana!

Pretty into this book. Thanks, Nana!

Moo?

Moo?

Good morning Sun. (Taken with Instagram)

Good morning Sun. (Taken with Instagram)

Jackson Carter

You’re almost 4 months old already. I write you this letter so that one day, when you are a big boy who can read, you will know what a special part of our family you are, right from the very beginning.

One year ago, you were but a twinkle in Daddy’s eye, Jack. He started dreaming about warm, snuggly babies as we were busy planning our wedding. About a month after our special day, I started feeling sick and tired. Just the smell of iced coffee - one of my favorite treats! - was too much for me to stand. I started to suspect that you were growing, and finally one day it was time to face the facts. I was scheduled to go to a doctor’s appointment where they were going to take some x-rays, so I took a test. In the ladies room. At work.

As you know, I am terrible at keeping secrets. I called Daddy at the hotel where he was working and told him the big news. He says he fell over where he was standing! I left work early that day and went to meet him for lunch. I remember eating mashed potatoes and biscuits at the bar at Red Lobster. The bartender thought I was silly. Daddy and I couldn’t stop grinning and laughing. What a fantastic surprise!

Carrying you around made me tired! One day, I stopped by the hospital because I was feeling sick, and they made me sleep over so they could run some extra tests. It’s a good thing that I went, because the doctors learned that there was something wrong with the way my body was working. They put me on special medicine and arranged to see us on a more frequent basis. We started going to the doctor two times a month to listen to you swimming around. This was good practice for Daddy, who sometimes felt sick with worry for me and you.

As you grew bigger, I loved to feel you tumble in my belly, Jackson. Every evening, after dinner, you danced and punched and kicked. I grew to expect your fluttering and jabs around 7 o’clock, and on the days when you were sleepy or relaxed, I worried. Sometimes I made Daddy drive me to the birthing center where they would hook up speakers so we could listen to your beautiful rhythmic heartbeat and hear nurses tell us what good shape you were in. He always obliged, no matter what time it was, because he liked to hear you, too.

At our first ultrasound, we were hoping to learn if you were a baby boy or a baby girl, and you were uncooperative. You were laying on your belly, facing the floor, and you kept your legs crossed until the very end! At last, the technician triumphantly announced “OH, this is a boy!” and she circled the proof on the screen. Then, she printed us a screenshot of your face & we laughed at how long your tiny face looked. I was sure you were going to look just like Daddy!

We busied ourselves getting ready for you to be born. We gathered clothes and diapers. Daddy hurt his hand while putting your brand new crib together. We went to classes together to learn about what to expect on your birthday. Nana made plans to come visit, then changed them again and again as the day grew closer.
Finally, the week arrived. Because I was sick, they decided that it would be best for you to be born about three weeks early. First, the doctors did a test to check and make sure that your lungs were mature. It involved poking a big needle through my belly - it felt like a prehistoric bee sting! We were so excited when the results came back later that day and we were able to schedule a time to go back to the hospital!
That afternoon, Nana flew from New York to Chicago. I was too worked up to sit still, so we ran last minute errands together. She drove with us to the hospital the next morning. I remember we stopped at Starbucks to get breakfast. I nervously ate my banana bread on the quiet drive.
The hospital where you were born is beautiful. It feels more like a giant house than a regular hospital. It is decorated in the style of one of our favorite architects, Frank Lloyd Wright. The hallways and rooms are warm and inviting. We felt like we were at a fancy hotel, not a stuffy hospital!

Since I was a little girl, I have heard stories of mamas having babies. I have marveled at how much time and pain and work is involved. I remember listening to Nana talk about the hours and hours of labor that she endured, and I went in to your birthday expecting a long battle. Instead of making a big plan, I decided to keep an open mind and listen carefully to the doctors who had taken such good care of you so far.
Shortly after we arrived at the hospital, they started an IV with fluids to get things started. At first, the nurse put the IV in wrong and some blood pooled in my left hand. It swelled up and when I saw it, it made me feel sick. I had a very physical reaction and ended up throwing up the banana bread I had eaten just an hour before. Believe it or not, that was the worst part of the day!
Once my stomach settled down, they added some medicine called pitocin to my IV. By increasing the pitocin gradually throughout the morning, they were able to make my body start having regular contractions. They weren’t strong or painful yet, but they were consistent! Nana, Daddy and I spent the morning watching TV and reading books. Your daddy finished writing thank you notes to the people who came to your baby shower. We also walked in the halls a little bit, trying to get things moving. I was so impatient!
Finally, around lunchtime, they broke my water and the contractions got stronger right away. I started feeling short of breath and I was having a tough time talking through the contractions. A little while later, I asked your nana why I felt like I needed to push if it wasn’t time yet. A nurse checked to see how things were going and was shocked to see that I had gone from 3 cm to 10 in about an hour! She ran out to the hall to call the doctor.
In a matter of minutes, the doctor rushed in wearing scrubs and a mask that covered her face. I remember thinking “Oh boy, you are a little early to this party - there’s a long way to go!” but I was totally wrong. I pushed through a couple of contractions and then the doctor announced that you were ready to be born. She could see your head! It was time to meet you! After a few more big strong contractions, you were born. The room erupted with celebrating and the nurses began working to get you dried off so we could hold you for the first time. WOW. Six pounds. 17 inches. So much hair! Such big eyes! Long long fingers. Perfect.
We didn’t hold you for long because the doctor noticed that you were making a soft, cooing sound instead of a big, loud healthy cry. They said that you were “singing.” In brand new babies, this is a sign of lung infection or immaturity. They warned us that if you didn’t stop singing soon, they were going to have to bring you to a special nursery to check your lungs. Daddy and I were worried, especially because they had already done a special test to check your lungs! Grandpa and Janet arrived at the hospital just in time to hold you before the doctors decided to take you away and check your lungs.
Your lung tests showed some inflammation and possible infection. The concerned doctors decided to give you oxygen and keep you in your own room in the special care nursery. That first night, you had a very special nurse named Sheeba who took care of you. You were the only baby in the nursery, so she was able to spend lots of time with you. She showed Daddy how to change your diapers, how to comfort you, how to hold you even with all your tubes and monitoring wires. I wasn’t ready to walk over to your nursery yet, so Daddy slept in your room to keep you company. Every time you squeaked or cried, he woke up to check on you.

You stayed in the special care nursery for seven long days. They put you on antibiotics to combat the infection in your lungs. Daddy and I slept in a room just down the hall from yours. We were sleepy and overwhelmed but grateful to the wonderful nurses who took such good care of you during your stay. Finally, at the end of the week, it was time to go home. You had a rough day; they reinserted your IV, did a lot of bloodwork, performed your circumcision and a hearing test. We were overjoyed when they finally disconnected all your tubes and wires. We dressed you in a warm outfit and put a hat on your head. You looked so tiny in your giant carseat! I sat in the back seat while Daddy drove home. I helped you hold your head up.



We are having so much fun getting to know you. In the hospital during the first week of your life, you had a reputation for peeing on nurses while they tried to change your diaper. Hilarious. You are strong, Jackson, and you love to show off. At your two month visit, you impressed your pediatrician by rolling over. Twice! You love to do backflips with Daddy’s help. You smile at us constantly and love to make us laugh. You sleep through the night and love your mid-morning naptime with Daddy. You are a champion eater. We’re waiting for your first tooth to pop through, because you have been drooling for about a month now. No matter how we put you in your crib, you roll on to your belly and scoot to your special corner before falling asleep. You are very talkative these days. Your favorite sounds to make are “ella” and “gee”. We’re still waiting to see what you say first: mama, dada, lula or prada.

xoxo. love you.
Geeking out. I just caught the Google car right in front of my apartment! (Taken with Instagram)

Geeking out. I just caught the Google car right in front of my apartment! (Taken with Instagram)

Baby beluga. (Taken with instagram)

Baby beluga. (Taken with instagram)

Uncle Caleb with Jax. (Taken with instagram)

Uncle Caleb with Jax. (Taken with instagram)

Uncle Micah with Jack. (Taken with instagram)

Uncle Micah with Jack. (Taken with instagram)