My neighbor, Kally, had her baby. Little Kellen Andrew Elliot joined the world the Monday before Christmas, weighing at a healthy 8 pounds a looking just great. Hearing news of his arrival, my first thought was—as it always is when I'm considering the plight of the new parent—"Oh, no! Poor Kally!"
This tendency to see the arrival of a new baby as an onerous event rather than a blessed one is, I think, because my own delivery was so traumatic. I labored forever, then ended up with a C-section anyway, and a complicated one at that. I came home severely anemic and depleted and barely able to move. Everything was a struggle. Factor in the raging hormones, and it was pretty much a horror story for the first few days and weeks. I always assume it's the same for everyone.
But of course, it's not. Kally, for instance, had a relatively easy delivery—she did great. She labored for about eight hours, and was able to delivery vaginally (she was induced, and so had a little help from vitamin P). When I arrived with my giant vat of meatballs, she'd been home from the hospital for all of two hours and was sweeping around the house wrapping Christmas presents and doing her best to keep her two toddlers at bay. Kellen was sleeping in his car seat, and moving from room to room with her. If I didn't know she'd just given birth...I'd never know she'd just given birth.
Probably, the fact she was in fantastic shape when she went into labor helped the process along tremendously. She had a lot of strength to draw on. As the mother of three boys all under the age of five, she'll need it!
I saw her again today, driving by on her way to the YMCA. She's less than two weeks post-partum and getting back into her routine already. She needs the sanity space, she says, and I believe her—with a mother-in-law here to help baby sit (and plenty of pumped breast milk to cover an hour on the elliptical), she's smart to take the small increments of time away when she can get it.
I'll see her there soon, I promised her. Truman and I both just recovered from a bout of pneumonia, finishing up what I hope will be the conclusion of the latest round of one-thing-after-another. I'll let her example guide me in 2008: A strong and healthy mommy can take better care of everyone.
Hillari Dowdle is working very hard to muster some holiday spirit. Ho-ho-ho.