Tag Archives: birthday

DEAR ELLIOT.

Oh, Elliot.

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There was a time when I was so used to communicating with you through sign language and grunts and facial expressions that I couldn’t imagine that one day we would communicate with words. I knew just how close to sleep you were by how many circles you rubbed into your eyes with your fists. I knew that I only had 2.5 minutes to make your morning oatmeal before your rumbling belly got the best of you and triggered the tears of a hungry, grumpy baby. I knew to leave you alone when you ventured off for one of your crawling marathons; you’ve always been the independent one.

Now you are two and we communicate with words. You love your sleep and oftentimes you are the one reminding me that it is nap time, but I am the one that has to remind you that you’re hungry and that it’s time to eat. When you are done with a meal or a snack, you are done and must be retrieved from your high chair immediately in order to avoid a first-class meltdown, but if said meltdown does occur, in the middle of it, I ask you if you need a hug and it never fails to stop your crying and reconcile us to each other again. Your heart is so tender and your emotions are so big. My most earnest prayer these days is that I would have the greatest facility in helping you navigate them because I know what it’s like to have strong feelings shut down. I want you to feel all that you feel and feel it well.

You love movies. Our regular rotation lately is Toy Story 2, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Aristocats. I have spent plenty of time guilting myself about your “screen time,” but the Lord has shown me how these stories only fuel your imagination. You don’t zone out when you are watching them. You include me in the narration of what is happening and you mimic the characters’ reactions and five minutes later I find you in your room, reenacting with your plastic Buzz and Woody and it fills my heart to watch you create, still the independent one.

Most kids, especially toddlers, don’t know what to do with a guitar. You have held one properly since the moment you picked it up. You strum like a professional. You sing along. One day, you decided a guitar could be a violin too, and you used a drumstick as a bow while holding the end of the guitar up to your neck. Not long after that, you realized that if a guitar could be a violin, it certainly could be a cello, and you sat in a chair with the guitar between your knees, drumstick in hand. I think I might be raising a musical genius.

It is so interesting to see how differently you interact with different people. When Papa is home, you literally jump on him and attack him with swords and pull at his beard and destroy the house by setting up obstacles and blasting through them with your toy vacuum. When it is just you and me, you insist that I draw letters for you so that you can identify them, or that I let you read me all the books, or you sit very close to me with your little hand on my leg while we talk to Oscar about how fun it’s going to be when he can wrestle with you. You are such a gracious big brother. You find ways to entertain yourself when Oscar is nursing because you understand that that is Mama + Baby time. You try to share your toys with him by opening his little fisted hands. When Oscar tries to talk to you, you put your hand on his head and say “oh, yeah?!” over and over. I am so glad that you came first, Elliot. I am so glad that you came at all.

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Inspired by your auntie + my best mama friend.

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AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…

It was a dark and stormy night…

Just kidding.

I was sure that God had forgotten about me. Oscar was ten days late and my doctor would not let me go any longer than that without inducing labor. Induction was my biggest fear — I believed that my body and my baby would tell me when they were ready and I hated the idea of staging an intervention while the baby and I were still healthy. That being said, I also trusted my doctor with my life and respected her medical opinion. She was nothing but supportive throughout both my pregnancies, always complimenting my ankle bones (because she could see them) and telling me “you do this so well,” so I knew her recommendation to induce was for my safety and my benefit, not to fulfill her own agenda or cash another paycheck. We were put on the induction list for Thursday (9/13) and were told to wait for a call any time after midnight. Brandon came home Wednesday night (9/12) with a cough, so I put him and Elliot to bed at 8pm and moped around in despair for the next four hours watching Prison Break and eating my feelings (what empty ice cream carton?). I finally relented and went to bed, cursing the heavens for overlooking all the desires of my tender little extra pregnant heart.

What a dummy.

I woke up at 3:30am due to some painful ruckus in my uterus. I mean contractions, due to some contractions, but I didn’t yet believe that they were real contractions because, if you remember, God had forgotten about me. I got up (I’ll sleep when I’m dead) and paced my bedroom while timing the ruckus with a handy dandy iPhone app. It’s a modern world, folks. When I saw that I had had three what-I-was-still-calling-“fake” contractions in ten minutes, the sun started to part through the grey clouds of my despairing heart. When I had to hold onto the wall and moan through the next one, the angels started singing.

God hadn’t forgotten about me!

I packed up some last minute things for the hospital, woke Brandon, and called my mom. She came over to our apartment so Elliot could keep sleeping and would take him to her house for the rest of the time that we would be gone. On the way to the hospital, I played “He Leadeth Me” over and over and over. My gratitude for what was happening was already bubbling over.

At the hospital, I got dressed and strapped to the monitor, still having to make noise through each contraction but not quite to the Annoying Labor Lady stage, which I think is pretty impressive since I was seven centimeters dilated during my first check by the triage nurse. They started an IV and we were moved to the delivery room, where I got an epidural from the nicest anesthesiologist ever (bedside manner is sort of a big deal when someone is inserting a giant needle into your spine). I am a big fan of epidurals and I’ll stop to tell you why: I know that my body was made to birth babies and I know that I could do it naturally. BUT. I also know that I don’t handle pain well and that my memory shuts down during the times that I’ve been in mind-blowing pain (like contractions), and the birth of my children is something I want to not only remember but enjoy. With the absence of pain, I felt so completely present with each birth and was able to scoop each baby up and hold them for the first time without any sensation other than joy. My positive experiences might be the exception to the rule, but that’s what they are — my experiences, and I wouldn’t change a thing about them. Epidurals for the win.

I rested in bed until I was jolted by a firm “pop” and rush of fluid. My water had finally broken (on its own! Remember when God didn’t forget about me?). I called the delivery nurse, who was the reincarnation of Mother Earth and Mother Goose (and by that I mean AWESOME), she checked me, and I was fully dilated! Woot woot! My doctor arrived in record time and we proceeded to “get this show on the road,” as they say. Except it wasn’t much of a show because five minutes and four pushes later, our perfectly perfect little man was welcomed into the world and I clutched him to my chest in all of his glorious amniotic wetness. “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you. Thank you.”

Oscar Maxwell Piersol was born on September 13th, 2012 at 8:05am, after only four and a half hours of labor. He was 7 pounds 13 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

I loved my hospital birth. I never felt disempowered. Oscar was never taken from me without permission or explanation. I felt nothing but taken care of by every nurse we ever had. I felt safe and informed and understood.

I had worried this whole pregnancy that I couldn’t love another kid as much as I love my first kid, but then this kid looked me in the eyes and I fell completely in love. I’m in love, you guys. Three times over.

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Important days of importance.

We celebrated Husband’s birthday yesterday. We are really glad he was born, but mostly we are glad that we had a reason to eat cake.

Today is our anniversary. Three solid years of marriage, folks. Here’s to everyone who told us we wouldn’t make it. Suckers!

I was going to be super cute and get three helium balloons and tie these photos onto the ends for Husband to wake up to, but who has time to buy helium balloons when you’re busy playing Settlers of Catan and drinking non-alcoholic beer and eating buckets of cookies with your best friends at midnight the night before? Not me, sir, not me. Planning in advance has never been, like, my thing.

I wasn’t going to let a shortage of gaseous chemicals impede my cuteness, though. After Elliot jumped on Husband’s face — “Good morning!” — I presented him with the photos, each representing my favorite memory from every year since we said “I do.”

The first is from our honeymoon, which is just a fancy word for road trip. We stuffed our van with everything we owned and drove 1,100 miles to our new home in Washington. We took our time, just two kids in love, 200 cigarettes, and not an inkling of thought toward time or its boundaries. It was glorious.

Thanks for the adventure, Husband.

The second is from the day our son was born. Duh. If ever there was a reason for living, man, this kid is it.

Thanks for creating life with me, Husband, and sticking around to be the most admirable father a kid could ask for.

The third is from last August when we spent three weeks in northern California, all expenses paid, for Husband’s job training after he got the promotion we had been praying for for one hundred years. He would work 8 to 5 Monday through Friday while E and I would walk around the nearby parks and shopping centers or watch old movies in our hotel room, and after 5 we’d go out to dinner (for free!) and on weekends we’d drive up to San Francisco (for free!). An extended vacation could not have come at a better time for our little family.

Thanks for being a genius, Husband. I can’t wait to collect more years and more babies with you.

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