She’s here, she’s here! Ellery Jane Reichling was born on August 14th. After a very smooth labor and delivery she arrived into the world kicking and screaming, like a good little baby. She came exactly a week early and I was so grateful because it was truly getting challenging for me to eat, breathe and walk around. She is a petite little munchkin, weighing only 6lbs, 2oz at birth and currently almost 7lbs. She prefers sleeping to eating so gaining weight has been challenging but we are getting better.
Her due date was August 20 and I was somewhat relieved that she came early because I thought she might choose to come on Asher’s birthday, which is August 23. While it would have been nice for them to share a birthday I am glad she has her own.
On Asher’s birthday Joe and spread his ashes in near our home in Griffith Park, on a trail that he and our dog Lexi, run almost daily. Everything about spreading his ashes on that day and in that place felt right but it was still hard to let him go. I know that he is the reason that Ellery is here. Something about my pregnancy with Asher righted my body and I was able to conceive her. The vision I had so long ago of one baby pulling another by the hand and asking for permission for both to come makes sense now. He was her shepherd.
What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time I was in such a deep well of grief, with no hope and no sense of what was to come. Life is like that I guess. It’s filled with impossibly hard experiences and unbelievably joyous ones. I’ve learned that anything is bearable, that life goes on, and that there is always hope for the future. I realize that perhaps I wouldn’t feel that way if I wasn’t holding my baby girl but I am and so I do. For whatever reason this is my experience and lesson.
So, parenthood is intense. I can’t believe they just send you home from the hospital with no license and no supervision. Despite the reading we did Joe and I feel like we are totally winging it. One of our friends gave us this piece of advice: “Don’t worry, she doesn’t know it’s amateur hour!” Really? I hope that’s true.
The first few days I was flying on adrenalin. Sleep? Don’t need it. I just need to look at her little face and I can go on forever. Or at least until day 5 when I hit the first of many walls I would hit over the past 4 weeks. Thankfully, we were able to get some help in the form of a little angel named Ruby who comes to help us at night so mommy can get 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Ruby is worth her weight in gold. She actually knows what she’s doing and she’s teaching us how to care for Elle.
I just want to say a quick word about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was the one thing that I was super attached to. I couldn’t wait to breastfeed and not just because of the cleavage. So, of course, I am having problems breastfeeding. I am just not making enough milk. There could be myriad reasons for this and I am exploring all of them with professional help but at this point I have to supplement with some formula. I hate it. I am devastated. But I have to feed my baby. And I don’t want to stress myself out because I know it will stress her out. I’m doing everything possible to achieve a full supply but at some point I may have to surrender to this reality. And when I start to spin out about how awful it is I can quickly reframe the experience, again, thanks to Asher. Ellery is here. She is alive. I am beyond grateful.
PS- I got a lovely email recently from someone I sort of knew in college who happened upon this blog and has been following my story. She shared some of her own struggles with me and thanked me for writing this. She was also curious about how I was doing. I want to say thank you to everyone who reads this, those I know and those I don’t know. I hope it has helped someone else. I know it has helped me to write it and put it out there without any expectations. I truly don’t know if anyone reads this or not but if you do, thank you so much. I feel honored that you would.