I'm pleased to introduce to you my tiny daughter, Esther Alanna.
She was born last Sunday after a fairly difficult labor and delivery both healthy and surrounded by immense joy.
She was 8 pounds and 7 ounces and 21 inches long. She also has gigantic feet. She has a full head of the softest hair I have ever stroked and I am unembarrassed in fulfilling the cliché of a new parent who can spend huge chunks of time simply looking at he baby when once she itched to be "productive" with handicrafts in every idle moment.
Jacob has taken to fatherhood like a duck to water, to embrace another cliche. This morning he stumbled into the nursery, bleary-eyed and smiling, demanding his turn to hold her. He somehow sensed that she was done eating from the other room. I am healing and get worm out pretty quickly and Jacob has been amazing both in his uncomplaining assumption of all domestic chores and in his total support of me when I get overtired and despair or lose all perspective with which to problem-solve the frustrations that come up.
I thank God multiple times a day that this baby arrived when she did in my life, with this partner. I am also reminded regularly by my body what an amazing machine God constructed to be so powerful and with the ability to be taxed to it's limits and then to heal with resiliency afterwards.
My best friend Susan was present for all four days of labor and all three hours of pushing and delivery. When I helped my other friends give birth, the mother told me that she couldn't have done it without me. I thought she was being sincere but hyperbolic until my own birthing experience. Without Susan to cradle my head and shoulders, lifting them up and curling me forward with every push, talking to me and providing a focus for my energy, they would have had to send me up for a c-section. She has known me intimately for 12 years and is a god leader in all sorts of circumstances. Helping me was the perfect combination of her skills. Her presence allowed Jacob to be present for his own experience of becoming a father, allowing him to witness and assist in Esther's emergence, building a foundation for their relationship. I am so grateful for the balance that Susan's effort allowed Jacob and I to experience.
I hope to write out my birth story for those of you who are interested, as well as to tell you more about her names. I hope to continue feeling better so that I can do this.
Welcome to the world, sweet baby girl. I have been struck over and over again in the last week by just how enlarged my soul feels at the prospect of sharing what I have collected, learned and created with you. The dancing means more now that your father and I have you to dance with.
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