Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lila: The Next Generation

July 30, 2016

It's been a week since our grand surprise. A clutch of skin and bones and a thatch of golden hair, baby Lila roared into our universe at warp speed. Two months early, she left the comfort of Mom to forge her way outside of the womb. She was here whether we liked it or not. Why the hurry, little one? Lila, already a disruptor.

None of us were ready. Emotionally, psychologically it was so difficult to fathom that instead of a full term, bouncing baby girl we ended up with a three pound seven ounce premie. We had plans, but apparently Lila had other plans. There was no stopping her. It's been shock and awe. Frankly, a bit too much shock and too little awe, until today
Day One
A mother's love

Today Lila and I had a moment. We bonded as well as you can when one of you is in an isolette and the other is standing by your bed, poking scrupulously clean arms through portholes to catch a little skin. I felt her and I felt truly happy for the first time since she graced us with her presence. Her health is good and she's gaining weight. Today was the first time the joy surpassed the fear. She gripped my finger while she slept and I held her feet. It was the first visit we've had, just the two of us, with no interruptions and no medical interventions.

There was a transfer, from me to her. I so clearly felt my parents and grandparents and there was an acute connectedness between the generations. While Lila squeezed my finger she turned to me and cracked open one tiny eye. Then it fluttered closed and she smiled in her sleep. Another flutter of the eyelids, a squeak and a yawn. The kid looked like a baby for the first time instead of,  as Lucy put it, a minuscule Benjamin Button version of her father. Her lips are Lucy's, though. A perfect, tiny rosebud mouth.

It's been very hectic for both of us this week. She was ripped from her mother and I was thrust into being  a grandmother. Eric and I were out for a bike ride in Sonoma when I got the call from Lucy. I knew something was wrong, but I figured it was early labor and that the miracle of modern medicine could stop it. It was Eric's 65th birthday so we kept on the bike  ride until the next ominous text. At 31 weeks pregnant, Lucy's water had broken. The miracle of modern medicine could not stop it, but they did save mother and baby. Thank God.
Day Two
All three of my babies were moderately to severely overdue. I've never seen a baby this small. Scrawny chicken wings and legs with hanging skin. I must confess that when Lila and I first met I felt a tad woozy. I didn't want to alarm her father, Greg,  but the neonate scared me. Her eye was bruised, her head had a mask and she had an IV in one arm, an oxygen  contraption on her toe and she was so, so tiny. Scary tiny.

July 12, 2017

Now Lila is almost one year old. She's a happy, healthy baby. She crawls and babbles and eats an alarming amount of food as well as plenty of milk. She seems to have inherited her mother's fast metabolism as well as Lucy's sociable  nature,  self-determination and dislike of bedtime! Lila is more easy going than Mommy and seems to have gotten that from her Daddy, as well as the ability to play by herself longer than seven seconds.

Lila is a lean, strong baby just as you'd expect with lean, strong parents. A single snaggle tooth, bright blue eyes and straight blonde hair round out the look.  She charms with her gummy grin. We've travelled to London and New York. While Mommy worked  Lila and I spent some time hanging out in cafes. Lila loves to scan the room, find her subject and make eye contact.  She expects everyone to love her, and she's right. They do.

Lila and I are good buddies. I already loved her deeply, but when her other grandmother died suddenly on Lila's due date, before they'd even had a chance to meet, I felt a heavy responsibility. Grandmothers are so important and you can never have too many. Fortunately, Lila has several granddads, and they are extremely important, too.

Becoming a grandmother was nothing like I expected. The night Lila was born I left the hospital and went to eat in a restaurant in North Beach.  Eric stayed in Sonoma because we weren't sure how things would go with the premature delivery. It was strange to be alone after something so momentous had happened in my life.  If I had known then what I know now, and how beautifully Lila would develop and grow, I would have been ecstatic. I would have been so thrilled that my firstborn had made me a grandmother. Instead, the day Lila was born was one of the most traumatic days of my life.

It was strange for all of us, but Lucy seemed undaunted. I'll never forget the look of joy and love on her face the first time they wheeled her bed into the  NICU a couple hours after the birth so she could see the baby. She didn't see a scary, tiny creature. She saw her beautiful baby. They aren't kidding that a mother's love is blind!

It was over a month that Lila stayed in the NICU, and it wasn't easy, but we were so lucky. The kid was healthy, just tiny. One time I referred to her as our "special needs baby" and the nurses corrected me. They said she didn't have special needs, she was just small. Actually, I disagree, She did have special needs, including a feeding tube, at first, but those nurses were amazing. They had growing an infant outside the womb down to a science, It was hard to not hold her like you would a full term newborn, but the hardest part was being around the parents whose babies were really sick. That was truly heartbreaking.

We all did our best and Lucy was just amazing. Seeing what a wonderful mother she is with her baby made all the work I put into raising her worthwhile. I felt like I was paid back in an instant for decades of effort. Also, the vague longing that I had felt since my youngest (now 27 years old) was no longer a baby completely dissipated. I wouldn't want my kids to be little again because then I wouldn't have my grandchildren. You see, I'm very fortunate.
Three months after Lila was born, Lana gave birth to Sally. But this Is Lila's story. We'll save Sally for another day.

Four Generations

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful post, Wendy! Thank you for sharing!!