Tag Archives | Phoebe

Been Gone So Long

I want you to know that, as I sit down to write this post, I have no idea what to say. There is so much I want to talk about. There are so many blog posts I want to write. I want to do an Elimination Communication update, including talk of nighttime infant pottying. I want to restart my $50 A Week Challenge, because when I’m not blogging about it, I don’t stick to it. I want to do a series of blog posts about what baby gear I find necessary versus which items I think are useless, because I’ve been talking with my newly pregnant friends, Joey and Stacy, and it’s stirred up a lot of information and tips that I want to share with them, as well as others.

I want to tell you about everything that’s happening in my life right now. But as I sit down to write, my awareness of current events goes blank. What do I do with my days? How have I been passing my nights? I get so tired by the time Phoebe is asleep, lately, that all I want to do is watch TV. Desperate Housewives, to be specific. It’s on Netflix Instawatch. And I’m addicted.

ekwetzel dove tattoo

I had a birthday. I’m now 29 years old. It was a really good birthday. I got a tattoo that I’ve wanted for a loooooong time. Awhile back, I met a girl with an enchanting bird tattoo. Bird silhouettes flew from her wrist right up her arm. I thought: wouldn’t it be cool to do a tat like that, but do each bird in a different town? So that’s what I started on my birthday. It is my Tacoma bird. Maybe next time I vacation or roadtrip or live somewhere else, he’ll get another companion.

Three days after my birthday, Matt and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. This being the anniversary of “fruit and flowers,” Matt gave me a bouquet of flowers each day that he came home from work, saying simply, “Happy Monday,” or “Happy Thursday.” It was really sweet. And the flowers are GORGEOUS and currently strewn around the house. Yes, I know I’m spoiled. However, seeing as flowers and fruit are very feminine things, I gave Matt the new Batman videogame: Arkham City. I figured there would probably be some digital fruit and flowers strewn about the digital landscape somewhere. He appreciated my think-outside-the-box idea.

curly sunglass wearing mama

These last 15 months have been a wild ride of change and hormones and emotions. Being pregnant and giving birth were like desert experiences for me. So much of my comforts were stripped away and I was forced to grow spiritually in order to find the peace and strength I needed to get me through those trying times. My body was weak. My hormones took over my emotions. My energy levels were nonexistent. But, finally, this month I’m starting to really feel like myself again. I am a new person, transformed by the birth of my firstborn, but I like to think that now I am more truly myself. I have shed my scales and my true nature has had a chance to step forth and mature. My body was weak, but my spirit was strengthened, and now that I have my physical strength and energy back, there are days when I feel like a true force of nature.

Of course, there are other days when all I want to do is nap. But that’s because I’m human. I’m not a deity. I’m just a person. I try to live as best as I know how; I try to be the best companion and wife that I can; and I try to mother as well as I am able; but constantly pouring myself into these pursuits is draining. Motherhood is hard. Yes. It is hard for me. Because I won’t settle for less than my very best.

I feel like my blog posts often develop a negative tone. I think that’s because I “journal” to some extent, and when I journal I tend to write about my hardships in an effort to mull them over, and then let them go. But while any life has its hard moments and its hard days, I feel overwhelmingly blessed. And I appreciate the beauty and companionship that I have day in and day out. I’ve been realistic about my hardships of parenting, so let me be realistic about the good things, as well. (Forgive me if this comes across as boasting):

Phoebe broke through her first tooth. It’s the bottom left front tooth. It’s cute. And she never lets me see it, unless she’s smiling up at me with a big happy grin on her face. (I’ve been trying to take a picture of her tooth. She’s having none of it).

phoebe's first tooth

This is the best picture I've been able to snap of her tooth. Yes. Constantly moving baby. The blurs can barely keep up.

Phoebe pees in her potty more frequently than she pees in her diaper, and she almost always poops in her potty, as well. She has even been peeing in her potty a lot at night, waking up with dry diapers and crying until we put her in her potty spot. She does almost all of this while fast asleep.

phoebe infant pottying elimination communication

When Phoebe goes down for the night, she stirs every half hour to hour and a half and needs me to go in and nurse her or change her diaper / potty her. But once I come to bed for the night, she’s been letting me sleep straight through until morning. And sometimes she even awakens with a dry diaper in the morning, too (although not very often). Yes. I can actually get 6-7 hours of reliable sleep at night. I know. This is insanity. Insanely cool. And I totally did not expect this development.

napping 6 month baby

We started solid foods with Phoebe. She hasn’t been taking them very well. Most of the time they make her spit up a lot, so when that happens, we give solids a rest for a day or two. However, whenever I’m eating sliced apples, she always wants to take one out of my hand and have it to herself. And she devours it. Albeit slowly. Even though, half the time, it makes her spit up a lot. To tell you the truth, I’m kind of relieved she’s not jumping into solid foods full throttle. My baby is growing up so quickly, it’s nice to have an area in which she’s still acting like a little baby.

We started using baby sign language with Phoebe, and she is already responding to the “all done” sign. She doesn’t sign back, but when she’s “all done” with something (playing, lying down, pottying, sitting in her highchair) she shakes her arms up and down in a specific and excited way, expecting us to help her get up.

And tonight! Tonight Phoebe started crawling. Like, real crawling! On her knees, hands plopping one after another. Her motivation? My iPhone was on the floor a few feet away from her, playing the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. She’s obsessed. With both the phone and the soundtrack. It’s adorable. She crawled after it three separate times, then she got frustrated and tired and went to bed. And 2 hours after she was asleep, I heard crying from the bedroom, and there she was: fast asleep on the bed she was trying to crawl, but restricted by my pillow. Matt and I have been in there a handful of times now to lie with her and calm her down, but she keeps dream-crawling; and, while it frustrates her, it is so sweet and adorable.

phoebe crawling through her toys

Best of all, my baby laughs. A lot. I have a dry and sarcastic sense of humor sometimes, and when I make a joke with a straight face, Phoebe will often giggle, as if she thinks I just said something really funny. My baby gets my sense of humor! When she finds something that Matt or I am doing particularly hilarious, she goes into giggle fits and gives a big belly laugh that never ends. If we keep egging her on, she just keeps laughing and laughing and laughing. It’s so precious.

That’s all for now. A blog post. I did it. It’s hard getting back on a roll after being off it for so long. Now that my site is not-hacked and live again, perhaps I’ll fluff my wooly thoughts and return them to the fold with clicking keyboard keys and warm enchanting photos.

babywearing ergo

matt papa babywearing ergo hawt

By ekwetzel

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Phoebe, Month Six. Living In the Now.

As I sit down to write this post, I don’t know what I will say.  I’ve been putting it off all evening; now it’s 11:55pm, and it’s time to put ruminating aside.

It’s not that I lack things to talk about. I could talk about Phoebe’s babbling, her 12 different giggles, her pottying, her almost-crawling, her endless teething (without any actual teeth, I might add). There are things I could say about myself as a 6 month old mom; struggles, insights, joys, memories. There is so much to say. There are so many small and significant things that I could say, that I could cram into a blog post in an effort to hold onto a bit of the Now.

You see…just yesterday, I was gazing at this face…this three-day-old face:

Three Days Old

Baby Phoebe, newborn. Three days old.

And now? Now I can hardly believe how much she’s grown. How quickly. How deeply. How beyond me.

Phoebe. six months old. vintage baby dress

My baby girl is now six months old. My...how time passes us by.

phoebe in the leaves

Phoebe playing in leaves last weekend.

The Now comes and goes. Each new moment unfolds in its own little envelope of seconds and skin, and I try to find moments of pause in which to take it all in. You know…before another 6 months pass, then another 6 years…before all the moments are gone.

The Now is what we have. The Now is who we are.

When Phoebe was a newborn and I was getting no sleep and I only ever nursed all the time, friends of mine gave me sage advice. They said, “Enjoy it while it lasts. It only lasts a short while, then it’s gone. And these moments are the ones you’ll think back on fondly. These are the moments that you’ll wish you could have again.” I’ve tried to take that advice to heart. These moments are precious and few. I want to be aware and present in them. I don’t want to waste my time overblogging or taking too many photos or complaining too much about hardships. I want to live and see and experience. I want to be full and present in these moments, because this is what my life is made up of. These moments are what I’ve got. And I don’t want to waste them on things that aren’t important. I want to swell and stretch within my Now.

As good parents, we believe that every little thing has a right answer. There is a right diaper, a right food, a right time. There are good schools and good clothes and better toys and the best activities. There are so many details that make up parenting that we get lost in them. Why? Because there are too many details and topics to know everything about everything in parenthood. There’s tons of stuff we all just don’t know. Plain and simple. Fact.

So, in my ignorance, I have chosen to focus my attention on knowing my daughter and growing in relationship with her. I don’t need to know what Wonder Weeks or Erik Erikson has to say about the stage my daughter is in. She’s in the stage of Phoebe. And me? I’m right there with her. Day in and day out. I parent from the gut and do my best to grow with Phoebe intimately and intuitively. I want to emulate calm confidence in the face of unrelenting ambiguity.

sophie teether baby girl

Phoebe is sitting all on her own, these days...

on the move tounge out blurred

...until she decides it's time to get somewhere...fast!

6 months old phoebe

She loves rolling around. She pushes with her legs as much as she can, trying to get herself away and beyond.

I hate unsolicited advice; don’t you? But you know what I love? I love soliciting good advice from other moms. Moms who have been in the trenches with their own kids. Moms who understand how simultaneously draining and fulfilling motherhood can be. No one knows everything, but we each have some tricks up our sleeves to share, some nuggets of wisdom, or spiritual and moral fortitude in times of need. Companionship and community are vitally important to me as a new mom. The people who have proven to be reliable, openhearted and engaged in my life, these people are my lifeline. And some of them I have never even met, but thanks to twitter and instagram, I meet up with them only almost daily, even when I’m stuck at home with a crying baby and no clean laundry. Thank you to the friends who have been there for me these past 6 months, those of you who I know in the flesh, as well as those of you who I have come to know online.

I always end up talking about myself in these posts. It’s not that I’m inherently narcissistic (I hope). It’s just that when I think about Phoebe and everything that has happened this last month, I can’t separate how she’s grown and changed from how she’s changed me and forced me to face my own need for growth. These moments are new for both of us.

giggles in bed

Rolling around, giggling in bed after waking up.

My Dear Baby Girl,

We call you goofy, because you’re always smiling and laughing, and your glee is infectious. You have more laughs than I can count. You guffaw when we dangle you upside down by your heels. You giggle in anticipation when you see I’m about to tickle your ribs. Even when there is trouble–like when you pull my hair or bite me while nursing, and I holler out in pain–your response is to smile and wait. I don’t think you like being “not happy,” and I think you hide your worry in cheer. But your genuine joy also springs forth; when you awaken, slowly coming to, if I’m laying beside you, you suddenly pop your eyes and grin a sparkling and deep grin straight into my heart.

From what others tell me, you’re a fast learner and you’re very advanced. You potty half the time in your little plastic bjorn potty. Even at night, sometimes. You babytalk incessantly and beautifully; I particularly love your coos. You seem to understand the common phrases that I use with you. If I offer you my index fingers, you’ll grab them with your little fists and stand yourself up. You can sit by yourself. You can almost crawl, and you’re excellent at launching yourself, from a sitting position, towards any toy you want.

You are learning quickly how to be gentle; which is great; because when I nurse you and lean over you, you’ll raise your open palm and swish it gently through my hair. It is precious.

People say you look like me or you look like your Papa. Matt and me? We think you look like yourself. We think you are a perfect blend of our features, and yet uniquely your own. Here are photos of the three of us, all taken at 6 months old:

papa mama and baby 6 months old

Matt is on the left. I am on the right. Phoebe's in the middle. ^_^ And we're all 6 months old.

I know that you’ve been going through tough times. Life can be hard. Growing up is difficult and challenging. But you’re doing a good job. Find the pace that suits you, sweetie, and I will try to be here to support you. I’m not perfect, and I’m learning as I grow, too. But if we bear with each other, I think we can teach each other a lot.

Your Mama

sleeping baby flashclub

As you lay sleeping, tonight, my big baby girl.

By ekwetzel

*The photo in the leaves and the newborn photo were taken by Stacy Wagoner.

*Phoebe’s vintage dress is, in fact, vintage. I wore it when I was her age. Back in 1982/1983.

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Phoebe, Five-And-A-Half Months. Strict Joy.

I have been meaning to post this blog about Phoebe’s fifth month for weeks. I knew what I wanted to talk about as her “5 month milestone” approached. And then I got hacked. My website was down for what seemed like an eternity. And then my mom came to visit and I had better things to do with my evenings, like play Settlers of Catan. So I continued to not blog about Phoebe’s milestone. And, now, here we are. It’ the evening of the 29th. And Phoebe is now five-and-a-HALF months old. And I finally sit down to blog.

phoebe's kisses for grandma

Kisses for Grandma Healy (my mom)

I will not attempt to write the same post that was in my head two weeks ago. Too much time has passed. Too much has developed. This is now a five-and-a-half-month post.

phoebe at 5 months baby

These two pictures were taken two weeks ago, when Phoebe was 5 months old, to the day.

art for baby ecchat

Her curiousity has developped into busyness. She's exploring the tactile nature of anything she can get in her hands...and mouth!

Two weeks ago, I wanted to talk about the concept of strict joy. This is the concept that joy is not simply random and spontaneous, but that it is something you cultivate, like a garden. Our lives are intensely chaotic and difficult things, but it’s in the midst of this turmoil that we do all of our living. We can run away from life or fight life…or we can live intentionally. We can choose to live joyously.

In the mornings, Matt and I used to pray over breakfast to start our day. We felt that giving thanks was an important way to start our day, but the prayers had become rote and were not touching our hearts deeply enough. Matt was having stressful days at work, while I was struggling to mother my ever-changing child at home. So, we started giving thanks in a different way: each morning we each say three things that we are truly thankful for at the moment, and when we are getting frustrated or bogged down during the day, we stop and think of our three things.

This discipline has helped me keep my head above water many a day. I think of my three things, and then I keep going. I keep focusing on all of the positive things in my life and all the blessings until I no longer feel bogged down by whatever trials I am being challenged with at the moment.

When we walk through our days with deep gratitude and an air of thankfulness, we afford ourselves the opportunity to see beauty in the smallest things, we give ourselves the opportunity to be patient and peaceful, and to enjoy the multifaceted wonders that await us at every twist and bend. When faced with a worry or a sadness or a stressor, do not bend under its weight. Rather, accept it for what it is, let it pass through you, and return to the garden of joy that you have cultivated for your mind. Joy is not so much something you have as it is a way of looking at the world.

5 month baby swing

So what does this all have to do with Phoebe?

It may sound silly to admit, but this month it struck me: this whole parenting thing is permanent. There are no breaks. There are no holidays. Even if someone is babysitting, my mind and heart are still with Phoebe. And even when she’s sleeping and I’m blogging or watching TV, I’m still a parent. I have been forever changed. There. Is. No. Going. Back.

Of course I don’t want to “go back.” I love being a parent. But being a good parent is hard work. It takes a lot out of me, and some days I feel emptied upon emptied with nothing left to give. Some days it’s really hard to be the kind of person I want my daughter to have as a mother. The more I face my ever-burgeoning daughter, the more I have to face myself: my own frailties, my own shortcomings, my ignorance and my doubt. But I have come to understand that becoming a better parent – and becoming a better person – means I learn how to accept my shortcoming and push forward. Because parenting, like living, is not about perfection. It’s about virtues: love, hope, faithfulness…and joy. It’s about life. It’s about living, and living together.

baby glee swing

For you, Phoebe, I have a poem…

giggles with phoebe old navy C is for cat

My baby’s palms are both
the most soft and most warm
of all softness and warmth that I know.

And the smooth of my baby’s smooth
is a song made of sinew and skin.

My baby sleeps like a drum;
she stretched over my empties, and
out throbbed love.

When she awakes, tucked under my chin,
her face alights and the soft touch grooves.

I am constantly fighting with grace.
I beat soft and low;
her love beats soft and true.

My baby was made to bring warmth
and a disarming smooth to my days.
I was made to love her, grow her,
know her rhythm,
find her tune.

By ekwetzel

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Phoebe, Month Four. Winnowing.

Our lives pass like the seasons. As autumn approaches and long necks of grain are sickled out of the fields, we find ourselves at the threshing floor. The body of the stalk is broken, pulverized. The wheat germ and the chaff are tossed up in the breeze, and a warm harvest wind blows the husks away. It is tumultuous. It is sweaty and rhythmic work. An entire field will pass through a few lengths of barn. At the cusp of two seasons, anything not rooted blows away and turns to dust. And we are left with a few heavy sacks of grain to carry us through the coming cold.

We are the wheat of the fields. We grow wildly. We sprawl. And then life presents us with an experience that winnows us. For me, becoming a mother is one such experience. My life used to look a certain way. I used to have certain commitments and attitudes. I spent my time and money according to a manner. I worked hard to cultivate the things in my life that I valued. And when I became a mother, my lean golden life was harvested and brought to the threshing floor.

Few experiences in life will bring us to the threshing floor.

phoebe exploring

Pregnancy, birth and parenthood are experiences that can throw your life into chaos. We all like to be in control. We like to feel in control, to grasp for a thin strand of identity as our lives are tossed up and blown away. But when we have a winnowing experience, I believe it is important to let the chaff blow away. How often do you experience something that challenges you to the core of your identity? Let your husk of an identity be blown away in the breeze. There is a core that remains. There is a little kernel of soul and body and form that is richer than all the gold of the summer fields. And it is that wheat berry of your heart that will carry you through and sustain you.

I am thankful that I have been able to mother my daughter. I am thankful that I was laid off months ago and that I was able to be home and be present for Phoebe this month. Month Four was a challenging month for all three of us. As Phoebe is blossoming in her identity, Matt and I have been giving up the chaff of our lives, freeing our burdens so that we have time and energy to grow as a family and store away the rich memories and experiences that really matter in life. We are cocooning. We are learning what it means to be a family…our family.

phoebe sitting on her own

Phoebe is growing so fast. She has a dozen different laughs. She is strong and lean. She is curious and investigates each toy I give her with excitement. She is gaining amazing hand dexterity. She wants me all the time, wants me to hold her all the time. If I hold her hands, she will take tiny steps. She can almost sit on her own. And she can’t crawl yet, but she is very efficient at wiggling backwards.

She will pause while nursing to look up into my face and beam into my eyes. And my heart stops.

She likes to touch my face. Especially to grab my nose. I find this endlessly precious.

phoebe touches my face

I have been stressed. About money. About time. About being able to give Phoebe the environment she needs as she grows and develops faster than I ever anticipated. I often felt in the past month like I was barely catching my breath, trying to keep up with her. But I see now that I’m not meant to keep up with her. I am the beginning. I’m the point she launches off from.  Her seasons are a blaze yet to come. I cannot BE everything for her. I must toss her up in the harvest breeze and let the kernels fall as they may. I can’t afford to worry, the worry must blow away like chaff. I only have time and energy to mother as best I know how, and to trust that Phoebe will flourish in her own right, like a wildflower in a field, hearty, yet fragile, as it bends in the breeze.

phoebe and mama me laughing

Dear Phoebe,

My little bird.

I am emptied of all my words. So my heart will simply open itself and pour out colors. And my smile will open and pour out laughter. My arms open and close around you, hugging you and drawing you near. And them your strong little arms push off my chest and into the atmosphere.

It is a wild world. And it awaits you. As for me, I’ll lift you up and let you fly.

Even if it is bittersweet to see time pass me by.

Your Mom

reading goodnight moon

Each night we read "Goodnight Moon" before bed, and Phoebe turns the pages.

smiling baby phoebe

Phoebe loves it when we hold her up above our heads.


laying down baby 4 months

When we lay her down, she rarely flails around. Instead, she examines the world and will often lie still, soaking in her surroundings.

baby cuddles

Phoebe still likes staying close to me, and often presses her face into my chest for comfort and security. I cherish these moments.

phoebe smiles at the camera

I love that little face.

phoebe touches my facephoebe touches my facephoebe touches my facephoebe touches my face

phoebe touches my face

I am eternally thankful for my little girl. She has changed my life. Immeasurably.

By ekwetzel

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Phoebe, Month Three. Finding Our Groove.

Phoebe doesn’t stop moving these days, so most of our photos look like this:

blurry phoebeOr like this:

blurry PhoebeBut, every once in awhile, we get a lucky shot:

phoebe wetzel 3 months old

Phoebe at 3 months old.

Phoebe has been cranky the past couple days. Really cranky. And nothing seems to help. She’ll act like she wants to nurse, then she’s cry when I try to nurse her. She’ll be super tired, but she won’t go to sleep. Not even if I babywear her to sleep (i.e. put her in the ring sling and walk her till she drifts off). Not even if I lie in bed with her and nurse her to sleep. This behavior is very unlike her. And then, last night, while checking out her gums, I noticed a little tooth peeking through. (You’ll probably have to click on the picture to see the tooth, at which point you’ll also be able to see a bugger in her nose. ^_^)

cutting first tooth

It's hard to see because the tooth is barely breaking through her gums, but Phoebe's front bottom left tooth is peeking through.

My daughter is cutting her first tooth. What a great way to celebrate being three months old.

I have to say, when I saw the tooth peeking through, I was relieved, because there was a reason for her recent odd behavior. Otherwise, Phoebe and I have found a groove together this month. She wakes up at about the same time every day; she goes to sleep around the same time. She almost never poops in her diaper, and often cues me to pee as well.* I let her nurse when she wants to, on what side she wants to, and for however long she wants to; to be honest, however, she’s more interested in the wide and wonderful world these days than in nursing.

*(We’re doing infant pottying. I talk about it more here.)

This is the landscape of our lives these days…

silhouettes baby papa

(Starting at 5:30am or 6:30am) Wake; pee and poop; hang out in bed with Mama and Papa (often diaper free). Nurse in bed; giggle at the window; giggle at Papa; spit up a lot (always in the morning). Hang out while Mama makes breakfast, either sitting on the counter or in the ring sling. Take a short nap (35 minutes).

(8am or 9am) Wake; pee; hang out on Papa’s lap while breakfast winds to a close and Mama and Papa say a prayer to start the day. Hang out under the mobile; yelp to pee; sit in the baby potty and play with toys or read books with Mama. Hang out in the ring sling while Mama does chores. Start getting sleepy, usually in the ring sling. If Mama’s going out, transfer to carseat and take a short nap. If Mama’s staying in, transfer to co-sleeper for another short nap. Or, if Mama’s tired, take a longer co-sleeping nap.

(Next time we arise) Wake; pee; nurse; play. Sometimes we’ll do this a couple times before the end of the day. Sometimes there are only 3 naps before bedtime. Phoebe use to stay awake for 1h35 minutes between 45 minute naps, but recently the world has been so interesting, she’ll stay awake for 2 hours or more, and often only take a 25-35 minute nap.

When we’re out and about, she used to block out the world and fall asleep in the ring sling at any chance. Now she’s much too interested for that; she whips her head from side to side to see what’s going on, and saves the time in the car for her mini-naps.

(Around 4pm-6pm) Bedtime routine starts. Phoebe is put into a diaper (if she had been diaper free up till that point). Clothing change: we put her in her nightgown. If she’s too active, I may sing a lullaby or read “Goodnight Moon” to help her calm down.  Once she gets cranky or sleepy, I’ll sit in the rocking chair and nurse her till she starts to drift off. We transfer to the bed, where I lay beside her and let her nurse to sleep. Some nights, I transfer her without nursing, but lately (due to the teething) she’s been too upset for that to be effective.

By 6pm or 7pm most nights, Phoebe is asleep for the night. She wakes around 9pm-11pm for a diaper change, but never truly awakens. And she does the same a few times in the early morning.

baby sleep hipstamatic print flash

Those are our days.

We don’t have a schedule. We don’t even have a routine. What we’ve got is an understanding of each other. I know when Phoebe is having a tough day and needs me to be more hands on. On those days, chores and cooking take a back burner. Then, there are other days when she’s happy to play while I fold laundry or do dishes. She’ll hang out in the same room as me, and squeal to cue me if she wants to be peed.

3 month old ring sling

I try to be with her as much as possible, talking to her or touching her so that she knows that I’m always nearby. I like to think that my constant presence is part of the reason she feels confident enough to explore as much as she does. She loves pushing off my chest to get a better view of her surroundings. She loves to talk to artwork that is in her nursery. She loooooooves looking at the baby in the mirror. She likes to grasp her toes. She loves it when I help her stand. She never chooses to be on her belly, but when I position her belly down, she loves to prop herself up and thinks it’s super-silly when she immediately rolls onto her back. She loves looking at the Wee Gallery animals and she loves her Lamaze toys (we have 1 on the carseat, 1 on an activity gym, and 1 set up for her to play with on her potty).

I know the lighting in all these pictures is really yellow. We live in Washington. ^_^ The sun is behind the clouds and there is no natural light today.

What else is there to say? This blog post feels a lot more like a journal than the last two (month one; month two). Phoebe’s finding her groove in the world, and Mr. Wetzel and I are finding our groove as parents. There are still challenges and things are always changing and developing. But we do best when we trust ourselves, dig into our intuition, and make time to enjoy the budding personality and growth in our little babe. We are all in relationship together. We are growing with each other. We are changing as we dance together through the rhythms of life. We don’t know where we’re headed, but we’re together, and we love being together.

phoebe 3 months old

(Once more...because the picture's so darn cute).

Dear Phoebe,

I’m gonna just come out and make a prediction. You and me? We’re gonna be friends.

I love making you laugh. I love it that my kisses make you laugh. I love it that, when Papa comes home, you giggle with glee, then bury your head in my chest, then look up to see if he’s still there, then giggle with glee and burry your face over and over again.

I cannot tell you how cool I think it is that you understand me and that I understand you. When I ask you, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” I love it that you smile if my intuition is correct. I think it’s beyond cool that you wait to pee until you’re out of your diaper, even if we’re out running errands.

The first three months are often referred to as “the fourth trimester,” and I’m a little sad to see them go. This is the first time I’ve felt a twinge of “mom sadness” at seeing you grow up and grow away from me. You are not independent yet, but I can see you laying the ground work; and while I’m proud of you and I cherish your growth in my heart of hearts, there is a part of me that is sad to see our beginnings fade into memory.

I wish I had written more poetry.

I wish pictures were as true as the moments they tried to capture.

I am only sad because things are so quick to change. I am only sad because I am nearly catching my breath, nearly losing sight of who we were in light of the crazy beautiful dance that we are currently living. I am only a little sad, but then you giggle at me and deep joy rushes over me; I am showered with gratitude and hope; I am quickened to a new place where I become a new person, and you become a first person, cradled in my arms.

Your Mom

By ekwetzel

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Phoebe, Month Two. We’re Kickin’ It.

phoebe wetzel 2 month old baby hedgehogs kickingI almost forgot that today was Phoebe’s 2 month “birthday.” What a milestone! It warms my heart to see it. I snapped some pictures of her right before bedtime. She’s wearing some of my favorite PJs; they have hedgehogs on them. And her hair is all mussed and curly from her bath.

So much has developed this month. I feel like Phoebe continually surprises us with new noises and facial expressions. She is SUCH an expressive baby, so full of joy and laughter. She is also full of noises, giggles, grunts and blurps. She will be quite the chatterbox someday.

phoebe wetzel pom montessori mobileOne of her favorite things to do is watch the Pom Pom Mobile that I made for her. As you can see in the above video, she’ll lie under it and flail her arms; she knows that if she hits one of the bottom pom poms, it will send the whole thing spinning. She gazes up at the mirror, fixated. If we leave her under it, she’ll flail and giggle and talk to it for up to twenty minutes. I’ll keep walking in and out of the room to check on her, but she’ll just be having the time of her life. Sometimes, after she’s been lying under it for a while, I’ll prop her up in my lap to give her a different perspective. As soon as I give the mobile a spin, she gives a gleeful little grin.

grin mirror pom pom mobile

Kickin’ kickin’ kickin’…that’s how I would describe Phoebe this month. She has so much energy. And she is such a happy baby. It really warms my heart to see her find so much contentment.

That doesn’t mean that times are always easy. No. Phoebe cries. We both have hard days. But I see her developing and growing, and that warms my heart.

papa matthew kisses phoebe beard 2 monthsI’ve been thinking a lot lately about methods and the things people do to exercise a degree of control over their lives and their children. The truth is, from the beginning of the pregnancy, I have always felt, to some degree, OUT of control. Pregnancy, birth and parenthood are disorienting events. And, the older your child grows, the more they develop their personhood, until someday you’re having an adult relationship with your own child!

Holy cow! Talk about intimidating!

My baby. Is a PERSON. That will GROW UP. And be on equal footing with me.

Intimidating? Yes. But totally frickin’ cool.

art for baby phoebe 2 months

So, I’ve chosen to view these crazy early parenting months not as CHAOTIC or as CONTROLLABLE. No. These mindsets are just too simplistic, and they miss out on a lot of the humanity involved in parenting. I choose to view my parenting as COMPLEX.

My relationship with my daughter is complex. We’re both getting to know each other; at the same time, we are both independently growing and changing and influencing each other.

hello sunshine tshirt baby legsMy daughter is complex all on her own. She has trends, and she tends to behave a general way, but she is as unpredictable as any person would be. Sometimes she has bad days. Sometimes she’s inconsistent. Sometimes she doesn’t know what she wants. Sometimes she’s more demanding and needy than other times. But she is not a random collection of whines, spit rags and poopy diapers. She is a person experiencing life, growing with it, and being changed by it. She’s finding her groove.

Dear Phoebe,

I want to write you a poem,
but every time I look at you, all I see is myself,
the map of my own face highlighted with joy,
all the routes we’ve yet to take;

how can I say anything to you that you do not already know?
As I hold you, my heart beats strong.
I am the Old Town.
I am the Motherland.
I send you with sails and hearty sea song:

“Oh holy, old holy, oh baby and me;
Sing me a song of this wide salty sea.
My past and my future and this now make three.
Oh holy, old holy, my baby and me.”

We spring forth from the deep.
We spiral through mothers and times.
We drive on asphalt rivers
and drink up dark dreams.
I pass on to you, love, my own mysteries:

From holy, for holy, to holy we be.

kicking baby phoebe 2 months

phoebe wetzel month 2

By ekwetzel

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Phoebe, Month One. Words, Words, Words.

asleep under cherry trees newborn ring sling

Phoebe is asleep under the cherry tree in our back yard while I wear her in the ring sling my mom made. 1 week old.

One month old. Today. Wow…how did this day sneak up on us. My daughter is. now. one. month. old.

I’m not going to say “time flies,” because it doesn’t feel like it’s flown. I’m not going to say “it seems like forever ago that we gave birth” because that isn’t true either.

It feels like time has stood still.

It feels like we’ve been enveloped in one long “present moment” with an elusive beginning and no inclination of an end.

newborn hand

Phoebe's little hand. 2 weeks old.

Our existence this last month has been unbelievably rich, unbelievably challenging, and amazing in the most unexpectedly profound ways. The difficult parts of this month have made us pay attention; the hard parts have made us dig deep. Since I hope to actually post this blog post today, I doubt I will be able to give proper credence to the vividness, depth and resplendent nature of our relationship with our little daughter, Phoebe, during the first month if her “life on the outside” of the womb.

But I will do my best to share with you a slice of my heart.

Language is not cheap. It is not inadequate. Words are amazing, powerful, beautiful things. Words are containers for our thoughts, our emotions, our experiences. Words bring us together. But do I have the words that can contain the love I have for my daughter and the deep challenges she has posed to my very concepts of existence over this past month? I have faith that I will find the words. Someday.

first easter mhc seattle ring sling

Phoebe's first Easter: Mars Hill Church service at Quest field in Seattle. 1.5 weeks old.

Someday, but not today. I do not have the adequate equipment today. I need to gather myself, to let my mind and heart spring forth with what poetry they may just as a field gives forth with what wildflowers it may each Spring. Unpredictably. In its own time.

One thing I keep coming back to is a poem I wrote. It is one of the poems I wrote while in college, and it is one of my favorites; but I had lost it until recently. I found it shortly before Phoebe was born while sorting through a stack of things to recycle, and I was bewildered. I thought it was lost. I’m so glad I’ve had it thumb-tacked to the wall this past month. It captures many aspects of how I feel about my daughter:

No Poem

What could you tell me that I
could not read in your eyes?
That I could not read on
your arms; that I could not
hear in your footsteps on the beach
or your sighs as you sleep
on my couch? I need no poem
to remind me why I love you.

If you were never to speak again,
I would know the sound
of your voice, of your laugh.
You are poem enough for all the
words we never need to say, for all the
poems we will never need to read.

newborn asleep face closeup

Phoebe, about to fall asleep. 2.5 weeks old.

Dear Phoebe:

I never expected you to smile at me hours after you were born. What a precious gift that was. I never expected your strong little legs or your big goofy giggles.

I was prepared, mentally, for the responsibilities of parenthood; I was mentally prepared for the fact that my human frailty would make caring for another being both draining and difficult. I spent so much strength and prayer preparing for the hard parts that the joys of your tiny little existence snuck up on me and blew me away.

I am floored by your personhood. I see the balance of strength and sensitivity in your little psyche, and I rejoice to see your moments of fortitude. I am glad I am able to be here for you in your hard moments, when you are scared, when the world is too overwhelming for you. I find a special joy in your curiosity and attentiveness.

first mothers day kiss newborn

Our first Mother's Day, under the apple tree in our backyard. 3.5 weeks old.

I love the way you stretch your little arms as you are waking up. When I nurse you to sleep, I love the way you will unlatch, lift your chin, and lay your head on my breast as a pillow. When you are wailing inconsolably, and I lie close to you to let you know you are not alone, I love the way your little fist will grasp my shirt and pull it close to you.

I will give you more kisses than there are stars in the night sky. Let us lay close and bask in each other’s presence. You and me and Papa make three. Or, maybe, one. Are these things really measurable? It makes no difference,. These things are. They exist. And our words exist to describe them, but will always fall short of the profound nature of existence.

You are. I am. Papa is. We love. That is all we really need to say.

asleep baby gdiapers

Phoebe asleep. 5 days old.

giggling baby changing pad

My little giggle-butt. My little goofy girl. I love her with all my heart. 4 weeks old.

By ekwetzel

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Phoebe’s Birth Story

rainier cherry blossom

The "Phoebe Blossom" on our Cherry Tree

We have a cherry tree in our yard, and the day that its first blossom popped out on one of its slender branches was the same day that I had my first contraction to signaled the beginning of labor.

This is my birth story for Phoebe Isobel Wetzel, our blossoming newborn girl.

Early Labor

On Wednesday, April 13th at 4:30 am I awoke with my first strong contraction. Up until this point in the pregnancy I’d had no painful contractions. I doubted that I was even experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions (aka. “practice” contractions) until I had one at my midwife appointment, and she confirmed that I simply did not have painful contractions. When I awoke at 4:30, I thought, “This is different. This might be it.” And I went back to sleep.

Mr. Wetzel awoke around 7:30 am for work, and I let him know that I’d been feeling infrequent contractions. At 10:30 am we went to an already scheduled visit with our midwife, and she was able to confirm that we were in early labor and that I was dilated 2 cm. Phoebe was still in a good position: head down and back slightly on the left (she’d been in this position for about a month).

I went home. Mr. Wetzel went to work. And I slept the rest of the day between contractions.

full term pregnant belly

My belly was huge right before the birth!

We decided to ignore the labor as long as possible and not tell anyone. We didn’t want the pressure. I didn’t want the pressure. I wanted to be able to relax, to give into the moment of what was happening, and to let it take its course. Also, we didn’t want to tell everyone labor was under way, only to find out it was a false start.

By 11:00 pm Wednesday night, my contractions were frequent and strong. Our midwife said we could come into the Birthing Inn whenever we were ready, but I was comfortable at home, so we decided to labor there for the next few hours. I tried watching TV between contractions to take my mind off the pain and to keep from being anxious. I ended up spending a lot of time on the toilet; I found it was easier to relax my “birth muscles” when I didn’t have to worry about soiling myself. And relaxing helped ease the pain of the contractions considerably.

In our 5-week birthing class at The Birthing Inn, we learned about coping techniques to help ease the pain of the contractions and channel the pain to a more effective labor. Mr. Wetzel and I had planned to have a playlist for me to listen to. We thought Mr. Wetzel would read me a script and that would help. We thought I’d recite lines from the Psalms to get me through. In the moments of labor, however, we abandoned all of these planned techniques.

In the beginning of labor, I thought of a song, “Slow Down Jo” by Monsters of Folk, pulled it up on my iPhone and played it at the beginning of each contraction. The slow tempo of this song helped me establish a good breathing rhythm. Later in labor, I’d actually sing the chorus to myself, but adapted the words to “Slow Me Down.”

I also talked to myself to help keep “my head in the game.” I would moan “Oh Oh Oh,” and often then say “Oh Oh Ooooopen,” speaking to my cervix. Yes, I was encouraging my cervix to dilate. It sounds weird; I never thought I’d do it; and it helped (emotionally, at least). As a new contraction set on, I’d instinctively want to clench up from the pain, and so I found that I’d tell myself over and over, “Relax, relax, relax…” as a way of coaching my body to do what my head knew it needed.

Active Labor

the birthing inn labor room

This is the room at the Biorthing Inn in which we labored and gave birth. (Pictures taken on a different day than the birth)

From 11:00 pm Wednesday night on, I’d cope with each contraction on a different basis. Sometimes I’d sit on the toilet. Sometimes I hunched over an ottoman. By 2:30 we knew these contractions meant business, so we hopped in the car and made our way to The Birthing Inn to meet our midwife. She confirmed that we were dilated 4-5 cm and in active labor.

Once we reached active labor, we knew there was no going back. It was time to let friends and family know. Once we were settled in at the Birthing Inn, Mr. Wetzel texted our family to let them know we were in labor and he called my parents (because they don’t text). He then did a twitter update for me, to let my online pals know. Updating facebook escaped us…we were preoccupied and we were cocooning around each other.

Active labor was the hardest part for me.

I’d been drinking water and eating protein all week. I’d been drinking water all day since the 4:30 contraction. I’m a drinker; drinking water was easy for me. But it wasn’t enough. I was getting dehydrated, and it was making my contractions more painful. In addition, I’d been feeling nauseous for hours.

I kept up a lot of the routine I’d established at home: moving between the toilet and the ottoman.  Yes, we brought the ottoman with us! It was small, and it was the perfect height for me to hunch over, so I had Mr. Wetzel throw it in the back of the car. I also tried sitting on a birthing ball and leaning over the bed. It was great being able to move around a lot and change positions at will. That freedom was one of the reasons we chose the Birthing Inn.

bed birthing inn

My bed at the Birthing Inn

I drank water constantly, but it wasn’t enough. The contractions were more painful. Then the nausea got worse. While I was on the bed, I got terribly nauseous, leaned over and experienced the moment of the birth that was the most difficult for me emotionally. I upchucked everything in my belly into a tub, and at the same time I emptied everything else out the other end. I was so ashamed. I felt like an animal. I knew “involuntary” things would happen during the pushing stage, but I did not expect to “lose it” at this early stage of labor, and I especially did not expect to lose it while on a nice, white bed.

As soon as I emptied myself, I said how embarrassed I was, and the first words I heard were the reassuring words of our midwife, Amy, “That’s just a part of pregnancy.” Her calm, matter-of-fact tone and response helped me find the mental and emotional fortitude to put myself back together and to keep going. I’m so thankful that there was no criticism or disgust in the room; if there had been, I might have gotten a little depressed about it. As it was, I was able to take it as a lump. Then I sucked it up for the next bout of labor pains.

toilet birthing inn

I spent a lot of time laboring here, with two pillows propped up to give me back support.

I vomited a few more times. I couldn’t eat anything. I was not getting enough water. So, Amy insisted that they give me an IV. Which is a big deal for me. As in: when I get my blood drawn I’m so panicked about it I nearly faint. It’s a REAL phobia of mine. I did not want an IV. When she insisted on the IV, however, I understood that it was the best thing for me, for the pregnancy and for the baby, so we talked about where she’d put it in (we decided on top of my left hand); Mr. Wetzel said a prayer over me and over the IV, and them as she put it in, I breathed deeply, found a calm place and stayed there mentally. Once it was in, Amy said with admiration how surprised she was at how well I handled it. Once it was in, it did not bother me mentally as much as I thought it would. It was just there, and I had peace about it. For this I was VERY thankful.

Eventually, I labored lying on the bed, on my side. This was to give me rest; I’d often fall asleep between contractions, which actually proved to be very hard on me overall. When I started a contraction awake, I could see it coming and start relaxing. When I started a contraction while asleep, it would wake me up; these contractions were very painful because I was shocked into them, so I’d clench up more in response, which made them hurt more.

The coping techniques that I taught myself in the early stages of labor became vital during active labor. Mr. Wetzel would often remind me to do the simple things I couldn’t remember anymore by myself: breathe and relax. I wanted no stimulus: no bright lights, no music, no touch. I wanted to just go into a zone and relax as much as possible and let the contraction do what it needed to me.

Transition & Pushing

tub water birth tacoma

This is the tub in which I had my water birth.

We planned on having a water birth, and Amy advised that I stay out of the tub until the last possible moment, in order to get the most benefit out of it. As I entered the transition stage (where my cervix dilates the last few centimeters), they filled the tub, and I got in. I only had a few contractions in the tub when I started feeling the need to push. I said aloud how I wanted to push but was trying to resist, when Amy told me to give it a shot and see how it went.

So I did. Transition seemed to last only a few minutes, and it wasn’t nearly as arduous as active labor. I was completely dilated at 10:00 am on Thursday and pushed for the next two hours.

I pushed in the water on my hands and knees. I moved around a little, but this position felt the most “right.” Amy suggested Matt get in the tub with me so that I could lean my back into him, but I knew I did not want that. I wanted the tub to myself, I wanted the room to move around, and I wanted to be on my knees. These things were simply intuitive to me.

Once I was really pushing, I found it particularly nice to be able to lean my arms outside the tub and clench the side or rest on the side of the tub as the contraction passed and I pushed through it. The side of the tub provided great leverage. And it was nice to have Mr. Wetzel right there, by my face, offering words of support, as well as a glass of water which I sipped whenever possible.

My knees were sore. I hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours. I hadn’t slept. I’d lost a lot of fluids from vomiting. I was weak. But I was in a “zone” and I felt my baby moving slowly through me. She’d advance, I’d feel her head in my pelvis as I pushed, and then it would retract. I mentioned I felt like I was losing ground, and Amy told me this was normal, this is just part of how the birth happens.

Eventually her head didn’t retract. We were at the end of pushing. At 11:42 am, Amy felt for our baby’s head and told us the water still hadn’t broken. It had been easing the labor pains this whole time, but we were nearing the end. As Amy felt the water, she was letting us know our options, mentioning we could go ahead and break it, or we could give it more time, and then we heard her say, “Oops! Wow! There it goes!”

During the next few minutes, Mr. Wetzel came around behind me and saw the crown of our baby’s  hairy little head while I was in labor. He was really tired, but it was so surprising for him to see a real head there, that it startled him into realizing that we were in the home stretch!

I still remember the feeling of the last few pushes, how my right pelvis shifted out and then back in as the round head of our little baby girl emerged.  I remember how they pulled her up between my legs and placed her in my arms as I leaned back, exhausted. I remember lying there, holding her for the first time, astonished at what she looked like: she looked like a little person! She was no longer this nondescript fuzzy idea of a baby; she was in my arms!

phoebe isobel wetzel

Our first photo of Phoebe. Matt took it with his iPod while holding her, just after the birth.

She was a little blue, but Amy massaged her up. They put a hat on her right away, as well as a blanket for warmth. And because of the way they placed her on my chest, we actually didn’t know the baby’s sex for the first few minutes while I held her. We just basked in the overwhelming presence of our new baby. When it occurred to us we hadn’t peeked at the gender yet, I lifted the blanket and Mr. Wetzel told me: we had a baby girl!

Stage Three: Delivering the Placenta

The chord had stopped pulsing, so Amy clamped it and Mr. Wetzel got to cut his daughter’s cord. We wanted to wait till it had stopped pulsing so that Phoebe would get to take advantage of all the rich blood in the cord.

At 12:08 pm I delivered the placenta. I just pushed once or twice, and it globbed out into the tub. A placenta has no bones, so the delivery is like passing a big booger. I know. It sounds gross. It kinda is, but it’s sooooo much easier than the baby delivery! There was a lot of blood in the water, and I was ready to get out.


erin and phoebe holding

The first time I got to hold Phoebe after getting out of the tub.

I was very weak. I had lost a lot of blood, and the labor had exhausted me. For the next two hours, Mr. Wetzel held Phoebe while I lay on the bed and Amy and her birthing attendant took care of me. They gave me some Gatorade and yogurt, both of which I gladly ate. They also gave me Petocin to help my uterus contract and to help stop the bleeding. I had several blood clots that I passed, some on the bed, some while on the toilet. They were very painful, and they were such a relief to get out of my system. Overall, it is estimated that I lost 600 ccs of blood. The “fundal massages” were painful, as expected, but I knew they were necessary, and I knew they would make me heal better and feel better eventually.

I did not tear, which surprised Amy given how much blood there was. Plus, Phoebe had a large head, measuring at 14 inches, and her chest circumference was 14.5 inches! I was weak and tired, but I did not require any “repair work” down below. I was as shocked as anyone, but ever so grateful!

nursing first time

Our first time nursing, 2 hours after the birth.

Finally, at 2:00 pm, they felt I was well enough that I could sit up in bed. They propped me up and I was able to hold my daughter for the first time outside of the tub. I was finally aware enough that I could really look at her. She was beautiful. Amy and her assistant helped me position Phoebe and nurse her for the first time. After a few tries, Phoebe latched on and nursed for the first time at 2:10 pm. I was so relieved.

I stayed in bed, holding Phoebe and resting for the next few hours. Then, at 6:00 pm, we headed home with our little baby girl. We were parents!

On Natural Childbirth

Did the labor hurt? Was it difficult? Yes and yes. However it was not as bad as I expected. Before you go thinking “she is writing this 2 weeks after the birth, she already has selective memory,” I will rebut you: I said these things to Mr. Wetzel 2 hours after the birth while I was still exhausted, bleeding and in pain. Labor is difficult. Contractions do hurt. My birth experience was arduous. But it was do-able. It was bearable. Like a marathon, it was conquerable.

Amy Gordon & Susan birth assistant

Our midwife, Amy Gordon (left), holds Phoebe with her birth assistant, Susan

Some women need epidurals. Some women need medical intervention. And all women need unequivocal support before, during and after labor. But our culture is so afraid of the pain of childbirth that I want to emphatically and earnestly say to you all: there is a way to have a natural childbirth and it is difficult, but YOU CAN DO IT! You can at least attempt to have a birth without an epidural, and you definitely do not need to let fear of the pain control you.

I was afraid of the pain, and I surrendered that fear through prayer and faith. My birth was not as painful as I once feared, and I attribute almost all of that to the mindset I had going into it and the support that I had while in labor.

Contractions are painful. However, the contractions you have early on teach you how to handle the contractions later in the birth. Your body has all the equipment it needs to get you through the birthing experience; you just need to trust it and listen to it…and surround yourself with people who will do the same.

If you are reading this and you had a more medical birth or a C-section, please know I do not “judge” you; I love you and know that you, as the mother, made the best decisions you knew how to in your circumstances. But I want to encourage pregnant ladies to consider less medical and less surgical approaches whenever possible, because I earnestly believe this will help make pregnancy, birth and recovery much easier on mom and baby. If you have any questions or just want to share your experience, I encourage you to comment below.

Final Thoughts

healy elitsa sonia yana

My brother and his family came to visit at the Birthing Inn, and my nieces took turns holding Phoebe for the first time.

I loved the privacy, intimacy and control we had at the Birthing Inn. Our midwife, Amy, trusted us, and she built up a relationship with us so that we came to trust her. Until the pushing stage, the only people in the room were Amy and Mr. Wetzel. Amy’s birth assistant came in at the very end, but the only other people to enter the room were a few select friends and family that we invited to stop by for a visit afterwards so we could introduce them to our new little baby.

I am thankful for how well I handled the IV. I am thankful that I did not tear. And I am thankful that breastfeeding started well. I say “thankful,” and what I mean is “overwhelmingly full of gratitude in a way that words cannot express.” I understand that I was blessed in these ways, and I can see how God gave me the strength of his presence to overcome fears and worries I had in regards to each of these areas.

In regards to tearing, there are a few things I did to help pre-birth. I did kegels. I took an evening primrose oil supplement. And I took the Gentle Birth Formula sold by Mountain Meadow Herbs.

I feel like this is a very clinical account of the birth. Many women say they cry when writing their birth stories. I recognize how “matter-of-fact” I seem about mine. I do not feel callous about our experience. In fact, I feel very intimate about it, and I feel very intimately about each of these details.

The feelings I have are very deep. When I was feeling the birth, I was very tired and very weak. I did not have much capacity to capture my feelings in words. I still lack the capacity. Maybe someday painting or poetry will help bridge the gap. In the meantime, I feel like forcing a description of these deep emotions would cheapen them, alter them, and forever change their presence in my heart.

phoebe isobel

Our little Phoebe Isobel Wetzel. I just get lost in those eyes.

For now, the feelings are like a river running through an underground cavern. They rush and swell in the darkness: cold, crisp and fresh. Perhaps no explorer will ever find them. Perhaps they will never see the light of day. But their very existence makes the world richer; and their very presence transforms these deep places in my heart from a cavern into a gushing spring.

matthew wetzel phoebe papa

Papa-Daddy Matthew hold his newborn lil' Phoebe.

ekwetzel piwetzel wetzel love newborn

Mama Erin just can't get enough of her lil' girl.

By ekwetzel

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