I should be sleeping right now. “Sleep when your baby sleeps” is what they say. I know I really should take that advice, but no. Instead I lay awake quietly studying the contours of my baby’s face as she sleeps. My eyes touch on her every feature and linger on the spaces in between - from the ridge of her brow to her sleepy eyes and full squishy cheeks, from her button nose to her perfect pout and her pokey little chin. I breathe in her every breath as she takes it.
Bowie Alwyn Estrella Payne. Bowie was a Bowie before she was even born. Bowie, like David, not like the knife. I didn't know, but there is a famous knife called a Bowie. Kinda weird that people would think that I would name my sweet innocent baby girl after a knife, but to each their own. Turns out Bowie is actually a Gaelic named that means 'yellow-haired'. Alwyn is an English name meaning 'Wise Friend', it is my middle name and was almost her first name. Estrella means 'star' in Spanish and is a little nod to my time in Costa Rica when I met her dad. So there you have it. My star, a yellow-haired, wise friend.
My little star took her time being born. I was almost 2 weeks past my due date when she was finally decided it was time to come out and meet her mama. A good day to be born, said the Universe - a mid-September evening under the light of a full harvest moon and on the night of a lunar eclipse. In theory it all sounds very romantic, but there is nothing romantic about having a c-section or being pumped full of oxytocin to speed up labour.
My little purple alien baby
I’ll spare you the entire birth story, but essentially Bowie was just so cozy in my belly that she didn’t want to come out. For the most part my pregnancy was normal, but I was done - physically and mentally. I needed her to come out. After labouring for 12+ hours to no avail, modern medicine intervened and I delivered her by Caesarian section. Behind the surgical curtain, both arms strapped down to a board and no feeling from my chest down, I could not see or feel the delivery. My friend Hillary presented me with my crying, swollen, purple-hued baby, with the proclamation, "She has your chin". Yes, yes she does. In my state, it took me awhile to get my head around the fact that she was even mine.
I don't know what I would have done without Hillary by my side. She was my coach and doula as soon as I told her I was pregnant, and my birth partner throughout the delivery. She was the one to drive me up and down the Sea-to-Sky highway. She was the one to cut Bowie's umbilical cord. She was the one to sleep by our side in the small, hard pullout bed at the hospital. That, my friends, is friendship.
Unfortunately, the days that followed, spent in the hospital were tough. Both Bowie and I cried hard for almost 2 full days. Bowie cried because she was starving. I cried because she cried and because I couldn't console her. I cried because I had to give her formula, which wasn't part of my plan and because even the formula made her cry. I cried because she was in pain and I couldn't help her. Mine was a crazy hormonal exhausted uncontrollable cry that I have never cried before. I have never doubted myself more. "Was I up for this?" "Could I take care of another human?" "What if she never stopped crying?" All these questions consumed me and the tears wouldn't stop. Even with the constant reassurance by both the nurses and my mom that it was all normal, I couldn't control the flood of emotion. This is the stuff that they don't tell you about when you're pregnant: 1. Breast feeding is hard. 2. You will cry. A lot.
Thankfully, all that crying worked itself out once we got home, my milk came in and we settled into our routine. She has barely cried since. Neither have I.
For the first few months I ran on pure adrenaline. Motherhood didn't really seem all that hard. I was on a new-mom high. If only you could bottle that shit it would be worth zillions. But fuck, once 7 months rolled around it was a different story. I'd pay to have that new-mom high back. Now I was tired, sore and rundown. Not a sleepy-tired, more like a zombie-tired. I get up every morning and put on my mama hat, tuck my gigantic boobs into a bra that doesn't really fit and attend to my child, because I have no other choice. Single mom life, yo.
As much as it is hard being on my own and I'm tired AF, I’ve actually got it pretty easy. Bowie is a happy, healthy little nugget of awesomeness. I don’t know what I did to deserve this dream baby. Well, that’s what my mom says, anyways. My Bowie, she greets each day with a smile. She is so chill and easy going. She is smart and inquisitive. She is a good little sleeper, most of the time. Up until 10 months old, she would only sleep if I was within arm’s reach. My little heat seeking missile could tell as soon I wasn't laying in bed beside her. For ten straight months, when little Bobo went to bed at 6:30pm, so did I. For ten months, my sleep - if you could call it that - was a tense, contorted shut eye that never left me feeling very rested. As a single parent, this seemed like the easy route. As she got older it proved to be the not-so-easy route. Rolls eyes. For ten months, I didn't have a life past dusk. I watched ALL the Netflix. All of it. I was a captive audience. Proud to say she's sleeping on her own now - at the time of this post. Although I already miss having her little head snuggled into my armpit. I am grateful for the ten months that I've been able to spend with my girl. Just the two of us. It has gone by so so fast. Pretty soon I'll celebrating her first birthday. Her tenth birthday will come just as fast. And so on and so on. I know that whether she is two days, two months, two years or even two decades old, I will always watch her while she sleeps. It's what mothers do. I know this now.
My beautiful bubbly blue-eyed baby Bowie. Sigh. I have never known a love like this. My life before Her seems so insignificant and shallow now. She is the light of my life, my everything, my shining star, my gift from the Universe. The best thing that has ever happened to me. All those cliched phrases one uses to describe their truest love wrapped into one squirmy little package.
So back to the blog...
Yeah, I had a baby! Sorry I kept y'all hanging.
Before I had said-baby, I had grandiose dreams of all the things I was going to accomplish, all the projects I was going to start, business plans I was going to write, online courses I would take. In my head, it was going to be the most productive time of my life, all while my beautiful baby slept. I'd have nothing but time, right? Aaaaaah, so dreamy.
Pfff. Yeah right. This is like the 10th time I’ve even been able to sit down since Bowie was born to try writing this blog post. Every time I get a chance to write, I feel like I'm vomiting out my words knowing that I've only got half an hour, give or take, to get my thoughts out. Too hard to write when you've got a squirming baby on your lap. I'm sure it will get easier to find the time once she's a bit more independent. Again, ask me about this in a couple months. haha. Sleep? Blog? Sleep? Clean? Blog? Slee...zzzzz. You get the picture.
Anyways, sorry to leave you all hanging. My last post, almost a year ago now, talked about my pregnancy and I haven't posted another entry since. Bear with me while my journey - and my Instagram page - takes a different turn for awhile - navigating life with #MYGIRLBOWIE.