He's here. On February 17 at 4:23 AM via an emergency C-section, our son Murdo Scott MacKenzie II was born. He had a rough start into this world, entering two and a half weeks early with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and spending his first nine days in the neonatal intensive care unit for breathing issues, jaundice and low blood sugar. But he is strong, and he made it home to us, and today he is five weeks old.
He is the fourth Murdo in the MacKenzie family, including his dad, his grandpa (after whom he's named) and his great grandpa, but he is only the second Murdo Scott - making it very confusing for people when they assume he's named after his dad and I have to correct them. It's a conversation he'll be having the rest of his life, explaining to new friends that no, it's not his last name and no, don't call him Junior, but it's a strong, meaningful name that I hope he'll be proud of.
Our life has changed, just like everyone said it would. They leave out the gritty details though, and at first I thought it was because they don't want to scare you, but now I know it's because there's no way to really understand until you're in it yourself. Until you're alone in a dark nursery at four in the morning with a screaming newborn after hours of nonstop feeding and changing and feeding and changing; or you're trying to prepare what was once a simple lunch in a past life but is pretty much an impossible feat now that you only have one working hand and a small human attached to the other; or you look at your husband on the other side of the couch as he holds and talks to your son and you realize you love the person he has become, the father he is becoming, more and more every day, just like you always knew you would.
And him. My baby. He enjoys eating slowly and frequently. Silhouettes of house plants against a lit window grab his attention. Today he cooed for me - the first sounds I've heard from him that aren't cries or grunts. We're learning about each other slowly, all three of us, and trying to settle into a routine of sorts. My days are no longer defined by sleeping and waking hours. Instead, there are the dark morning hours when it's just me and baby Murdo, nursing and burping and watching "Gilmore Girls" on Netflix. There are the daylight hours, when all three of us are up (we're fortunate that Murdo was able to take over a month off work for paternity leave), and there are visitors and doctors appointments and diaper changes and laundry and one real meal squeezed in for mom and dad - eaten together if we're lucky. And then the evening and late night hours, which can either be very good or very frustrating, very restful or very long, depending on how the baby is feeling that night.
This morning I woke up at 5:30 to feed Murdo. After I placed him back in his sleeper, I went down to the den, the baby monitor in my robe pocket, and turned on the computer. I edited photos and began writing this blog post and for the first time in five weeks, I felt like I got back a piece of that past life that I thought had forever changed. It felt good. It feels good. To be his mother and to still be me.