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Monday, May 20, 2013
::Aurora's Monthly Newsletter, April 2013::

Dear Aurora,

 Today, you are one month old. I’m flabbergasted at that, really--it seems like you’ve been part of this family forever, but at the same time, it feels like we brought you home from the hospital yesterday.

 On my due date (Thursday, April 18), Gran (who had been undergoing treatment for his relapsed leukemia and was on pins and needles about timing for a bone marrow transplant) called me and let me know that, surprisingly, his doctor gave him permission to travel if he could get back to Dallas by the next Thursday. “So if Aurora’s born by Monday, I can come. Are you going to ask to be induced?” And I did, and you were born the next day, at about the same time that Gran and Pitter touched down at SFO.

Your birth was so different from your brother’s, which is mostly awesome. We were in a different state, for one--we’d moved to California about a year before--so instead of a crowd in the waiting room, it was just your dad and me. Aside from the really uncomfortable experience that was Having Your Hand Removed From Your Head By My Obstetrician While I Was Five Centimeters Dilated, everything was easier this time, labor-wise. I only had to push for about 20 minutes, through about five contractions. And there you were, pink and lively! With the weirdest toes I’d ever seen.  

 (Also, Dad got all faint-y soon after you made your entrance into the world, but he sat down, closed his eyes, and concentrated on your cries. You’re what got him through it!) Gran and Pitter loved being able to cuddle with you and coo at you while they visited, but they had to return to Dallas too soon for Pitter’s work and Gran’s consolidation chemo.


 Soon after, Uncle Josh came to visit, and he was by far your favorite sleeping surface ever. Then, “Aunt” Nessa made her way here, and she gave you so, so many kisses. And, there are dozens of people in Texas who love you and haven’t even met you yet.

 You’ve been in “blob mode,” wherein you don’t know how to control your limbs, which is hilarious, and your wiggly desperation when you’re hungry is more amusing to me than it probably should be. In utero, you were way more active than Sagan was, and you’ve justified my concerns early on by being able to houdini yourself out of swaddles really easily. You also don’t seem to be calmed by them as much; you can take a nap splayed out on your back, in just your day clothes. By far, you’re most animated when you’re seeking out a nipple.

A few weeks before you were born, I asked your dad if he thought he’d be different as a father this time, since you’re a girl. “I don’t think so,” he answered. But as soon as you were born, he was in awe of you--your beauty and sweetness. His voice went all soft, he stroked your head, and he made it clear to my parents and me that he would be very different this time, since you’re a girl. Later I asked him about it, and he said, “Well, it seems like with a girl, there’s so much more at stake.” And he’s right, Aurora--this is a very high-stakes time to be a woman. People are finally (re-?)realizing that our culture needs to respect women and listen to their choices. Your dad and I both hope that by the time you grow up, the world’s become a friendlier place for girls and women. In the meantime, we’ll try to raise you and your brother as forces of good, people who will inspire others toward a change.

I knew that adding you to our family of three would disrupt things for all of us, most notably Sagan. He’s used to having our attention all to himself, and in this past month that’s been mitigated by the happy flow of visitors who’re happy to help me out by entertaining him. This last week, the first one without a visitor or your dad at home, has been tough. But overall, he’s been amazing with you. He clearly delights in your presence, frequently spouting, “Aurora baby!” as he gazes at you with a smile. He’s extremely gentle; he pets your head and holds your hands and kisses your cheeks with a surprisingly soft touch. The sweetest moments for Dad and me since bringing you home have been those times when Sagan will hold you and tell us he loves you. We’re so glad you have a big brother who loves you so much already.


You, like your celestial namesake, cast an enchanting glow over everyone who comes into contact with you. This enveloping glow keeps me awake when I feed you in the middle of the night, amazes me when I see it brighten everyone’s faces, and helps me see through those moments when having two kids to take care of at the end of a long week seems a little too much to handle. Thank you, Aurora, for being my light.

Today, your dad and brother went off to Maker Faire by themselves, leaving me, for the first time, alone with you for a day. It was delightful. You napped, you watched me do the dishes, you stretched and wiggled and let your socks fall off. At one point, you slept on my shoulder for an hour, letting out those sweet sighs every once in a while, the adorable, breathy ones that only babies produce. When I did some chores, I put you in the bouncy chair, and I went over to you every few minutes to say hello. Once, I zoomed in, said, “Heeeeere’s Mommy!!!” and a real, not-produced-by-gas-or-dreams smile burst across your face like a supernova. And when I saw that, I finally got to see what you really looked like. The way happiness visibly washed over you. Inexorable proof that you love me back.


Love, Mom

DISLIKES Hiccups, hunger, being cold, when the car comes to a stop, needing to burp
LIKES Waiting until someone changes you to spew your green poop for five minutes, being held upright, letting Sagan coo and play near you, my boobs, being bathed
THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW Smile, lift your head, vocalize, focus on faces, track lights across the room
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