As I've often noted, nostalgia is a big thing for me, and the last couple weeks have definitely brought back a lot of memories. I just can't believe that a year ago right now I was big as a house (well, a small house) and was no doubt getting quite uncomfortable. I had just finished organizing the nursery the previous weekend and was panicking a bit about things like my water breaking or how scary my labor and delivery would be. I still hadn't packed my hospital bag, even though every week brought another centimeter of dilation. I recall that week that I just wanted to make it to my next doctor's appointment, though I don't remember now why that mattered. Maybe I had some questions or just wanted to get more stuff done, and my weekly appointment was a natural weekly target.
But I suppose what makes that time so dramatically different from now is that we hadn't had the pleasure of meeting Jacob yet. We didn't even know if he was a boy or a girl. He was this total stranger, other than me being familiar with his kicks...or whatever unidentifiable body part was beating me up at any given moment. Even now when I think back on the ultrasound photos or references on this blog to the baby in my belly, I still have a hard time connecting them to Jacob. When he was in my belly he was more of a concept or something...and then he just appeared. It's almost like his arrival just happened to coincide with my belly going away...almost like the two events were unconnected. Sounds weird, but in many cases that how it feels. He went from being the genderless, faceless "Baby" in my belly to being Jacob as we know him today. I suppose next time around when we find out the gender and hopefully have a name picked out ahead of time that the connection will seem a little more real. I will be able refer to the baby by name when it's still in the womb, so I think the mental connection will be a little clearer. No less special, but clearer.
Anyway, the second we met him, our world changed forever. It creates a stark contrast between the two periods of time...when our world revolved around us, to when it started revolving around him. And I guess as much as a birthday is a milestone for the birthday boy, it's also a milestone for us, having survived a year of parenthood. It's been a complete upheaval in the way we live our lives, from how we eat our dinner to how we interact with each other. It hasn't been easy, but it's worth it. And hopefully we'll only improve with time.
The photo below is my current desktop wallpaper at work. I thought it was fitting for this week. He was only about 15 hours old in this picture.
Is it your typical newborn baby picture? Nope...all those wires and tubes definitely make it a little different. But it's just how Jacob was...it's a part of his history, so I don't mind seeing them. I will say that looking back on pictures of him early on have a bit of a disconnect as well. I definitely see some resemblance, but it's hard to picture him as he was back then. I think the exhaustion clouded my memory of those early couple months (probably a good thing in the long run), so it's hard to recall the little details. I wish I'd taken more video or had more pictures of him with reference points to see just how small he was. His day-to-day growth is so imperceptible that it's amazing to look at him now and realize how much he's grown and changed. But then again, when I see a picture like the one below, that face I do recognize...
Turns out he still looks the same when he sleeps :) And really, isn't that the best? As a parent (particularly of a child who's had as many illnesses as Jacob), it's awesome when they're asleep because you know your child is comfortable and peaceful. Whether it's a picture like this or the real thing in his current state asleep in my arms, all I want to do is snuggle up next to him and fall asleep myself. Maybe that's a full year of sleep deprivation talking, but maybe not :)