I remember our first week at home with brand new, baby Leighton like it was yesterday. I recall finding it impossible to get anything done. By the time I changed, fed and burped her, then got her down for a nap, the cycle would start all over again.
It took us two hours to get ready to venture out on our first stroller walk in the park - on day four, at home.
With Lei, I didn't allow myself to eat, sleep or even pee when I wanted to, for fear of interrupting what became our perfect little routine.
Ryan and I described the situation as something akin to riding a night train, in the coach level smoking car with lights on and without reclining seats, through the Pyrenees, hoping to NOT get robbed while attempting to catch a nap.
This actually happened to me during my college travels and I swear it's a valid comparison. Not much you can do when the sleeping car is full.
Ryan detailed his foray into fatherhood to my cousin (about to become a father himself for the first time) in this way: "Imagine you just sat down with your favorite beer to watch the World Series, and every three minutes, you are forced to get up and run as fast as you can to the farthest point in the house and come back. Now imagine doing that all night long."
We unapologetically catered to our new little girl's every whim . She loved to nutch her nukka even as she slept. When it fell out (every five minutes) she would cry and we would run in and replace it. She was never wet for more than minute or two. She nursed every three hours, then every four like clockwork. She slept in our bed. She had copious amounts of tummy time and photo shoots and books read to her and faces made at her and toys to play with and so on.
Leighton smiled a lot.
She still does.
The most notable shock of having that first little baby was that our time was no longer our own. Looking back, it seems silly to have assumed our baby would be like a cute little accessory - that she would travel about with us politely and sleep when we wanted her to sleep and be charming when we showed her off to other people and she would let us watch Meet the Press and have our coffee on Sundays without distraction.
It's impossible to imagine life with a baby, before you have one.
We waited a little longer than we intended to wait for Miss Leighton. We started trying or "not trying to not get pregnant" right after we were married. We so enjoyed the momentum we had going ... constant change for eighteen months ... that we lept right in.
We had a miscarriage at twelve weeks.
Frankly, it sucked.
So much hoopla and excitement and elastic-waisted pants and daydreaming and reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and I'm finally pregnant and it feels like we're a family of three in the waiting room and the warm goo and ultrasound wand is on my tummy and ... boom.
The fantasy is vaporized and there's just sadness for a while.
And that would be the very reason you don't get too excited until after that twelve week ultrasound. It shook us momentarily, but we moved forward with our life together and plans for a family.
However grateful we were to have a happy and healthy little girl the year following that rough spot, losing control over our comings and goings mattered to us.
For a little while anyway.
It was quite an adjustment for Team Freeman, as it is for most new parents, I would imagine.
Then, that longing for sleep and time to ourselves quickly faded into a rythm of providing for and meeting the needs of this little person we loved way more than we loved ourselves.
She was our best DIY project to date and we were overwhelmed by her awesomeness. We felt we loved her so very much, there wouldn't be anything left for anybody else ... ever.
We believed that right up until Miss Mairin came along ... and everything changed.