This little guy is three months old today!
Lord knows it's been a hard three months, but most of all these times have been filled with a unique chance to learn something, you know, something REAL. And although it generally sucks having these baby cheeks taken up by plastic tubes and things are exhausting a lot of days, I keep my eyes on the core, what makes everything go around, what makes it all worthwhile.
It's the love, that all-consuming, symbiotic, sweet sweet love.
I love you, my little star.
Monday was a day out if the ordinary. Went to the hospital to change Wolfie's tube, and discovered that he can breathe well without it!!! I cannot begin to describe the happiness I felt, I almost did a real ugly cry in there with the doctors, it was unreal. The main person, our brave little warrior, was super happy and charming and probably relieved without the tube. His stats were great all day, so we spent the night there to see how things moved along. He was totally fine breathing and chatting away, even flat on his back - which was impossible when he was born, before the tube was put in. It was the first time I had seen him without anything in his face since he was born, so the feeling of kissing those soft cheeks and admiring that sweet face was beyond wonderful. How I have longed for that moment!
The night proved a bit too difficult for Ulv, he had trouble going into deep sleep and was uncomfortable, so I decided it's still a bit early to be tube-free. But it was great nonetheless, and I feel inspired to go on and confident that we'll get there in not too long.
This journey amazes me all the way, and I feel so thankful for the blessing of our brave little wolf cub. ⭐️
Just another day in paradise! (Who said Mondays are dull?)
We move from the vivid, clear freshness of October and into the bleak beauty of November. Full of stillness and quiet, sparking the impulse to hibernate, this month opens up for peaceful contemplation. It is a month where nothing really happens. The trees have let go of their last leaves, birds have moved south, the air is quiet in the absence of flies and crickets. The world darkens.
One of my favourite quotes about November is written by Stephen Soule, and goes like this:
It's late now, and the cold gray days settle heavily into our bones as the weight of impending darkness pushes down a willing and tired sun, draped in clouds. The sharp autumn winds remain to shake the last leaves free from the slipping grip of their trees. Temperatures stick toward freezing as a light rain falls steadily to dampen ground and spirits alike. The earth dies every November, hosting a funeral march for miracles that rose gracefully out of the spring rains and shimmered prominently in the warm breeze of July amidst a sea of admiring smiles. The fireworks of a vibrant autumn bring the dance to its end, and we file out of the theatre in bittersweet procession, grateful to be witness to such a show. The curtain closes, and we are left standing in a field of matted grass surrounded by the stark forest, black, imposing, and raw.
(From the book The Rhythm of Family)
You wonderful little person.
Such a sweet big brother to Ulv, so loving and interested, you love having him on your lap, kissing his hair, stroking him. You're always so attentive with him, asking Where's the baby? if I'm not holding him, worrying about him if he cries, fetching me things I may need if I'm stuck feeding him. And you say When Wolfie is big and can wear wellies and a jacket, I will play with him in the sandbox and we will climb trees in the forest. And that breaks my heart a little, because although he is here, those days are still a long way to go for a little man like you, you will have to wait a good while before you can play with your brother for real. I guess patience is the key word for all of us these days, weeks, months. Waiting for the little one to grow.
So while I want to speed time up for him, so he can get big and strong and can breathe without the tube, I want to slow it down for you a little bit. You are so big all of a sudden, and I miss you sometimes, I miss the days when you were the baby, when life was less complicated, when I didn't worry like I do now. When I could hold you close more. Lovely, messy, sweet little Falk.
The day finally arrived: You are eleven! That's eleven years of magic. You're a wonderful person, my Ronja, funny and wise and strong and courageous. Loyal and warm and so caring. We are lucky to be in this with you. Love you to the moon and back!
...as a ten-year-old!
It's busy having four kids, and one thing that tears me apart a little these days is the lack of one-on-one time with them. Some days I feel like I never get to properly be present for them, because there's always someone else talking and I have to split my brain into four parts. (Yes, I am exhausted.)
Today though. Ronja and Billie and I (and the wolf cub of course, he's always with me, snug as a bug in his wrap) went for a long walk in the woods above the farm. There was a slight breeze, the last leaves were dropping from their branches like little parachutes, the sun was bright in the sky, and the temperature was just right. And we talked about small things and big things, and it was just plain lovely to be out there with her. My wise, beautiful almost-eleven-year-old.
First: T H A N K Y O U so much for all the wonderful feedback after I posted our birth story! It has been overwhelming, and it has made me even more certain that following my gut was right, that sharing personal stories have great value, and that we need more positive birth stories out there. Having such support from people from all around the world is really humbling; I am so thankful for all of your feedback, whether it's here on the blog, on instagram, Facebook or e-mail. Love!
Today was such a lovely day. We packed lunch and hiked up to a landmark around here; a tower on a hilltop (Freja likes to call it the Eiffel tower), the view up there is mind-blowing. The weather was warm and sunny, the kids hopped along and it was just really nice. I feel rosy cheeked and happy. Nothing like the great outdoors!
I've been pondering back and forth whether I should share our birth story or not. It is the most intimate thing one can share, and it feels scary to put it out there for everyone to see. At the same time, it is so universal, so fundamentally natural, and something in me says let's not hide this, let's share it, because really: What is there to hide, anyway?
I love birth. I love the mystery, magic and wildness of it, I love how it connects us with each other, and how it is a source for tapping into a place within we so rarely visit. That primal, pure, stripped down self.
Thinking back on when I birthed my four babies, it feels like a strange, unreal thing. Did I really do that? And that feeling tells me something about why it is important to share birth stories: To show each other that it is possible, that we can do it, that although it is hard work, and super challenging, it is something our bodies know how to do, if we let go.
There is no right or wrong way to give birth, no birth more real than the other. From elective cesarean to unassisted home birth - it doesn't matter - as long as it's your birth, your informed choice, your journey.
This was my journey. My fourth baby was born at home on the 15th of August 2015, at 0903 am, surrounded by my husband, my mum, my daughters, my friend & photographer and my midwife.
I started having mild contractions in the late evening, but didn't dare to believe it was it, because I'd had them on and off for a couple of weeks. It was still five days before my due date. As the night moved on, it became more apparent that yes, something was up, so I called my midwife Jutta and let her know. We also called my mum and our friend Wenche, who would be our photographer (can't work as a birth photographer and not have your own birth documented, right?). They all arrived around 4 am, and the activity woke the kids up, one by one. So there we were, all gathered together for a happy birthing party. We lit candles and put music on, I had steady rushes so there was no doubt that our baby was on his way. I was prepared for a fast birth since Freja and Falk both came rushing out in an hour and a half. Still, I had wished for more time, time to settle into it, to really experience it, and it seemed like my body was listening. Slowly but surely the night turned into dawn, and the intensity of my labor grew. My daughters stayed up for the long haul, but little brother Falk got tired and fell asleep in the morning, so he missed the actual birth. (The photos of me and him hugging on the sofa move me so deeply; it is our last hug while he is still the little one, before becoming a big brother.) Ulv was born in water in our living room, he came swimming out with a thick layer of vernix (wax) on him, and the euphoria and bliss of it all flooded the room. It was amazing. He was big and strong, just like his siblings (4115 grams and 52 cm), with a good head of hair, alert and beautiful.
As you might know, Ulv was born with some challenges (Pierre Robin sequence), so we had to go to the hospital after a while. I'm not quite ready to tell that story yet. Also, it's so important for me to let the birth shine on its own, to not let the aftermath overshadow what a fantastic experience bringing Ulv earthside was. But the contrast was stark, within a few hours I went through the whole spectrum of emotions: from being a birthing woman, primal and strong, via the greatest bliss, to fear, worry and grief. I thought I would lose him, I remember thinking I'm not going to get to keep this one. And yet here we are, two months later, at home again, and our wolf cub is a happy, growing baby, just as much a part of our family as the rest of them. It's been a bumpy road, but it has been paved with love, and that's all that matters, in the end.
(All photos by Wenche Moe Wendelborg - I'm forever grateful.)
On the first day of the month, we headed out and into the woods. The fish were elsewhere (as usual), but being out there was pure healing. There is nothing like the quiet of an autumn forest.
From our day out picking blueberries, the day before Ulv was born. We were blissfully unaware of the challenges ahead, the tears and worry - but also unaware of the beauty in the transformation our family was to face. As much as I wish Ulv had been born without his struggles, this journey has also taught us many important things. Adversity gives room for growth.
I remember this from my childhood: Looking at the sky and deciding what the clouds resembled. And this evening, I was fixed in that magic again, when my girls stopped in their tracks carrying some chairs up from the garage, and sat down to see what the sky transformed into.
...my insides melt into a warm fuzzy river. It's like being kissed by a fairy, like seeing magic unfold. Sigh.
Beautiful boy, oh how I long to see and kiss your face without the tube and plasters.
Ulv was born four weeks ago today, and we have spent three of them in the hospital. It feels so strange to think back on those weeks, all that time cooped up in a room, in a corridor, so out of my normal habitat, so out of place. It's almost as if it didn't happen, like it was just a weird dream. It sure feels like life with Ulv has only started for real now, at home. It's going so well! He came home without the feeding tube, so he solely feeds via bottle (babies with open palates cannot breastfeed, they cannot create the necessary vacuum), only gets my milk and thrives on it. He is strong, content, sleeps well, and shows more alertness and personality each day. It is such a joy to have him with us. All is full of love, and those weeks in the hospital seem more distant all the time.
I'll share with you some images from our weeks there.
I have started looking through the photos from Ulv's birth, and it is so wonderful. I am forever grateful to my friend for being a part of this and documenting it so beautifully. Here is one of the photos that has touched me - me and my love in the garden, in the morning hours, not long before our little wolf cub warrior entered this world.