A Tiny Human

So here’s an update on this neglected blog of mine: last month, I had a baby. My daughter — Emilia — is healthy, super chill, and incredibly beautiful.

I haven’t posted here since January; I’m happy to say I had the most positive, pleasant, and active pregnancy. Maintaining my workout routine was really important to me, and doing power vinyasa yoga almost daily to my 38th week kept me mentally and physically healthy, happy, and sane.

I looked forward to labor and the experience of childbirth, but unexpectedly, I ended up scheduling a cesarean birth, as she was breech for over a month and, despite the things I tried to get her to flip around — acupuncture, chiropractic care, moxibustion, headstands at the pool, breech tilt exercises, hypnotherapy, and an unsuccessful ECV (external cephalic version) — she didn’t budge. While it was not the birth experience I’d originally envisioned, I was totally at peace with everything in the end. Ultimately, I just wanted her to be safe and healthy — it really didn’t matter how she got here.

Five weeks later, I’m recovering well and making more trips out of the house — even if it’s simply taking a walk around the garden — and Nick and I are slowly adjusting to our new roles as mother and father. It’s been weird, challenging, and life-changing: new parts of me have emerged, while others are no more. I’m grateful for this gorgeous little human, but also find myself mourning the life I had. I’m off from work until the end of the year to adjust and focus on her, myself, and to settle into this next chapter of life. I’m not sure what the next months (and years) will bring, but I already sense a shift in my priorities and goals.

Surprisingly, I’ve also felt more of an urge to write, in small bursts and Instagram captions typed out in the middle of the night after a 3am feed — but that’s much more than I’ve expressed as of late. So, perhaps that’s a sign of more musings to come…

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Enjoying this book so far, from the blogger at The Ugly Volvo. Nick has read a few hilarious bits aloud, and I love the way Emilia’s head feels against my chest when I laugh, even though it hurts as my incision heals. As we enter week 3, I’m tired, emotional (omg, do NOT binge-watch This Is Us after you’ve just had a baby), and physically limited to our small house, with short strolls in the garden. I’ve left the house twice since coming home from the hospital—for pediatrician visits—and was exhausted after both trips. Not surprisingly, I miss yoga and working out, and realize that where I’m sitting—on my sofa surrounded by a gazillion pillows—is the center of my universe right now, as my body recovers and we find our rhythm. In moments I sit quietly, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. I think back to when I first met Nick: how young we were, at least compared to now, and how we bonded over traveling, writing, and so many other things. I remember the epic night we met, first drinking and smoking at an empty Zeitgeist, then at the Toronado, talking about how I didn’t want to have children (I’m not sure how we ended up talking about this, but we did, amongst everything else). I’ve thought about how our paths first crossed on the internet (thanks to travel blogging), the thousands of miles between us in the beginning, our shared trajectory, and our evolution as individuals and as a couple. I think of how we now have a daughter, who looks like him when she’s wide awake, and who looks like me when she’s asleep. I think of his Twitter avatar from years ago, when I knew of him only through his travel writing from Egypt; in the photo, his face was covered with a blue head scarf, and all I could see was his big blue eyes. I remembered this photo the day Emilia was born—Nick came into the operating room before my surgery, and I looked up and saw him, his beard and part of his face covered with a sterile mask in the same shade of blue he wore in that profile pic. Once again, I saw his eyes—and the face I first encountered and fell for years ago. It was a weird, special moment, as if the past 8 years flickered before me in the minutes before we met our baby.

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One of the interesting things about having a baby has been accumulating so much stuff in the past handful of months. Just three years ago this summer, we moved up to Sonoma County and into our tiny house on wheels—and had given away most of our furniture and belongings with the intention of living in 131 square feet. We didn’t know how long we’d live in the tiny house, but we were sick of San Francisco and how we’d been living at the time, thirsty for something different. We lived in it for one year, until we stumbled upon this little house on this beautiful property that we live on now. Two years later, we have this tiny human—something at once planned yet surprising. I continue to evolve as a person—sometimes I look around and wonder how I got here, but then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and remember it’s ultimately still me. Our guest room, above, will eventually be Emilia’s room. For now, all five of us, including the 🐱🐱, sleep in our bedroom full of newly bought stuff, creating a symphony of baby grunts, cat purrs, and human snores. So, life doesn’t look like this at the moment—it’s much more cluttered 😆 Still, it’s nice to be able to catch my breath in quick calming moments around the house and garden—I’m grateful that it’s so peaceful here with the trees, the birds, the quiet, the light, the space.

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28 Comments

  1. Congratulations and wishing you the best. How exciting a time for you.

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  2. Beautiful…but shouldn’t Emilia be watching American football instead of fútbol? 🙂
    Congratulations, Cheri, wishing you and your family a fantastic finish to the summer.

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  3. So many congratulations to you and yours. Welcome to the world, Emilia! Babies are the best. *smile* -HM.

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  4. Congratulations! What a fantastical journey you three will have.

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  5. Congratulations! My daughter’s name is Emilia as well…spelled the same way 🙂 And my husband’s name is also Nick!

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  6. Many congratulations to you all 🙂

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  7. Congratulations and many blessings! Her feet are adorable!

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  8. Congratulations!

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  9. My blessings to you and your baby. Very nice to see you write again.

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  10. Joyce lucas

    Very happy to see you writing again. I’ve watched you and Nick take on parenthood with much love and nurturing and care. Indeed there are lots of ups and downs, and you learn as you go along this beautiful journey. Thank you for Emilia Maia!

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  11. Angela@eatlivehappy

    Congratulations!

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  12. Wow, Cheri! How wonderful to read your post. They say that Subject Line matters and it’s true, since I had a hint when I read A Tiny Human:)
    Your baby is gorgeous and I’m sure you must feel both ecstatic and overwhelmed. So much love, so much to do, so little sleep.
    Seeing all the books, it is clear that little Emilia will be a lover of words, like her mama.
    I wish her a warm welcome on our beautiful planet, a full life and lots of love. And to her loving parents many years of happiness together.
    Life is never quite the same when you become a parent. This new life knows ups and downs, but more ups than downs 🙂
    The best part is to witness that we hold so much more love that we thought we had inside us. Ultimately as parents we become more compassionate and emphatic.
    I am so happy for you and again wish you the very best.

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  13. How wonderful Cheri, congratulations to Emilia for choosing such a loving home! Your world sounds fantastic 😊. Enjoy every moment.

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  14. Oh wow congrats! When my wife gave birth she started blogging too (and promptly stopped as soon as I took over as primary care giver). It’s a wonderful time to unplug but there’s also so much she wanted to try and record and remember (I just took photos).

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  15. Congratulations Cheri and Nick. How wonderful for you.
    Alison

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  16. God Bless Emilia. And congratulations to the parents. It has been so beautiful a journey that I have been following throughout right from the day you started doing your home, planting, and taking all care as Emilia was on way. Love you and indeed your attitude towards life is worth appreciable. Thanks for sharing, and bring smile everytime you appear, anywhere.

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  17. Anonymous

    So happy to see you writing again. Productive 3 am feed!

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  18. Congratulations, Cheri and Nick! Welcome to the world, Emilia! 👶🏻 Enjoy every moment.

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  19. How I miss those days, beautiful and exhausting. Daughters challenge their parents. Our a sixteen year old just made us a vegan enchilada bake for dinner. Just a week ago she was driving us crazy. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Much love and happiness on this new journey.

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  20. pinklightsabre

    Maybe this is the beginning of reversing expectations so to speak, and the peace that comes with it…and wisdom, and crow’s feet, etc….but keep up with that yoga, mama! My wife Dawn did natural and then breach with our second, and somehow our second seems to reflect that “breach mentality,” or stubbornness/punk rock ethos. We’ll see about Emilia. Congratulations Cheri!

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  21. Cheri! Wow! Congratulations on Emilia! (Great name.) This is so awesome. She’s lucky to have you as a mom, and the world is lucky to have your expanded family.

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  22. Oh! I so loved the fact that you have put the instagram posts here. As always, your writing is honest, evocative and thoughtful. Happy about the little human, sad about the C section- only because it is a bitch in the healing. But your calmness and focus should speed that along.

    So happy for you and Nick. Xoxo

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  23. Congratulations, Cheri! My best to you and yours!

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  24. Congratulations! So glad you survived pregnancy and have moved into the glorious task of being a mother. Blogs, cooking, sewing, travel — it all takes a back seat (at least for a while) because a new star has appeared in your sky. Sending best wishes for many wonderful moments together.

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  25. Congratulations! She is beautiful–and so is her name. I have the male version–Emilio 🙂

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  26. Congratulations and best wishes for Emilia (and her parents).
    Ω

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  27. Congratulations! My daughter’s name is also Emilia, spelled exactly the same way. So many people spell it as “Amelia”. I hope motherhood is treating you well so far!

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