Sunday, May 26, 2013

it begins where it left off

I had a baby.  My second baby.  It was mind blowing.  It makes me want to birth a thousand children.  All the children left to be born in the world for eternity, I will birth.

I've neglected this blog for far too long.  Sometimes, I see Jet's Journey in my bookmarks and I squirm.  Or shudder.  Or shrug.  But mostly I look away.

I don't know when this space became a burden because it never was.  Until it wasn't.  And here I am, regretful that so much hasn't been documented because So. Much. Has. Happened.

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The weeks leading up to S's birth were tumultuous.  In fact, tumultuous is too gentle of a word.  One ultrasound indicating small size lead to another ultrasound indicating small head which lead to a lot of information and worry about microcephaly; all of which left me dry heaving in the toilet.

I have never cried so hard in my life.  I envied those who carried on about back aches, the return of morning sickness, the fucking lack of a sex drive.  Oh, I had those things.  I had those things beyond comfort.  But that is what I wanted!  Instead, I scoured the internet, tearfully called my midwife, begged my parents and in laws for prayers and neglected every single friendship I had.

My baby was sick and the ultrasound told me she was.  The doctor told me there was no guarantee.  Not only was I not going to have my dreamy home birth, but I was risking induction at 37 weeks with a baby that probably weighed no more than 4 lbs. and was going to ripped from my uterus and sent away to a NICU for a long time.

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When I decided to let go and let God, I decided to accept my fate.  To accept my baby's fate, regardless of how she may enter this world.  Regardless of her inabilities and abilities.  This is not to say that I prayed to God and all would be well, but it is to say that I prayed (as did all those around me) to hope for a miracle.  A miracle that our lives would be changed, however it may be.  To care for the child placed in our arms, be it a sick and needy child or a child who could fend for her own.  I wanted her.  I wanted her to my core.  Bring me to her, I prayed.  Bring her to me.  I am her mother.  I accept how she enters this world and I accept who she is.  She is my child.  I am her mother.

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S was due on March 6.  My midwife gave me the clear to have her at home.  It was a gamble, but something in us all knew that it might be all right.  S might be okay.  And we were willing to take that risk.  I would be allowed to have her in my home, surrounded by support and love; transferred only if medically necessary within the first few moments of life on the outside.  

On February 20, at exactly 38 weeks gestation, my little one signaled her arrival.  

I awoke early that morning to the call of my toddler and his father's grin.  I ate one last breakfast with my husband and our son at the dining room table: a delicious egg, toast, tomatoes and protein smoothie (a "prescription" so to speak to get our little gestating bean to gain as much weight as possible).  I cleaned the kitchen and welcomed the child who I had been caring for in our home over the past few months.  As she and J scampered around the house, I began to contract.  To ache only in a way that birthing mothers know.  

It was time.

Yet I was in denial.
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It was a Wednesday and my mother was teaching a Spanish class but neglected the sweet, impressionable youth when an e-mail popped up saying, "I think I might be having contractions."  Thankfully, my attentive husband was home; he made the necessary phone calls to essential personnel, ordered me to send home the little person in our care that did not belong to us, and proceeded to entertain, feed, bathe, and care for the toddler.  

While I writhed with every contraction, I did not believe that she could be on her way.  This early.  After a day of rest and peace.  Calm.  

After one contraction, bent over the bathroom counter, my husband held me by my shoulders.  As I wept, still denying I was in labor but fearful that I would not be able to successfully have this child if the pain was already this intense, he shook me and told me he believed.  He believed our little girl was safe.  That she was healthy.  That she was dictating this day was her birth day.  And that I, as her mother, was going to bring her here.  And he was going to support me through every moment.

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Our doula had previously scheduled that morning for an appointment.  A "tell me how this feels while I massage your hips" appointment.  A "what do you expect from me when labor begins" appointment.  And when she arrived, at noon on that Wednesday, we informed her that I was in labor.  No more of the soft discussions about what I may or may not like, what words or touches might be acceptable.  It was time.
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One hour later, I was holding S in my arms.  One hour; a mere 3 hours after my first contraction.  My child.  My gorgeous girl.

After the child in my care was sent home, I went into transition.  I fled to my bed where I watched the impending blizzard roll in.  I watched the sky darken and I focused on the water tower just north of my bedroom.  I listened to my doula text my midwife encouraging her to rush.  I heard my husband bargain to get my toddler to eat one bite of spinach before he could be excused from the table.  Just one bite and he could have a grape.  And then he could be excused.  Sweet, sweet boy.

Three contractions blended together and I began my internal whisper to my child.  Are you sick?  Are you safe?  Will you breath?  Will your brain function?  I'm your mother, will you know?  Will you understand how to suckle when you are brought to my breast?  Will you bond with me?

I then began to ride the wave of each contraction with the imagery gifted to me by my doula who sat silently next to me with her hand firmly placed upon my thigh.  

Dear sweet, sweet baby girl.  Here comes a contraction.  I feel it like a wave.  A salty, cooling wave in the ocean that shocks me as it gently covers my body.  The shock takes my breath but I do not turn away.  I do not resist as I know that the wave is good for me.  It quenches my body's thirst.  It softens my tense muscles all the while makes me breath heavily.  I promise you, sweet girl, to ride the wave with you.  Be with me.  Stay with me as we arch above the wake.  I see the bubbles before me and I know they're approaching.  The bubbles of fear and pain.  Push through them with me.  Ride this wave and dig your toes in the sand.  Promise me, little one, to dig your toes as far as they can in the sand.  We will be safe there together.  I will hold you.  In the sand together, my child.  We can do this together.
After three excruciating contractions I moved to the bathroom.  I climbed into the tub and I melted into the side, feeling the cool tile.  I was alone for one contraction and an immediate push from my body led me to alert my doula that I was pushing.  With the midwife not in attendance, she demanded my husband come to my side as she rushed to the street in hopes that she would arrive in time.

With the next contraction, my deep animal instinct kicked in and I was pushing against my will.  Against my husband's encouragement to "take a deep breath."

And he looked.  And he saw.  And he touched.  And he caught.

And she was here.

And she was perfect.

And we were alone.  My husband, my crying daughter upon my chest, and my son, sucking his thumb and witnessing something we never imagined for him.

And it was perfect.  And it was beautiful.
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I climbed out of the tub and into my bed.  My husband and toddler followed.  My midwife arrived and my doula lead the way.  And we were giddy.  And the snow fell.  

And it was perfect.  And it was beautiful.

And she was perfect.  And she was beautiful.

Healthy.  

My tears were for naught.  My ultrasounds and NSTs and BPPs were for naught.  

But my prayers were not.  For she was the answer.  My sweet, fiery sunshine.  Her cry from my heart and in my heart it remains.  

Perfect.  Beautiful.  Healthy.

Blessed.  

6 comments:

Erikka H said...

Oh momma! I am experiencing an overwhelming amount of tears and joy. Your faith was shaken to its core and you believed ans you pushed and you came out with everthing you prayed and yearned for, I'm so happy for you and your new baby girl.

J o s e y said...

Oh wow - what an absolutely stunning birth story. What a beautiful ending (beginning?) to such a scary time.

Kelley said...

I am so incredibly happy for you all! I'm glad S is doing well and what a beautiful story!

Meghan said...

Wow! What an incredible description of her birth and God's provision for your sweet girl. We are awaiting our second, also a little girl any minute now. I love the way you described your contractions... In fact I am going to try and channel those exact thoughts to help me through a hopefully natural birth. So happy for you and your blessings!

Amy said...

My goodness, this was absolutely beautiful! What an incredible story of your daughter entering this world. You are amazing!

Baby Lately. said...

yay! you're back!!!