The experience is real and surreal in the same moment. Physically strenuous–as in the hardest thing I’ve ever done…five times…and a spiritually provocative journey. There are layers and nuances and details about this particular pregnancy and birth that I hope to relay in words sometime, but at the moment, I’m finding it a challenge to grab hold of words that could describe what I feel.
Here is our new tiny person, woven in the womb by the Spirit of God, born of love and delivered through pain into breathing existence. I am broken and spilled out, but somehow full and whole also. Truly thankful for this blessing and filled with wonder at the beauty of life…the beauty of this family of mine.
Welcoming her was a wild ride. I didn’t expect any different as my previous births have been precipitous and incredibly intense. We ate dinner as a family last night around 5:30, and by the time I finished my food, I was ready to check out of all other activities around the house. I wasn’t having particularly regular or intense contractions, but somehow my body knew what was about to unfold.
I closed the door to my room and lay in my bed in the dark for a few minutes, giving thanks to God for my beautiful life and asking Him to be near to me. He truly was. Not ten minutes later (around 6pm), my water broke suddenly and I knew we were on the way to meeting our little girl. Knowing my labor history, this time around we planned a home birth, feeling much better about help coming to us instead of trying to arrange care for our other kids and transporting ourselves to a hospital all on short notice. Surely, I would have delivered in the car. In previous pregnancies, I have had nightmares about being in random public places, blindsided by labor and giving birth with my other kids around and no one else to help. Those dreams are one reason I just had to do things differently this time and not birth at a hospital.
I called my midwife and she came quick, fully aware that time was of the essence. A friend came by to be with our kids upstairs (she had actually already planned to be around here last evening already and serendipitously arrived within a few minutes of my water breaking…impressive timing). My husband started a movie for the kids to be occupied while we were taking care of baby business…and funny enough, the movie didn’t end until after baby had been delivered.
The pain was as fierce and full as could be, but I experienced such peace at the same time…a supernatural strength and confidence that I would not actually die during labor (which is honestly how I have felt during my other unmedicated births). I always try to give myself to the pain of contractions instead of bracing against them, knowing that each one brings us closer to the fulfillment of the great joy of meeting our child. It quickly went from tolerable to impossible for about an hour…contractions so close there was barely a breath in between, and power outside my control pressing down and expelling out all that my body has nurtured for the past months. Truthfully, it was so hard. And yet, so worth it.
Some people think a short labor means an easy labor, but that’s just not how it is. Sure, I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had…I can’t even image what it would be like to be in labor for longer than 4 hours (please don’t hate me)…but I also just can’t accept when someone thinks that a short labor is ‘easy’. There is not one easy thing about it, let me say. Anyhow, just 90 minutes after my water broke, here came this sweet darling girl, who curled up on my chest contentedly while I bawled my eyes out from relief and wonder.
Everyone in the house is tickled pink to have a new baby sister. We have had a good first day together as a family of 7, and will be resting up through the weekend. Each of the kids are very eager to have their turns holding the baby, as you’ll see in the following photos. There is no shortage of love.
The last two photos are my favorite…The first is with the newest ‘big sister’ having her turn holding the baby. The second is when that big sister had to share with the next person. What a character. Thank you everyone who has encouraged us and helped this week…more than ever, I’m convinced I have the most amazing friends around, and adding that to this sweet family of mine, I’m feeling like one incredibly blessed woman. I could not be more thankful for all of you. Thanks for celebrating this new life with us!
Born 2/27/14, 8lbs 7oz, 21in long