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Posts for Life Blogging Category

Birthing Ariadne, Part Four: Birth

[part three]

PART FOUR: BIRTH

I still couldn’t believe those words – I believe I need a C-section – had left my mouth, and then I had to say them again, about 45 minutes later, to the doctor when she returned. In the time in between, I felt a curious sense of relief, this lightness like a huge weight had been taken off of my chest. I felt that I had made the right decision – that voice that had been shouting at me louder and louder to listen to my instincts quieted for a while.

Telling the doctor what I wanted and why was difficult, again. While she and I had our differences then, and have had differences again since, I do firmly believe she had me and my best interests at heart. I believe she was listening to my midwife when she said I really wanted a natural birth, and that’s probably honestly why she let me go as long as she did – under different circumstances, without my midwife’s warning, she might have called for a C-section earlier, but she wanted me to have the chance to birth the way I wanted, even if that wasn’t her way. Even on that day, I understand we had a sort of impasse of worlds, different outlooks and lifestyle, and I didn’t waste a lot of time trying to explain too much to her. I told her the basics of my decision, and after some discussion, she agreed we would do it.

I had thought maybe things would move very quickly at that point, but this wasn’t an emergency caesarian. They had to get the staff, wait for an open OR, to prep me – we had a bit of time, still, before the moment would finally arrive and I would have my baby in my arms.

That time in between ended up being a really beautiful, loving time, and I’m so glad we had it. Lauren arrived back from the dance studio, and just sat by my side and held my hand for a while. She told me she loved me and was proud of me. I felt safer and stronger, having her back with us, having her hold my hand and not say much, but look me in the eyes and tell me silently that she believed in me.

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All of us – Shaun, Lauren, Emi, Jeannie, Kristin and Mama – sat and just – talked. Processed. We discussed everything we had just talked about, all over again, and the more we talked, the more I felt convinced this was the right decision. I was able to calm myself, and gather my strength again – because what was about to come was almost scarier to me than giving birth vaginally might have been. I remember feeling very peaceful during this time, and very grateful for everyone there.

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A Six Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

Time flies by in the blink of an eye.

We know this. We are told this, from the instant we announce we are pregnant. We are told this even more frequently once our babies arrive, as the days slip into weeks, and the weeks into months, years. We are told this as if we didn’t notice, as if this first year of our babies’ lives didn’t already feel like it slips through our fingers like grains of sand.

You are six months old. Six months, half a year. I find myself wondering where the last six months have gone, where the entire month of January has gone. I was there for it, I know I was, I lived it – but now we’re coming to the end of January, we’ve hit that six month, half-year milestone, and I feel like I have no idea how we got here.

The words I picked as my guiding meditations for this new year, 2017, were stillness and cherish, and both of them were inspired by you, my darling. Parenthood – being working parents – slams you into hyper-drive. Every moment requires an action or a task from us, we are constantly preparing or anticipating or reacting or recovering. It’s easy to buckle down and really just barrel through the days, to just get our blinders on and do what we have to do without thinking about it.

And yet here we are, our baby is six months old, half a year old – it has been six months since the day you were pulled from my belly and placed on my chest, and I cannot believe it. I see you growing and becoming this sweet, funny little girl, and I don’t want to miss a moment. I want to snapshot every second with you and store it away forever, because you are six months today, and soon you will be a year, six years, sixteen years. I will always look at you and think of that little fairy baby laid fresh and screaming on my chest.

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A Five Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

Well, my daughter, this month has been a rough one.

Not because of you — of course, my darling. You have continued to be the most charming baby I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with, and I’m not just saying that because you’re mine and I made you from scratch. You grow even more happy-natured and joyful by the day. Just when I think you can’t get any more smiley or sweet, you do.

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No, this month has been a hard one for me, as your mama. This was a month where I barely felt like I got the opportunity to enjoy the privilege of being your mother. This was a month where I felt I spent the majority of the time running and running, and a few times a day, I stopped and shoved a boob in your mouth before bouncing you to sleep, and little else.

There was the emotional struggle of you being underweight, which I talked about here, and the decision to occasionally supplement a formula bottle here and there. (And I’m pleased to report that your follow-up appointment went great, the doctor was very happy with your progress, and told us to keep doing exactly what we were doing — nursing at every opportunity, pumping at work, and feeding you a formula bottle twice a day when I’m working to ease the strain on everybody.) That was a lot of emotional and physical stress on me, and then, you know, it’s been December, and Christmas, and all of that hoopla.

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I wanted very much to make your first Christmas a beautiful and special occasion, and I do think your papa and I succeeded in doing so — but it’s been an exhausting month. I felt overwhelmed by my work — particularly busy for this time of year — any time I’ve gotten close to getting caught up, I’d have to leave my desk and run to pump. I get up early, early in the morning to rush to get myself ready and rush to nurse you as long as possible, and rush to get out the door remotely close to on time. The week I had to be at work by 7 AM every day really almost killed me. I came home on lunch, long enough to nurse you and stuff food in my mouth before I was back out the door again. I came home after work to enjoy the last few precious hours of your awake time before putting you to bed for a couple hours, waking you to nurse again, and then tumbling into bed myself. And then there have been all the Christmas celebrations, with friends and family and work and church. Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy to have those demands on my time. I’m happy that we as a family share a rich and full life with so many people who loves us and enjoy spending time with us. Not every family has the opportunity to star as Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus in the annual live nativity. As your papa said, you got to time that just right to get that invitation. And I’m always so happy to gather our friends together at this time of year, your Aunt Ali home for a visit, and meeting your Uncle Ryan for the first time, being passed from lap to lap at a Christmas get together just like the little scraps of paper we played the movie game on.

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But all of that wore on me. I wanted in my heart to be joyful and light, but instead I felt dim and heavy. Listless and unenergetic. Snippy and short-tempered. Traits that don’t normally characterize me, not by a long shot.

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A Three Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I’m trying to write your third month letter today, since you’ll hit that milestone tomorrow – but I’m having a hard time. It’s been one of those days where I’ve miss you so much, I almost have to not think about you for a bit, just to make it through the day.

Three months, and we’ve hit the end of that “fourth trimester” – that first three months after you were brought earthside to meet us and be part of our family. The completion of the year it took to make you and grow you and birth you.  It almost feels like the end of a magic spell, this miraculous period of time in which you were a new, new baby soul, and we were your brand new, fresh parents.

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Which isn’t to say the newness and the magic have worn off– on the contrary, I think we’ve seen so much growth and change from you in the last month, since the last time I wrote, and I know our love for you has quadrupled every single day.

But now, in as you’ve hit three months, it’s quite evident you’re not a new newborn anymore. You’re still an infant, still a tiny little girl fresh and new in the world – but from appearance to personality, you’ve clearly moved out of the newborn phase.

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A One-Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I’ll try to keep this short; first because you’re currently snoozing on your Boppy and these days, those snoozes can last for hours…or only five minutes, and it’s difficult to know which each time. And secondly, because I know by the time you’re old enough to read and understand these letters, I suspect you’ll be bored or at least embarrassed by how much your mom has written about you throughout your life time, how wordy and emotional she tends to be.

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And when you’re old enough to read and understand these letters, I think you’ll be really familiar with a particular feeling that’s been coming to mind over and over again in this first month. It’s a feeling I think most teenagers and young adults feel for a good chunk of time. I remember feeling it in a variety of circumstances and intensities from college age up until maybe just the last couple of years, when it started to fade as I really truly started to feel like more of an adult and less of a kid.

It’s this feeling that we have as young adults that we want to be treated by adults. We want the older, adultier adults to recognize us as such. We are own people now, we can make our own decisions. We can choose our own paths and make our own mistakes. We don’t want to be forever tied to our parents and other family members — we love them, but we want to feel like our own person. We’re ready to cut the ties and go out into the world as individuals.

Since you’ve been born, people keep reminding me of how quickly you’re going to grow, how fast this precious infant stage is going to fade and be just a warm, pleasant memory. People keep telling me this like they’ve forgotten who they’re talking to — me, who is constantly nostalgic, constantly mourning the loss of the current zeitgeist. I am sentimental about the most mundane daily experiences, and as excited as I am for the future, I’m constantly thinking about the way things used to be, moments in the past, those little bubbles of perfection and imperfection that make up our lives.

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I know you’re going to grow, and fast. I can already tell from the way your precious little head, your big old noggin as I call right now, is getting bigger and filling out the length of my hand. I can tell from the way your cheeks have gotten a little chubbier and your beautiful belly a bit bigger. You’re still long and lean for a baby of your size, prompting your papa and I to ask where the hell you got that from, because the last thing either of us are is long or lean. But it’s a testament to how fast you’re growing — you can’t pack on the weight fast enough to get properly chubby yet, you’re just stretching out.

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