For my friends and family reading this: thank you for the countless thoughts and prayers as on March 9, 2011 at 4:03am I safely delivered our second son D.A. joining his proud big brother T.A. and making our cozy brood feel blessed as a family of four.
Newly minted parents can either enjoy every precious moment of their newborn’s first hours and days or they can feel like a tossed vessel in a Northern Atlantic storm at sea as the lack of sleep and constant need of a helpless human in their stewardship drains them relentlessly. Hopefully, it’s a healthy mixture of the two with some sort of recording going on like photos, video or written word. For seasoned parents, the second and any children thereafter may seem “easier” in comparison during those early newborn weeks and perhaps they are able to better relish the fleeting moments of all their child’s firsts.
When I had my first child, I had just vacated my roaring twenties still drenched with politics and vivid memories of working at the Department of Treasury for Secretary Henry Paulson and, prior to that, in the House of Representatives as a legislative aide. After a hurried and traumatic induction I delivered our first son in June 2008 and crash-landed into my thirties with no clue how to navigate this new “normal”. The result was a bumpy postpartum road that felt as if I had taken a sabbatical to a country where I neither knew the language, nor recognized the landscape and hardly knew the reflection in mirror looking at me.
Approaching and surpassing the due date of my second child’s of March 3rd, I was increasingly overwhelmed with a deep, cave-like undercurrent river of concern as I wondered what this new shift in my life season would render. I had tried to prepare by defending my right as a healthy woman to allow nature to take its course- waiving cervical checks until after the due date passed, writing a birth request sheet that included items like wearing what I wanted to instead of a hospital sheet and to hand my newborn child to me immediately upon entry and waiting to prod him until we were ready, preparing our son by talking to him about what was about to come, nesting as best as possible in a unique situation as boomerang children ourselves and the list goes on frantically and as thoroughly as I could conjure up in the pregnant months leading up to last week’s culmination.
After a long early labor stage of nearly 10 days, I was blessed with the classic sign of “my water broke” on the evening of Tuesday, March 8th. In less than an hour we arrived and checked in at the medical center, labor came into full force and I traveleded the raw journey with a mixture of awe, comedy (yes, you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of what our bodies do!) and a high respect for all women before me and with me that very night laboring around the world to bring new life through alive.
Five hours later and the doctor on call barely made it to my room in time during the final minutes from the announcement that I was “9.5 cm” as my doula, mother, sister, nurse and husband were all trying to encourage me to “blow it away” (all the while I can feel my son trying to kick his way out and me wondering who was going to catch him!).
There are no words to describe the very moment you see your child make it through that unknown passage of time from safe womb to all-bets-are-off-Earth with their first breath. Relief, tears and overwhelming love are just a few emotions and physical reactions that can help measure that moment. I believe the combination of numerous emotions, reactions and such allow a mother to be ignorant of the after-birth, of any pain felt moments earlier or complications that may arise. For instance, I lost over a pint of my life blood after he was safe in my arms but thankfully I was not affected in a catastrophic manner except for my weakness that is to be expected until I recover fully in coming weeks.
I am amazed at how small he is and yet how strong. My first son has embraced his little brother with a tenderness and automatic acceptance that I couldn’t have hoped for in my loftiest dreams. Feeding him and sustaining him has been a physical feat that is laced with enjoyment and gratitude all while trying to savor his tender first days and weeks as he blossoms through growth and development.
The newborn blur has been blissful for me this time around as it has also healed and forgiven for me those emotional scars that had haunted me from my first newborn blur in 2008. I am grateful for both experiences now as they carve my personal character and I have insight that allows me to know what it’s like on both the positive and negative sides of the newborn blur.
AFTERTHOUGHT: Having had a medicated birth prior and now an un-medicated one I can say with no reservation that going the old-fashioned way (as long as all is healthy and well) is by the far the BEST way to give birth as a woman. We were designed for this, we are strong beyond belief and being pregnant is NOT an illness, it is merely one of the many life passages that we are capable as women. And even if a c-section is required for valid reasons, women are still birthing partipants as their body delivers life through pregnancy, birth and the nuturing thereafter! For any of my family or friends that want a detailed rundown of my birth experiences, you know how to reach me~