Monday, November 5, 2012

Changing Seasons

For years I have dreamt about the family I would one day have.  Somehow in all my planning and scheming about the future, life never felt like it would be complete until there were little ones under foot.   And then I was pregnant.  Over the course of those months, I couldn't help but feel like I was born for this.  I couldn't wait to be a mother, for my life's pace to slow; to be forced to grapple with the fleeting passage of time as I watched my own child grow and change every. single. day.

And now, here I am three months into the most important job of my life.  It is everything that I anticipated (and more) and also not like anything I could have imagined.  While pregnant,  I knew that I would love the child growing inside of me, but I couldn't anticipate the way I would feel when her little hand reaches out for me in the night, or how her smiles are always biggest in the morning, as if we are all meeting again for the very first time, or the way that she buries her head into the crook of my neck when she needs a break from this big world.

And, I didn't fully understand the responsibility of it all.  Oh, I have known what kind of parent I wanted to be for a long time now.  We believe in imagination and play, wholesomeness, and slowing down around these parts.  I knew I wanted to parent with intention and to honor and respect all the stages of childhood without hurrying its pace or asking my child to be something that she's not. But I did not anticipate how I am this child's world right now.  That every one of my actions and decisions play a part in shaping my little one's reality.  I didn't know how quite it would be, here at home, day in and day out, with just an infant and that the way my girl would see the world was very much related to how I chose to live.  I didn't know that motherhood, when done mindfully, is actually a living meditation on patience, selflessness, and appreciation.  And, that every new day is an opportunity to adjust and improve on one's practice.  Because motherhood is beautiful, but its also very hard.

And so, as those hazy newborn days drift further and further away,  I realize that I am settling into this role of mama.  Just as the season is changing around these parts so too am I.

Autumn aglow 

wood pile

Papa and baby

Our girl

Blurry Family

Littlest Bear

She's all magic

Rare picture of mama and baby--with life strewn about

Monday, October 15, 2012

Home Birth of Eulalie Vivian

Little Eulalie's birth story is quick and fierce.  Much like the girl I believe this little baby will become.

Nursing a cold two weeks before my due date, I found myself napping in the middle of the day.  All it took was a sneeze.  At first I wasn't sure what had happened, but after heaving myself up out of bed it became clear:  My water broke.  In that moment I was flooded with warmth and excitement.  I wasn't expecting to meet our little one so soon, but I didn't feel panic or fear.   Drew came home from work early and we felt so full of life.  And so we waited for my labor to begin.  We were wide eyed and smiling the entire day into the evening.  As the sun began to set and labor still hadn't begun we began to realize that we might be playing a waiting game for a while.  And so... we tried our very best to appreciate one another and soak in those last hours of being just us.

I didn't sleep well that night.  I felt electric with anticipation  but still the contractions wouldn't come.   The next morning we woke and I was still pregnant.  We thought that we would surely be having a baby that day. We spent our time checking in with the midwife, going for long walks (we even climbed a little mountain!), and speaking to one anther about how having this baby would change us.  We were ready.  But, our little baby was not.  Late in the afternoon on the second day our acupuncturist came over and worked on me.  As she left she told us it typically took 24 hours for the treatment to help bring about labor.  That night I took a long shower and got into bed.  I was exhausted from all the walking and the intense emotions of the day.  I slept well that night and woke up the next morning well rested and determined: We would meet our baby that day.

It was Drew's birthday so I  let him sleep in until 8am (ha!) and then decided it was time to get things going.  As we headed out the door for another walk I made sure to be be extra sweet to D.  He had joked weeks earlier that all he wanted for his birthday was our baby and here we were facing that reality.  It was incredible.  After our walk we called the midwife who gave us a run down of our options.  We only had 24 more hours of waiting before we would need to transfer our care to the hospital (Oregon state law), which was something neither of us wanted.  So, we decided to help things along by taking castor oil.

The texture of the oil on the way down was disgusting, but I barely noticed as all my attention was turned towards getting the baby to come naturally and at home. Within 30 minutes the oil began working and I was glued to the bathroom.  The effects of castor oil are unpleasant at best, but I wasn't phased and, honestly, at the time I didn't think it was that bad.  The castor oil had run its course by around noon.  Drew and I laid on the bed waiting for contractions to start, but still nothing significant was happening.  I began to get discouraged.  All my worst fears were beginning to become more and more of a reality.  Drew spoke to the midwife who suggested we try nipple stimulation and then to get back to her. We gave it a go, and within 5 minutes intense contractions were coming.  They were 45 seconds long and a minute a part.  I was able to speak through the first four and then I was overtaken by labor.  Even though things got intense quickly, I never entertained the thought of not being able to handle it.  I had waited for two whole days for our baby to join us and was willing to go through anything to meet the tiny person.

After about 45 minutes of us laboring by ourselves Drew decided to call the midwife.  They arrived about an hour and half after labor had started and were greeted by me throwing up in the bath tub. It took them no time to assess the situation and realize how close I was to having our baby.  They worked hard to set up our bedroom and fill up the birthing tub.  As I waited for them to get the rooms ready for delivery, I spent lots of time swaying back and forth slow dancing with Drew.  In those moments he was my guiding light.  His strength and calm kept me going.  His love for me and awe in the process was evident even in the haze of labor.  I will be forever grateful for his support.

Finally the bed was ready for me, but the tub was not.  Being on the bed was excruciating.  Contractions were rolling over me one after another and my body began to push.  I felt out of control and wild.  I would brace myself against the wall during each contraction and collapse into the pillows to rest for 20 seconds before the next contraction would hit.  Right as the assisting midwife called that the tub was finally ready, Drew whispered into my ear that he could see the baby's head.

I made my way to the tub and as I got in I felt instant relief.  The contractions were still intense and the pushing sensation was still taking over, but labor felt manageable.  The midwife instructed me to start pushing with each contraction and just like that our sweet little baby's head was out.  My body gave me a minute long rest and finally with one last contraction I pushed our little one's body out.  The midwife caught her and immediately handed her to me.  We were elated and so in love.  Our baby didn't cry at first,  she opened her eyes and stared up at us for what felt like eternity.  And then, she closed her eyes and began to wail.  It wasn't until she started crying that we realized she was a girl.  Our girl.  Our little Eulalie Vivian.  In that moment it all made perfect sense. It had been her all along.  The best birthday gift Drew could have ever asked for.

My labor lasted a mere 3 hours.  And though it was short, it was the most incredible thing I've ever done.  We spent years dreaming about our child and now she is here.  In that moment life completely changed.  Just like Dorothy discovering the land of Oz, everything seems more alive and vibrant now.  Every creature has a purpose, every blossom is full of potential and we are now acutely aware of it all.

Drew giving words of comfort between contractions

Mother, daughter and husband
beautiful little one and her amazing tree of life


Thursday, September 20, 2012

little dove

little spark was here already but we didn't yet know
1st trimester haze
24 weeks 

the day my water broke.  we waited for three days before she came.

and then our world changed. forever.

At two weeks new we escaped to the coast

So happy to cal this place home.

7 weeks.  My she has grown!

A year ago she didn't even exist.  Not even a spark or a flash--nothing.  Or, maybe she did in the other places.  She was certainly carried in our hearts and minds as we readied ourselves to make that jump.  And now she's here.  Flesh and bones. Squawks and coos and smiles. Heaviness made out of light in our arms as we swing and sway late into the night.

A year ago I wondered where home was.  Travelers, we never could stay put for more than a year.  Meeting new faces, learning introductions so perfectly, but never quite making it to the meat of the matter. Three months ago when she was still safely tucked inside--though we didn't yet know it was her (how could we not have known?  Now it seems so obvious, it's been her all along.)  We risked it all,  packed ourselves up,  and moved again.  Out west.  Back home. Where the world is always green. Through all the moves and changes we've always had one another.  And now there's her too.  Our little dove.