A Week of Surprises

This has been a week of surprises. A week that proves no matter how prepared you are, there just may be another force in control. 

The final preparations began weeks ago. We headed to Denver two weeks prior to the baby's due date to avoid any possible, if remote, chance of not making the 90-mile trip to the hospital in time. On March 14th, I visited the OB for my 40-week checkup, and he told me nothing was progressing and he could induce my labor when he returned from vacation 12 days later.

Within a few hours of leaving his office, I was calling to let him know that my contractions were two minutes apart, 20 seconds long. He told me to call when they spaced out to 5-minute intervals, each one minute in duration. I labored in my childhood bedroom, waiting for the contractions to change. They only got more intense. 

While I tried to let my body go limp and ride out each contraction, I felt my body and spirit divorce. The pain became a sort of entity, something my body handled while my spirit floated somewhere nearby waiting it out. 

The March issue of O Magazine features an empowering essay about surrendering to the pain of childbirth, of remembering the purpose that it serves and emerging on the other side with a greater sense of peace and power. In the article "Labor of Love," Thandie Newton writes, "I can see why people describe it as pain, but it's so much more than that. It is a magnificent pain, an extraordinary out-of-body sensation, a humbling one." I read her words over and over again to myself, waiting for my husband/labor coach to arrive. 

As it turned out, Ty would make it to the hospital about an hour after the birth. It took him nearly five hours to make the 90-mile drive in the worst road conditions of the winter. My contractions never did get much longer than 20 seconds until they were one on top of another, and my mom and I arrived at the hospital with just 16 minutes to spare.

When the OB resident finally okayed me to push, I said, "I can't believe my husband isn't going to make it." 
"Well," he said, "Neither is your doctor." Three pushes and several minutes later, our little bundle of joy was born. My mom entered the room just before the baby did, and I cut the cord myself.

I got what I have so desperately wanted since my first daughter was born via c-section: a traditional, natural childbirth. I yearned to behold the exhilaration of this pain culminating in the most overwhelming of human experiences. I wasn't disappointed. I have a beautiful new daughter, a new relationship with my body, a new sense of power in my role as a mother and as a woman, and a renewed sense of awe for a Creator who could make all of this come about.

There is nothing quite so blissful as nursing a newborn baby. Meanwhile, my rough-and-tumble toddler is revealing a more soft and gentle side. It's as though these sisters have known one another forever. Perhaps they have.

We have named this baby sister Calliope after the Greek mythological muse of poetry. After all, my girls are my inspiration. They are the elements of life that make me understand, once and for all, why I'm here. They make every morning Christmas, awaiting all of the surprises that are gift-wrapped in their little souls. Now we revel in unwrapping them one by one.

Enjoy this issue, enjoy your week, and enjoy your babies - no matter how tall they've grown.