I’m a few days away from sumptuous 40 (weeks).
Baby is snug as a bug. I feel my cervix changing and pulling and preparing. Opening, softening, melting.
I like this mellow pace. Mellow start = mellow end? One can hope.
June is in full swing and the temps have hit the 100′s (though not quite in my higher-elevation suburb). I stay inside my nest, feathering it up, mopping and doing the SAME load of laundry everyday. It’s a joke now, between me and Jason:
ME: Guess which PJ’s they are going to wear tonight?…TA-DA!!!! <holding the SAME clean pair they’ve worn five nights in a row>
Did you know I plan on attending births shortly after my baby is born? They all say I’m crazy and maybe I am.
But they are all homebirths. And either dear friends or repeat clients. I plan on wrapping baby in the Moby and lounging on sofa’s or finding a cozy spot on the floor during the births. I can alternate between nursing my little one and providing counter pressure on strong, yet weary, sacrums. I can scourge fridges for yummy foods and stare into the eyes of my New Love as I prepare to hold the space for the entry of another.
We’ll see how it all goes.
- First up is a beautiful first-time mama with a winding journey through fertility. She is due a little over a week after me (!). She hired me almost two year ago before she was even pregnant and I am over the moon that she chose me to love her up during this birth.
- Second up – in July – is a repeat client whose first home birth was powerful and intense. She is in a new home this time and I happily await the arrival of her second daughter.
- Somewhere next, or perhaps sandwiched in between, is my sweet and magical Chiropractor. Though she’s been on bed rest a few weeks due to a very anxious cervix, she is preparing lovingly for the arrival of her first baby. I’ve missed the healing touch of her hands but know she is hibernating in her home until 36 weeks (at which time we all think she’ll just stand up and dance her baby out!).
- September will bring another tender-hearted repeat client whose daughter came into the world in the warm, quiet waters of a birth tub. This time, it’s a boy.
- Later in September I will support a mama in an unassisted birth of her third child. Her husband is currently deployed and will not be present at the birth of his first daughter. I am honored to bear witness to such a bittersweet journey.
My niece Rebecca was born a few weeks ago and I can barely stand the thought of not meeting her until Christmas. Jason and I have entertained the idea of throwing caution and cash to the wind and making the trip out to the Midwest this summer. Who knows if that will actually manifest but it’s nice to dream.
My brother, a Father! I can hardly wrap my mind around it. He is so in love with his Becca Jo, I hear. I can tell from the phone calls he’s made to me (his voice a little softer) and the photos he’s shared (like all of us capture, of every one of her sweet faces). My heart just dances at the thought of him and Abby parenting this tiny being. A rush of borderless love like no other.
On the heels of so much birth, my sister and her husband recently experienced an early pregnancy loss of their own. I hold their space as they navigate through mourning and the grief of Life and Hope. This baby was created and gestated with an abundance of pure love and giddiness. Kate and Jeff are seriously FUN people, devouring the randomness and adventure of life with fervor and insanely authentic laughter.
As her voice cracked and then crumbled into tears on the phone, my own tears fell.
The words of so many babylost mamas flooded into my mind. I tried my best to heed them and in doing so, hopefully honored those mamas and the intense emotions of my own baby sister.
Take your time.
Be gentle to yourself.
Honor the space you are in.
It will always be tender.
I am here.
And so I hang tight, in my own way of grieving, to the way that Loss unfolds along it’s own path. And in doing so, creates a portal, a walkway, a perhaps tangled but noticeable passageway for Renewal. Tread lightly or tromp heavily, I think. Either way, your “heartsteps” remain, sunken deep into the earth. A reminder. A memento.
A way for you to be found again.
Three years ago, about week before Indigo was to arrive healthy in my arms, another Kate said goodbye to her Bodhisattva Liam. I can recall my heaving chest that day as I cradled my yet-to-be-met daughter in the safety of my womb. For Christmas that year, I had a tree planted in his name deep in the Canadian forest. I imagine it sprouting towards the moonlight – yes, a moonlight tree – and wafting of pine and chocolate. He is that special.
When Indigo was about a month old, another star lit the night sky too early. Ferdinand and his family experienced birth and death in one swirling moment. On this day, I crawled into bed with my newborn, snuggled next to my husband, and cried. Last year, I stood humbly as Ferdinand’s youngest sister Lyra emerged breathing and sweet into her mama’s hands.
This year, through the gift (torture?) of Facebook, I have been in a circle of so many pregnant mamas due around the time I am. I stalked and waited and watched and it all began a few weeks ago. A home birth of a 7th time mama. A home birth of a 4th time mama. A fast hospital birth of a 3rd time mama. Last night, the home birth of a 3rd time mama.
Oh shit, I’m up next!?
I had my classic “Oh Shit” moment last week. I sat on the edge of the bed, silent, and then turned to Jason.
“I have to get this baby OUT soon” <emphases on OUT, not soon>
“Oh Leigh, don’t worry. You do so good, it will be perfect”.
I am reminded of these experiences as this baby prepares to meet us. It feels healthy and beautiful to hold them close. I am aware of the thin veil between life and death.
I go into this birth without fear. I go into this birth with bliss, knowing the outcomes are beyond my control. I surrender, controlling only the blessed ability to surround myself with deep friendships, holders-of-birthspace, and the steady eyes and arms of my husband. I speak and connect with this baby and trust that baby will choose his or her own path. It’s ALL I can do.
I live, for now, in this precise moment where I can hear my husband talking Kaia through play-doh creations and my dog rolls on the carpet beside me, grunting and licking his paws. Outside, a kid passes by on his bike and my belly protrudes toward the desk, enrobed in my long nightgown at 11 am. The aftertaste of chocolate chips lingers on my tongue. In the background, the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy plays. I lean back and stretch my spine and in one deep exhale, I stretch even further.
It pops and creaks and cracks.
It supports the baby I’ve carried for what alternately seems like months and then just weeks.
Life. Life. Life.
In some form and manner and setting and time and place I will welcome it.
Isn’t that interesting?