The Afterglow


It’s been three weeks since Kaia’s birth. The magnitude of the experience remains. For the first week after her birth, I couldn’t talk about it without crying. It wasn’t because I was sad, but because it was so full of emotions, many of which I was still struggling to come to terms with. I have made peace with much of her birth –the hospital transport, the C-section, the choices we had to make. Some of the resentment remains, but it lessens as each day passes. I recognize that Kaia is helping Jason and I learn – as she did from day one in my belly. We have become stronger as a result, and yet are still firm on our stance that homebirth is safe, natural, and perfect. In fact, we are already anticipating and talking about our next child, which we plan on having at home (not for a few years!). Jason and I have always forged a different path in life and I don’t regret a moment of it. This will continue, as having a home birth after Caesarean (HBAC) is a challenging task and requires we remain resilient in our values and beliefs. Some may think that our experience surely has scared us into wanting another hospital birth. On the contrary, it has strengthened our beliefs about birth, about marriage, about women, men, babies, our bodies, medicine…
After experiencing the magic and mystery of a majority of her birth at home, I cannot imagine why every woman wouldn’t want it. It boggles me to think that women wouldn’t want to be empowered by one of the most important moments of their lives. In those hours we labored at home, I marveled at my own ability to naturally and wholly birth my child with not an ounce of fear or pain. Granted, I didn’t get to complete the experience, and believe me, I wish I could have. However, I don’t think this should lessen the significance of event. I know without a doubt that I could have, and would have, fully birthed Kaia safely in my home. I desperately wish that I could have felt the power of allowing my body to push her into our world, our home. I wish that I could have felt her lovely soft head emerge from my body, wish that Jason could have cut the cord, wish that we could have held her naked little body to our chests in the birthing tub amidst the candlelight and soft music. I wish that my friends and family could have witnessed the miracle of life, and the power of birth, in our own home. Yet…we were instead allowed to undergo a series of life lessons that I will forever share and be able to relate to others. And, as I told Jason, Kaia will be there for the homebirths of our next children…and, in this way, will be able to share her wisdom and encounter a re-birth or sorts along with us. Kaia is also stronger for this – she will forever be a fighter and I know there are great things in her future. Kaia is a peaceful baby and knows how to look into my soul and melt my heart. We have been trying to get her used to a routine, and she has her tough days. These are the days that she cries and whimpers for an hour or so when we try to put her down for her nap. She seems to have a sensitive tummy, and spits up quite often after eating. However, our pediatrician has assured us this is quite normal, so we try our best to settle her down enough to sleep. The great news is that Kaia continues to be an amazing sleeper at night and we always get at least 8 hours of sleep. She snoozes for 3-4 hours on end and wakes me up to feed her. I put her back down and she sleeps another 3-4 hours. She loves to sit up and look around, and has been intent on holding up her own head since she was born! We are both entertained when she smiles and makes funny faces as she drifts off into dreamland. I always imagine that those smiles really are for me and can’t wait until she intentionally smiles. I sing her songs and read her books, both of while usually calm her down right away. In fact, I used to sing “It’s a Small World” while she was in my belly. IN our hospital room, when she was just barely hours old, I sang this. To my amazement, she turned my way immediately and listened…she absolutely recognized the song, and continues to this day. Jason has the magic touch when it comes to burping her and he always manages to get some big ones out of her. She loves to take baths, and I love seeing her little wet, slippery body! Yesterday morning, (July 24, 2005), she awoke with baby acne. Poor thing – taking after her parents! She has bright, dark blue eyes that love to look out the windows and stare at our black and white Beatles poster. She sucks her hand and fingers, and we are struggling with how to balance using a Pacifier at appropriate times. She also has really enjoyed her stroller rides throughout the Taliesin campus (which doubles as a bassinet that she takes naps in). JP immediately took to her and is her protector. He knows to kiss her very gently, and his ears perk up in worry when she cries. He is a fabulous “big brother” – and she doesn’t even flinch when he barks. I think I’ve memorized every inch of her tiny cute body – her button nose, the way her hair sticks up on top, her “happy toes”, the smell of her skin, the way her soft head feels in my hand as I nurse her…
Are we exhausted? Are we adjusting to parenthood? Yes to both. Being exhausted is so worth it, though. Days seem to fly by now that we are on a schedule. I can’t believe she’ll be a month old in just a week. It scares me that time really can zoom by this quickly! My maternity leave will be over in mid-October and I don’t know how I’ll cope with going back to work and leaving Kaia and Jason. But, alas, she’ll be in the most caring hands ever with her Daddy. Being with Jason all day and night has been an added bonus and I feel like I’m totally spoiled. We love going out to eat or shop together as a family of three. He amazes me…he is a naturally wonderful Daddy. When I see Kaia fall asleep on his shoulder or chest, my heart smiles. I’m not sure either of us ever expected to be able to love something like we love Kaia – she has given us a greater sense of purpose and I cannot wait to grow and learn with her.

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