Birth Workshop

Leave a comment

Pregnancy is so humbling.  I feel so big and so small at the same time.  Like the me is so little in here and the shell of me is so big that I get lost some days.  Lack of sleep doesn’t help either.  Nor loss of mobility and agility.  But I don’t want to complain.  After the last two weekends it has never been more apparent to me how supported and loved I am and how natural and normal giving birth can be.

Timothy and I spent our weekend with 14 other couples and the enigmatic Ana Paula Markell learning everything we could about the potentials and the pitfalls of birth.  It was truly a bonding experience for your Papa and I that we will never forget. I have never felt so close to him and so prepared for such an awesome experience.  It was very emotional.  I loved hanging out with so many other preggers, too.  Everyone’s symptoms and bodies are so different.  It’s really cool.

I decided to make a list of my pregnancy challenges for posterity’s sake as I know I will forget once I see your beautiful little face.

In chronological order:

1. Morning sickness all day but rarely throwing up.
2. Pregnancy Acne.
3. One obnoxious little hemmie that won’t go away no matter what I do.
4. Varicose veins in my right leg only- I can’t wear compression hose, I just can’t.
5. Terrible heartburn and IBS- this DID make me throw up, a lot.
6. Loss of ankles.  Cankles.
7. Hands too swollen for wedding ring.
8. Mid back pain.  Huge knots.
9. Tingling, painful hands that go numb at night no matter what I do or how I lay.
10. Sleep anxiety- something about breathing?
11. Fatigue and general confusion.

Other than that- I have been super lucky, I think.  I have not gained too much weight, I don’t have diabetes, my legs don’t cramp, I’m not a crazy person emotionally, and I feel pretty damn good most days.

My relative emotional sanity is probably what I appreciate the most.  For some reasons, my hormones have not wreaked havoc in that arena.  At least not yet.  I should probably give them time.  I’m not a grumpy, moody, depressed person and I never have been. Hopefully, I’ll keep the same positive outlook when you are two weeks old and I haven’t slept.  We’ll see. Big dreams I have. Big ones.

We had a spurt of nesting though- here is your sweet little bassinet, Pony, this is where you will be sleeping at first.  Right next to Papa and I, so you can hear us breathe and we can hear you.  Next will be your room- but no photos of that until it’s finished.

I wanted to show you the beautiful beaded necklaces that Katie made for us from the shower.  Each bead has a special purpose and power.  This is the necklace for me:

Isn’t it amazing?  It’s like our birth rosary.  The two bigger stones to the right will be used differently.  We are going to hang a crystal from the bottom and put it in your bedroom window, for protection.
This is the necklace for you:
Each bead is so precious and has its own special story.  I can’t wait to tell you them someday.  The pearl encased on the bottom was given to you by your Godmother, Vanessa because pearls are the only stone made out of another living things body.  I thought that was kind of cool.
I love the power of women. There was something so tribal about the baby shower. It was our own little village with women of all ages and stages of life sharing their experience, strength, and hope.  Priceless.
But then what was so unexpected, was to have a very similar tribal experience at the workshop, where your Papa and I could share with other couples our hopes and fears.  Another kind of village.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. We have two now.
And lastly, as I was in the bath tonight I was overcome, once again, with a wave of gratitude towards you, Pony dear, for picking me to be your Mother.  I have never felt so honored in all of my life. I swear to you that I take this wonderful and challenging job you’ve given me with every ounce of my being and promise to be the best I can be for you.  That doesn’t mean that I will solve all your problems, or pick you up every time you fall because I believe you need those experiences to grow.  But I will be the best listener you have ever met and I just might have a word of wisdom here or there.
Speaking of wisdom, there is one gift it kills me that I will never be able to give you. It’s a gift I treasure these days above all else.  The gift of Hindsight.
It has never been so clear to me how necessary every single moment of my life has been- because each break-up and break-down brought me closer to you, to your Dad, and to this life I live today.  If I knew what was waiting for me on the other side, I would have celebrated all those painful rejections and bitter disappointments; jumped up and down at every no, appreciated the seemingly random cruel twists and turns that baffled me at times.  If I had only had the faith of hindsight, I would have rejoiced repeatedly and never mourned a loss.  I wish that for you.  Although I know it is impossible and I needed to mourn to grow at times, I promise to remind you that there is a divine plan, that you need to trust, and that it will all be fine.  I used to joke that one should never pray for patience because then you’ll have to wait forever.  But patience is golden.  Faith is precious.  And you are my heart.
I love you, I love your Dad, and I love our little family of 3.

The Baby Shower

Leave a comment

Each time I try to write this post I get stuck, I second guess myself, I erase and start over. I think in part because I feel that words are inadequate to describe accurately what an amazing day this was and I want to do it justice, somehow, even with my limited vocabulary.  I am trying too hard, is the problem (a recurring one I see), and I need to just relax, and to write, from the heart, because that is what the day was for me- pure heart.

It began with the weather.  A primarily sunny day that couldn’t make up its mind and kept flip-flopping through showers and wind.  It was dramatic and beautiful outside, crisp and clear.  A true blessing we weren’t having the party outside on my friend’s patio but inside, tucked away, in a cozy little cottage.  Once again another lesson that things that seem like setbacks can turn into gifts in hindsight.  Reminding me to bend like the reed, not be so rigid I break.  I have that tendency, that streak of supreme stubbornness, I’ve got an idea, a plan, and God forbid anybody or anything try to change it.  Relax, should be my next tattoo, but everyone has said in unison No More Words.  A reed in the river flows with the current,  doesn’t fight mother nature, and always wins.

The cottage was perfect, the service was not. For high tea, one would accurately assume tea would be served, and hopefully water as well.  This was not the case.  The single solitary waitress tending to 30 thirsty women was no match.  She was either poorly equipped or poorly trained as she did not do a stellar job.  I fixated on this for the first hour while everyone arrived, lamenting to my besties “How could this be?”  over and over again.  However, as soon as I decided to make my little speech and begin the bead ceremony I completely forgot about the lack of tea, not enough mini quiches, nor the goat cheese and watercress finger sandwiches that never arrived, because as I stood up and took a deep breath to begin, that breath was taken away from me.  Never before in my life had I seen such a bevy of pure feminine awesomeness.  And they were all looking at me, with such love and light, I lost my words.  I flushed a deep crimson and started to sweat, pulled myself together, and tried to begin.  There was so much that I wanted to say to all these women, so much gratitude for their presence and strength in my life. Each one of them meant something so special to me, it would have taken hours to express, instead I told them how I’d written it all down for them in a private little note attached to a candle outside, and if they would be so kind as to light that candle when I went into labor, for Pony and for me. I told them the story of meeting Timothy and being suspicious at first, of his kindness and generosity.  But that there had been this very firm and loving voice telling me to keep showing up and to give him a chance, even though he was a species of man I’d never seen before.  And that I had always thought that voice was God or Higher Power or whatever you want to call It and it wasn’t until I was telling this story to a dear intuitive friend who finally pointed out to me, “No, it wasn’t God, it was your daughter telling you that.  She chose you and Tim.  She brought you two together.” that it dawned on me, the truth of what she meant.  It resonated profoundly deep down there.  How can I ever thank this child enough for bringing me not only the love of my life but a life I never dared to dream was possible for me?  I don’t know.  But I do know that I can spend the rest of my life trying, by being the best possible Mom I can be.  I started crying at this point and had to switch gears.  I am not used to such vulnerability.  (That’s you I’m talking about Pony, you are the brilliant child inside of me)

We began with a warm-up game.  I said a word and everyone went around the room saying the first word that came to mind.  The first round was baby.  The funniest moment was when Michelle said Hell and we all laughed awkwardly.  The second round was Mom.  Love was a popular word for that.  Then we dove into the bead/prayer ceremony.

Now for the good part-  everyone went around the room and told the group why they picked their beads and read their prayer out loud. I should have guessed, by the caliber of women present, that this would be an incredibly moving and powerful experience, but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of wisdom, strength, and beauty that poured out of each one. Every bead was so unique, each story so profound, the prayers and poems so sincerely chosen, and read with such emotion.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.  I’d never felt so much love and acceptance in one room before.  This is a gift women can only give each other, I think.  Sisterhood is such a precious bond.

Here is a sample of some of the prayers and poems- but don’t worry Pony, we’ve got a book being made just for us that will have each and every one of them in there plus pictures of the women reading theirs.

“My mantra for baby and mom-  breathe in strength, breathe out fear”
“All changes- even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves, we must die to one life before we can enter into another”
“The ancient Germans believed that there was something holy in women, and accordingly consulted them as oracles”
“Every blade of grass has its angel bending over it; whispering “grow, grow.”
“For you Pony, a wish- Roots to keep her grounded and wings so that she can reach the sky”  (from your Godmother Vanessa- this one killed us.  We both openly wept together, something we have not ever done in over 15 years of friendship, and certainly not in public)
“To the world, you are one person, to one person you are the world”
“Whatever you can see, you can be…whatever you strive for, there’s always an open door.”
“Smile, breathe and go slowly”  This one really should be my next tattoo.

The longer ones I haven’t included, just because this post would never then end.  But you get the idea.  There were some powerful women in that room.  I was blessed to be the recipient of all their wisdom.

We ended the day by opening presents.

This one, in particular, I think you are going to appreciate:

You are a powerful little girl Pony, and you have already given me so much, but this day celebrating you was honestly one of the most special days of my life.  I have never felt so supported and loved by my sisters, I’ve never allowed myself to.  You are the greatest teacher I have ever known.  I am a better woman because of you.

Big mad love,