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ONE YEAR

I look at the date on the calendar and I can’t believe it is here.  My daughter’s first birthday.  A whole year has gone by and yet it seems that just yesterday I was listening to the midwife say “it’s a girl”.  I have so many feelings when I think about the day she was born.  Her birth and subsequent life have been very healing for me as well as spiritual, laced with teaching moments that constantly make me a better person.  My Caroline Rose.

She really is the sweetest little girl.  She loves to kiss and hug her animals, baby dolls, and mommy and daddy.  She loves to play with her brother’s trains and cars.  She lays her head on my shoulder just for the heck of it.  She dances and smiles all day, even through the tears that do fall when something doesn’t go her way.  She has the scream of a warrior princess, you can hear it down the hall from our condo I am pretty sure.  I can see the fire in her eyes but it is offset by the soft heart that I know she holds in her tiny chest.

I haven’t shared her birth story with many people up to this point.  It is such a personal, wonderful experience and I feel that most of the details are better left unsaid.  I want to hold them in my heart and always remember that day.  But I will share the gist of it, the meat of the experience.

I remember the night before she was born having cramping and irregular contractions.  I was slightly peeved when I woke up because by the time I made breakfast for Vance, they seemed to have gone away.  Something told me that this shouldn’t be ignored so I vowed to walk and try to get them going again.  I dropped Vance off at school and went to Target for a few last minute baby items.  My water broke in Target but it wasn’t the gush you think of.  I literally thought I had peed my pants…I was kind of annoyed because not only was I huge and uncomfortable, but I had just wet myself in a store.

After a little while I figured out what it was.  I took a long walk along the lakefront, feeling contractions but not stopping.  Just breathing and watching the waves roll in was therapeutic.  I remember thinking that the waves of my contractions were connected somehow to the waves I was watching on Lake Michigan.  I took a picture of the lake that day, which I still have and like to look at from time to time.

By the time I picked up Vance from school at 11:30 I knew I was in labor and needed to get home and call my husband and doula.  It was so hard to get Vance to leave the playground at school, he would not stop climbing the slide, and all the while I could feel my contractions and was getting a bit frustrated.  I lured him off the slide by telling him that I had something in the car for him.  A total lie, because the only thing I had was a pair of children’s craft scissors I had bought for him at Target so he could do some art projects at home.  So I was in labor driving home while my child played with scissors in the back seat.  Parent of the year.  But I was in a hurry for a good reason.

I called my mom and JW but neither seemed to think they needed to hurry whatsoever.  I guess even I didn’t think things would go very fast.  I got home, followed a little while later by JW.  I ate some soup and cleaned and got things ready to go while Vance and JW sat at the table making funny videos on his iPhone.  Over the next 2 or 3 hours things started to get going quite quickly and I called my doula.  My mom wasn’t going to make it in time so I called a good friend to come over and watch Vance (lifesaver).  I remember the doula arriving at 5:00 and we left for the hospital at 5:15.

Once at the hospital, it went very fast.  I had asked for no interventions so the only thing they made me do was put a monitor around my belly for a few minutes to check the baby’s heartbeat and the contractions.  I used the birth ball in the room and counter pressure to help with the pain.  Transition was a BITCH.  This is where every woman asks for drugs, no matter how natural minded you are.  I thought I was dying but I held it together and stayed very calm, reminding myself of what my body was doing.  I remember standing at the edge of the hospital bed, just 45 minutes after arriving in the hospital, and telling everyone I needed to push.  They scurried to get things ready, I pushed twice, and we had a baby girl!

I couldn’t believe she was a girl.  I kept saying that they were kidding.  The midwife passed her to me through my legs and I sat down on the bed with her.  She was so squishy, chubby, and soft.  Her nose was definitely my nose, I could tell.  We sat in peace and bliss for over an hour, just marveling at the presence of each other.  She nursed and then Vance and my mom came.  Vance was so sweet, he wanted to touch her and see her umbilical cord.  Holding both of my babies for the first time was so joyous.  I felt complete, and I still do to this day when both of them are with me.

Her birth was everything I wanted, everything I needed.  I felt powerful and womanly, seeing this being that my body incubated for over 9 months come Earthside.  She was such an easy baby, sweet from the very beginning.  She continues to teach us new things everyday.  Mommy and Daddy love you Caroline Rose, you are a bright light, a joy, and pure love!  Happy birthday baby girl!

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