Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bath Day

On Saturdays I give the children their good bath.  
The one where I clean out their ears.
Afterward I hold each pink, soft little hand and trim their nails.  
I brush their hair to lie smoothly on their heads
(it will be every which way when they wake up).
Their faces are sparkly with splash induced smiles.
Their eyes are happy.
I put my arms around their little bodies.
Bodies that are becoming lanky, gangley arms and legs trying to fold up onto my lap.
Little E's still do.
Big E's spread out to dangle all around me.  
During the week I have to gather up the scraps of energy left at the end of the day, often I choose stories instead of baths when there's not enough for both.
All that hurrying and noise at the end of the day.
Saturday graces us with time.
When the week is over I look forward to working the lather through their hair.
Their  peaceful upturned faces as I slowly pour water over their backs. 
All week I make them do everything they can do for themselves.
They do lots of jobs for the family.
They do lots to help me.
This time I do for them.
It is a gift.
It feels like love.
When they are all tucked in 
with as many hugs as they want, as much time as they need,
After soft cheeks and kisses have been pressed into palms, to keep there till morning,
I feel so happy. 
So lucky that I have them.
That they are mine to wash and trim and brush.
To care for someone in such a way, meet their most basic needs
I feel is an honor.
A trust.
I will keep it.
And know that it is good. 



Friday, November 30, 2012

My Labour. Baby O's Birth.

A Homebirth Story.

stonemanphotography

It's the morning.
Nine days after my due date.
and today's the day.
Laura breaks my water around eight thirty and tells me to page when my contractions get strong.
I stand in the tub for a while because every time I take a step more water gushes out defying all the hospital grade absorbent supplies.
Once that has slowed down I hang out in my room, I stay standing, using gravity to my advantage.
It seems like a long time.
I am almost bored but there is too much anticipation.
Gradually the contractions begin to come.
I try kneeling, leaning on my special chair, the chair that is not a glider, the one I will rock my baby in.
I rest my head on my arms and lean on the baby's dresser, the place where I will change and dress his little body, all his tiny clothes folded and waiting below.
I sway a little and begin to breath long slow breaths.
I realize how much I am concentrating and tell C it's time to take the boys away. 
I begin timing contractions.
They are all two or three minutes apart but not very strong yet.
I am glad the boys are not going very far.
By the time he gets back it's obvious that things are moving along.
Soon I call Laura.
By eleven she is here and I am really in labour.
Time goes slowly by.
Laura says the baby's head is still high, and turned like he's trying to look out,
not in the right position
She suggests I go out side where there is space, to have mental space as much as to move around I think.
I take the nudge and go out.
We walk to the green space at the end of our row and do some little lunges.
I feel ridiculous doing exercises at normal times, this seems so odd, laughable.
But I like that I am doing things.
A midwife is wonderful for that, for enabling you to be an active participant in your labour.
We laugh a little together and try not to feel too conspicuous.
We walk down the lane behind our house,  between the fences, around the trunks of the spruce trees.
Bright spring grass glows greenly from the ground.
The air smells wonderful.
We walk up and down, through the contractions, breathing the delicious air.
As they grow stronger I pause and breath.
I reach out and touch a tree as we pass, it's rough cracked and layered bark strengthens me.
I hold onto C with every wave.
He breathes through them with me.
Now I need him to breath me through them.
I tell him 'Breath!' when it is coming, he holds me and keeps me
present in my breath so I do not get lost in pain.
I remember to visualize the muscles widening, opening.
I repeat good words in my head and think of my baby that is coming to me.
I am strong and ready each time to accept the wave let it wash over me,
 as a good thing, and not clench in fear and pain.
They are really strong waves.
A workman gets out of a van and comes down the lane past us, says a cheerful hello.
I barely make an attempt to answer.
On his way back, still so friendly he comments "You're getting close now!"
It is so funny to me, in a separate distant part of my head.
He has no idea how close!
I cling to C as another wave hits me, he holds me up completely until it passes.
I am feeling a little resentful.
The contractions are soo very strong.
 I feel like I can't do this much longer.
I know this should be the magic moment, the signal that is is almost over and I am nearing the end, this is what my Mother taught me.
It was true with both of the boys. 
But I have only been in active labour for about three hours, it is too soon to feel this way I think.
I can't handle this for much longer.
Laura calls us in.
I make it in the house.
Have to stop a couple of times in the entry way and close my eyes. 
It is like feeling the worst kind of sick.
I quickly make it up the stairs and lay down so she can check me.
Eight centimeters is encouraging to hear.
But also I don't really care.
She goes down to finish filling the pool and suggests I lie on my other side to take care of those last two centimeters.
I get myself up and walk to the other side of the bed.
Before I am even all the way around
He Is Coming Now!
I am hollering.
There is so much pressure.
It is so strong and so sudden.
I am wailing and I can't help it.
For a moment I am lost, gone on a heaving sea in some other world.
Laura's voice calls me back.
  She says my name, tells me the fear in my voice does not help, that I need to change it.
She helps me regain control.
I swallow that fearful wail and it becomes power,
 I press that strength down inside of me and use it to push the baby out. 
Everything is focused and calm.  
We are finally at the point everything else was all for.
I feel hyper aware of everything around me.
I worry about the photographer and feel sorry for the angle she is at.
A few more pushes and it is over!
He is here!
Gasping with relief and exhilaration I hold him tight to my chest.
 I feel his familiar body warm in my hands.
I know him.
His little movements feel just as they did inside of me.
I will hold him forever.

Later I remember when a friend told me how she walked through her entire labour.
It intrigued me, I had never heard of anything like that before.
I admired something about it, how different it was from the hectic, loud and silly childbirth depicted on television.
The possibility slipped quietly to the back of my mind.
 It stayed there for years and through two other labours.
It wasn't until a few days later that I realized I did it.
 I did it.
I walked through my labour, right till the very end.


I didn't really want to use the pool anyway,
I prefer not to get my hair wet.









Sunday, May 13, 2012

The best advice I ever heard:

When it gets too hard, 
When you feel like you can't do it any longer, 
Then you know it's almost over,

You've already made it.

Thanks Mom