Mother and Father

G&C

We always said when we decided we were ready to start a family, we would never lose sight of the importance of nurturing our marriage and friendship.  That no matter how much energy we poured into our children that we would always come first.  I believe that in order to be good parents that we need to be the strong foundation.  The reality of new parenthood and our current life circumstance is that it’s hard to make our relationship a priority.  We’re tired, we get few hours alone together, his work is demanding, baby is demanding and there is no such thing as a day off.  But we continue to stay committed to that vision, even if it's a little difficult right now. 

 

We were fortunate that our labor and delivery experience was technically a good one, maybe you could even say it was successful, but it was not without plenty of worrisome moments.  Everything you read says to be prepared for marathon laboring; make sure you bring something to read, have plenty of snacks on hand for the husband, etc. But I labored so quickly that if we hadn’t gone to the hospital when we did, I may not have made it there in time.  Leading up to the birth, both my doctor and our doula Doris Ann believed that I would likely labor quickly, but there was really no way to anticipate just how fast it would all go or how dramatic it would ultimately be.  We arrived thinking we still had plenty of time, but that was not the case for me; ultimately laboring at home for 4 hours with a total of 5 in the end.  (Glen made an honest attempt at eating breakfast and drinking his coffee...a funny story for another time.)  Further adding to the drama, Kaia was positioned face up, there was no time for meds, and the threat of needing a c section if we couldn't make the natural birth happen... safe to say the delivery room situation was extremely chaotic and overwhelming.  It was intense and scary, the most traumatic experience we've shared to date.  Our emotional strength being tested along with my physical.  Glen and I leaned heavily on each other and had Doris Ann to help us through it.  Thankfully we pulled off a natural birth with no complications.  Such a relief and blessing.  It was life changing, to say the least.

 

Glen often says our childbirth experience made the risk of my mortality a reality to him.  That might sound strange, all our lives are precious and fragile.  But in his line of work, it’s usually his life at risk and between the two of us he can usually count on me to be the one who is “safe”.  This was the first time in all our years together where he felt intense fear for my life.  Watching me in pain, completely powerless and relying on prayer.  They say you fall in love with each other all over again through the birth of your first child.  This photo is that very experience between us captured by our doula shortly after Kaia was born, our emotions frozen in time.  We were both in a state of shock, trying to absorb it all.  We spoke few words, just locked eyes and embraced.  In this moment, we saw each other as mother and father for the very first time.  Kaia completes us, and is the beginning of our new adventure as parents, but it will always start with the two of us.

I Waited My Whole Life For you

may1

There really is no way to fully prepare for everything that comes with pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood.  You can read books, you can drive yourself crazy asking Dr. Google for the answers to the endless questions you will inevitably have (guilty), you can listen to all the scary, gory stories your friends and family will have about their own experiences… the wealth of information available is pretty amazing but ultimately the experience is completely your own.  Unique to you, your body and your baby.  Tell that to a hormonal pregnant chick who just. wants. answers. and needs. to. plan.

 

I was not into taking risks with my pregnancy, I wanted to take all precautions and bordered on OCD.  But when it came to planning the delivery room situation, I was relaxed and unconcerned.  I was a walking contradiction, worried about so many other things throughout the pregnancy yet I felt no fear when anticipating the birth itself.  I felt strangely at peace with the idea that my mind and body would be able to handle what was to come.  I decided I wanted to attempt to go without any medications, I liked the idea that my body be in it's natural state (plus, learning about the process of inserting the epidural needle made me more squeamish).  An unmedicated birth is not for the faint of heart and I ultimately just wanted what was safest for me and the baby, whatever that may end up being.  Living far from family support, we thought it be best to hire a doula and Doris Ann McMurray came highly recommended.  Years of experience and a fierce commitment to her work and her faith, I had complete confidence and trust in her ability to help me achieve my goal and be the extra layer of comfort both Glen and I would need in the delivery room.  With her assistance, I was able to determine my level of commitment to going unmedicated and I began to mentally and emotionally prepare though reading and meditation.  I wanted to accept things as they came and find peace in whatever may occur.  I felt ready.  As we neared the 9 month marker my doctor was convinced that I was the abnormal and rare first time mom that would likely give birth before the due date.  And so, with all the preparation and planning in place, we all waited anxiously for that day…

 

In the early morning hours of May 1st, 2016 at exactly 39 weeks, our baby decided she was ready to rush into the world.  Only minutes after arriving at the hospital it was clear things were moving quickly and there was no time for any medication… my wish granted in the most dramatic way.  It was time.  I was scared but for the sake of our baby's well being I needed to find a way to channel my fear and find peace and focus.  With Glen and our doula by my side holding my hands, I closed my eyes, promised myself everything would be okay and in the midst of chaos I managed to find my center.  A few minutes later at 8:26am, 45 minutes after arriving at the hospital and a total of 5 hours of labor, our little Kaia Naomi was born.  I will never forget the way my heart swelled the moment I touched her for the first time.  9 months of dreaming of her, praying for her, she was finally in my arms.  A moment I waited my whole life for.  Our little miracle.  There aren’t enough words to describe all the feelings.  A day imprinted in my heart forever.

 

**We will forever be grateful for our incredible doula Doris Ann.  She was our source of knowledge and support when we needed it and my “mama” while mine couldn’t be close.  Her ability to move me through the pain is an experience I hope to never forget should I be in the same situation again.  We were in a state of shock in the delivery room and she was our comfort, reassurance and brains.  Truly, she was an angel.

9 Month Companion

28wks

Motherhood was an experience I always knew I was destined for eventually.  Growing a family was something I longed for, but it wasn't a decision I took lightly.  I wanted to wait for the "right time", of course knowing there really isn't ever a good time, it just had to be right for us.  As soon as Kaia’s existence became known, she single-handedly changed my entire life and I was completely, utterly in love with her.  I was so excited about celebrating every moment of pregnancy and I intended to embrace all the changes, as uncomfortable and unpretty as it might be at times.  I knew this might be an ambitious goal but it was my vision and I was nervous but hopeful about what was in store. 

 

I discovered I was pregnant very early, so early it would be many more weeks before I would even feel any symptoms.  Things started off great, but an unfortunate initial visit with a new doctor left me feeling unraveled.  She had a terribly cold beside manner and unnecessarily caused me to worry about the success of my pregnancy.  I understood that the early months are uncertain but I still found her treatment confusing.  I was fragile and needed all the warmth and reassurance I could get but instead this woman left me and my vision shattered.  In an instant, instead of feeling joy and trust in my health, through much of the first trimester I felt emotionally paralyzed, scared of all the unknowns, of all the things I couldn’t see or control.  The task of being a lifeline for this helpless little human felt so daunting.  What if my body failed me?  What if I couldn’t do all the right things to keep the baby healthy?  Pregnancy was just the beginning, I knew that.  Life with a child would continue to change in ways so far beyond what I could anticipate.  But I struggled to shake the fears. 

 

Hearing her strong heartbeat for the first time was music to my ears.  It was the first real comfort and reassurance that our baby was okay and something for me to hang onto.  I moved onto a different, wonderful doctor who ultimately provided me with the care and comfort I needed to more confidently move forward but throughout the entire pregnancy, the fears and insecurities continued to linger and at times without warning, would rear their ugly head causing my anxiety to kick in.  I loved being pregnant and I was overjoyed at the thought that I was carrying a life we created, I wanted so badly to let go and have faith everything would be okay.  The thought that Kaia may be able to feel my discomfort from inside brought feelings of guilt, I didn’t want her to suffer from my inability to cope.  So I started to spend each day committed to finding peace and healing from the inside out, working on freeing my mind.  I surrounded myself with all the things I needed to comfort my heart; exercise, meditation, essential oils, crystals, literature, hypnotherapy.  It was an opportunity to nurture my heart and take the time to think about the kind of woman and mother I wanted to be.  The truth is, I was very fortunate to have a really good pregnancy.  I was healthy from beginning to end and faced no real complications.  I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl who proved to be as strong and feisty on the outside as she was in the womb.

 

Fears and challenges aside, I am still in awe of the entire pregnancy experience.  Hearing her heart beat for the first time, feeling her hiccups as I woke each day and the flutter of her kicks every night as I driffted off to sleep, the sight of my body changing and growing to accommodate her growing body, the comfort of knowing she was protected by my warmth and snuggled up close to my heart.  She was my constant companion for 9 months and I dreamed of the day I would hold her for the first time.  It’s the scariest, most incredible blessing and I would do it all over again. 

7.28.12

 
esvyphoto

This morning is a new day, with the sun rising to warm our earth just like any other.  The 28th day of any month would ordinarily just come and go.  And most months, I move onto the 29th without much thought.  But this particular 28th day I pause.  My heart radiates a bit brighter; its beat a little deeper.  My mind wanders to the memory of why this day is significantly different than the usual.   My heart weighs heavier today.  Exactly 3 years ago, on the gorgeous summer morning of July 28th, I married my life partner.

As time has passed, I have increasingly moved towards discretion when sharing about the day to day happenings of our marriage.  It is not a reflection of dissatisfaction, lack of emotions to express, or even lack of desire to share with extended friends and family.  In truth, our life together is ever changing, and our reality is complicated at times, in ways we find ourselves struggling to explain.  Preservation of our emotions has become more and more important in order to take care of our hearts.  I have struggled with fully sharing my heart, at times I simply feel at a loss for how.  And even now I feel myself hesitating to share so freely.  But because of our circumstance, in honor of this special day, I feel moved to open myself up as a heartfelt invitation to share with us.

Due to his work obligations, we have had to spend more days than I can count apart.  And this year, my birthday and our anniversary unfortunately was no exception.  He won’t be able to come home to partake in celebratory festivities tonight, we will be unable to take photos to commemorate the day… we won’t even be able hear each other’s voices on the phone—a reality that is so difficult for a lot of people to comprehend.  Over the course of 10+ years, this isn’t the first important day we have been forced to spend apart and it unfortunately won’t be the last.  Sure, it’s just another day.  We can celebrate another day.  And I am not a victim, I fully aware I chose this crazy life we are living.  But I am human, and with all the emotions that come along with the privilege of being warm a warm-blooded, emotional being, I initially took the news of his impending absence particularly hard and I did not want to see it as ‘just a day’.  And with the realization that I may be spending this day alone, another day without him with many more to come I feared the future… intense sorrow washed over me, a deep sadness I still cannot find words for.  My poor love watched helplessly as I dove into a deep, dark place in my heart.  The tears were hot and unending and I was angry at myself for not feeling stronger.  I felt a sense of shame and embarrassment, how would I explain this to the people in our lives that haven’t had to endure this type of separation over and over again and will likely never need to?  I wasn’t sure if I could find it within myself to go through the motions of approaching this day and feel okay.  I wanted all feeling to go away.  I wanted July to simply not exist.

19 years ago we first met and from that point forward, our lives were set in motion.  Soulmates destined to live out life purpose together.  And 3 years ago we fully unified our love.   I left everything I knew to begin our life adventure, strong in mind and body and hopeful for the future ahead.  There was never a promise that our life would be easy, and we have made many decisions which has led us to so many challenging days.  Our faith is tested on a daily basis, our ebb and flow is unpredictable; at times tumultuous and others, a calm and steady flow.  It can be so very lonely and confusing.  But we made a commitment to each other that for all the reasons we cannot fully understand and the blessings we simply cannot see, this is our purpose and the sacrifice will be worth it.   My heart hurts every single of the many moments we have had to spend apart.  But on my hardest days, it’s the bond we share that keeps me going; the constant, intense, loving bond which has continued to grow and evolve, regardless of the ups and downs we have endured.  My heart swells with passion for the man I am lucky to call my life partner, my husband.  We have fought so hard to be where we are today and keep fighting to see another day through.  I cannot let this day pass as just another simply because of the circumstance.  It was a day we spent so many nights praying he would make it home for.  A day I will never take for granted because so much was endured and sacrificed for the formality of the event to even take place at all.  For all the days, weeks, months we will spend together and apart in our lifetime on this earth, this day will forever be ours.

Today… I am persevering.  We made the time we had together prior to his departure so wonderful and we promised to continue as soon as we are able.  With each day that passed approaching separation, a new sense of faith and strength was found through the sadness.  The dark clouds in my heart slowly but surely parted and new light was allowed in.  Today, I am seizing the day.  I have no idea how I will spend it but whatever I may choose to do, as simple as it may be, I will make it beautiful.  For him.  For me.  For us.  I know he isn’t able to see this declaration, but I believe in putting my heart, soul and unending devotion out into the Universe so that it can reach him and touch his heart, wherever he is, somehow… be it a soothing, cool breeze on this sweltering day, a bright full moon and twinkling stars, a peaceful and sound night sleep... however it touches him, I hope he feels my presence and knows he is deeply loved.

To my other human, Happy Anniversary.  I am so completely, utterly in love with you and I always will be, today and every day of our lives + beyond.

 

Photo by Esvy Photo