Tuesday, November 06, 2007

On birth and busy-ness

There have not been alot of words making their way onto my blog lately. The reasons are both simple and complicated. The simple reason is that I'm still crazy busy these days. Most of the busy-ness is work-related, but there have been other things. Like facilitating another leadership workshop, making Halloween costumes, dealing with indoor soccer schedules, and then all those other things that show up unexpectedly. Throw in a little business travel, and I'm just about maxed out.

The complicated reasons aren't so easy to explain. Maybe one of these days I'll come on here and explain a little more about what's going on, but for now let's just say it's a bit of a personal spiritual journey, combined with the birthing of a new creative "baby".

This figurative birthing process has made me reminisce about my literal birthing experiences - the three that resulted in my beautiful daughters, and the one that resulted in my beautiful, though lifeless, son. The memory that's been with me today is that of my coming into motherhood experience.

Nikki had a really difficult entry into this world. I still find myself - nearly a dozen years later - getting a little emotional when I remember the intensity, pain, frustration, worry, seamingly endless agony, and yet ultimate joy of that experience (and a whole lot of emotions in between). It started out with me being induced because a fetal assessment showed (rather incorrectly) that she was a little on the small side and that my fluids were getting low (a week after she was due). Inducement led to hours of waiting for something to happen, followed by nearly 36 hours of labour (there's the "endless" part), three hours of heavy duty pushing, followed by an urgent call to the only obstetrician in the city who could do the necessary procedure to to deliver her without a c-section, lots of tearing and stitches, and then finding out that she had to be rushed away from me to be treated with antibiotics because there was a risk of infection.

When she was finally born, after all those hours of pushing, I had gone almost completely (though thankfully temporarily) blind. It turns out the agony of pushing for that long can mess up the muscles around your eyes so badly your vision gets messed up. They put my baby on my chest, but I had to rely on Marcel's description of her and the touch of my fingers to know anything about how she looked.

Not long afterwards, she was whisked away, and because it was late and we all needed rest, I was returned to my room and Marcel and my mom left the hospital.

The memory that has been clinging to me today has been not so much about the delivery but about what happened later that night. I awoke in the middle of the night and was suddenly filled with the most intense body-aching loneliness I had ever felt. My family had gone, and the baby that had moved in my womb for the last nine months was way down the hall behind nursery room glass. I'd given birth to her, gone through nearly unbearable pain to introduce her to the world, but I didn't even know what she looked like.

My eyesight had returned and I knew I HAD to see her. I knew it with the deepest longing imaginable. But I was in so much pain, I couldn't even figure out how to shuffle my body up in the bed in order to reach the call button to get the nurse.

But there is little that can get in the way of a mother who needs to see her child. I struggled for what seemed like an eternity, but I somehow managed to get my body up off the bed and down the hall. The nurses looked up in amazement as I passed them and entered the nursery. I'm sure there was a rather desparate look in my bloodshot eyes.

I found my baby. And I wept at her loveliness. She looked so tiny and vulnerable, hooked up to all kinds of wires and hoses, lying nearly naked in an incubator. Truly, she was not a beautiful baby - after what she went through to get into the world, it's hardly surprising - but she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

I reached out and touched her skin and knew that I had fallen completely and irreversibly in love.

I'm not sure why this is on my mind today, but I'm sure it has something to do with this creative birthing process. Some of it is painful, and it's possible that what comes of it may never "live", but at this point, I have to believe it will be beautiful.


Michele said...

i can't wait to hear more.

Kristin said...

Oh, I'm believing right along side you! This phrase really sticks out to me - "there is little that can get in the way of a mother who needs to see her child" - and I can't help but think it's a kind of blessing for your very self...like a little fortune cookie paper that you're shocked to discover was penned by your own hand. Many blessings on this new baby, and on the spiritual things that are moving in you, too.

Gina said...

I wish you the best of luck on your endeavors, my dear.

And what a touching story.

Amanda said...

How wonderful is this post?? Truly wonderful.

I remember having very similar feelings. (although, I was glad that 8 1/2 pound baby was out because I had kidney stones yet to deal with....)But I felt this story and want to thank you for sharing. A hundred years could pass, but no mother is going to forget the way she felt the very first time she saw her baby.

Also, good luck with your creative birthing. I'd say it's easier than childbirth, but I've not much experience with it.

Vicki said...

i love it when you lay it all out like this. somehow take raw emotions every woman has felt and put them into words that fit perfect!

By the way, you won a fridge magnet! Come claim your prize!

Karmyn R said...

What a wonderful sentiment!

Anvilcloud said...

I remember staring through the nursery window and falling in love with Thesha.

Hope said...

I find myself in a strange "antsy" phase of my life these days, searching for a new direction. I have many ideas that have been on the back burner, and I keep asking myself if not now, when.
I am sure that whatever you pursue will be exciting.

Liz said...

I could have written that same comment that Hope wrote. Good luck to you Heather!

And that feeling of loneliness is one that I remember well and had a hard time explaining to people. Nobody warns you about how hard it is to not feel that baby inside you any more.

Tiggerlane said...

Wow...what a moving post.

I remember giving birth (fairly easily, compared to your experience), at 3:20AM. I was allowed a brief look, and then I passed out from sheer exhaustion...

When I finally awoke at 7:00AM, I was overwhelmed with the urge TO SEE HER. I wanted her RIGHT THEN AND THERE. My husband had left to prepare our home, car, etc., and I was all alone in that hospital bed. I was strong enough to hit the call button, and insisted she be brought to me. I finally felt complete again, when they brought her.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Pamela said...

long past my bedtime, but worth staying up to read. and crying, too.

Linda said...

I too am looking forward to the result of your new birthing process.

And having had children, I understand that absolute, single focussed need to see your baby.