It seems I had to abandon this space momentarily as I have begun to discover my sea legs on the vast ocean of parenting and love. It has been a journey that is thrilling, exhilarating, worrisome, cautious, tearful, overwhelming, and so uniquely ours. We couldn't be happier to have Zoey Grace as our own and yet I must admit, holy crap, how do you wade through these waters without developing an ulcer simultaneously?
With much love and prayer, with much grace for yourself, and with a multitude of witnesses that have gone before and continue to cheer, "Your baby is going to thrive." Yes, that has certainly been the anthem of our beginning weeks with Zoey - throughout the days and the nights.
After Folk Fest, I fell asleep contentedly exhausted and excited from a weekend of music and fun. The following day, a Monday, held many chores and my 38 week midwife appointment. We went about our day as usual. I felt huge in Costco and huge as I scrubbed the bathtub that evening. I remember grinning at my Dad afterwards, "There. I have a clean bathroom. Now the baby can come."
The following 24 hours held many things - beginning with a warm trickle down my leg in the middle of the night. I awoke with a start and yelped, "Arrrrrden!" when the liquid increased as I stood up. A weary Arden reminded me that we were instructed in our appointments that when labor started we were to go about things as usual to that time of day. So, I laid down on my side next to a slumbering husband, breathed through contractions, and periodically timed them on my Iphone. By 5am, I was distracted and fully awake. I called my Mom to ask her to come over because this was the day.
Yes, the 12 hours of labor held many things and I am not one to disclose the nitty gritty of it all on the internet. I will say, that it is true what all the laboring women of the world tell you, there really is nothing that will prepare you for it. The emotion, the pain, the work, the mind games, the intensity, the overwhelming fear, and the excruciating joy when your child is placed on your chest.
I will share the tokens of the day that I quietly held close to my heart for days afterwards.
-At 6am, my Mom, Dad, husband, and myself sat in the kitchen of my home praying for grace and strength for the coming day. "The sunrise was beautiful on our drive over," my Mom smiled.
-Fervent cries and prayers were the heartbeat of the day. I can recall my Mom graciously and calmly praying for strength through each and every contraction while Arden calmly and gently reassured me, "You are so strong, you are so strong."
-Songs that I had chosen months before resonated over the hours - symphonic themes, worship songs proclaiming God's presence at the beginning and end of all things, and melodies from our wedding day.
-Our midwife was busy in the background, quiet and prayerful at all times, assertive and wise when things felt unbearable.
-When Zoey was born and placed onto my chest I remember asking, "What did we have?" We were instructed to look for ourselves and all the surprise in the world shot up into the sky like fireworks when I realized we had a little girl of our own.
-When our midwife Cathy tucked us into bed at home for the evening, she leaned in and kissed the top of my head, whispering in my ear again, "You were so brave."
We love you, our darling Zoey.