First, there is the anticipation. The day I went into labor with Emmeline I was fighting her off. I had so much I wanted to get done before she entered our lives, I had so much of an agenda. I had a great blessing from Jeff that evening all about labor and motherhood and how it is such a beautiful act of submission.....so (as soon as I was done with all my photo edits) I decided to submit and sure enough, there came those labor pains. That baby was ready to come.
Then there is the actual birth. This baby entered the world in what I believe to be a perfect way. We got to the Cambridge Birth center with time to enjoy the serenity and focus that place gives me during all those crazy contractions. I had a perfect team: two great midwives and one midwife in training, my most amazing doula Lorenza(who was at my two other births) and Jeff.
Then came the part I didn't love as much. A super intense 10 minutes of trying to "breath my baby out" instead of push her out (to avoid tearing). All I can say is that was the most intense 10 min of my life and i don't want to do it again anytime soon.
And then they place that little wet blue baby on your belly and everyone and everything melts away. There is absolutely nothing in the world like holding a baby skin to skin that has just entered the world. Emmeline didn't cry too much, just looked around, took it all in. Wordsworth said it best:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
It felt heavenly to sit there with that new little soul on my chest. To look into her deep eyes taking in the world. They didn't take her from me or Jeff for hours, not to weigh her, not to put goop in her eyes or poke or prod her. They just let us enjoy that "heaven" lying about her.
Oh, and then there was the surprise. Man were we ever surprised. They asked Jeff to announce what it was....a girl? Really? We were all so convinced it would be a boy. I think I mainly convinced myself of that because I so badly wanted a sister for Hazel and didn't want to be disappointed. So, there I was, so utterly happy with a little girl....but totally shocked.
After hanging out with Emmeline, checking her out, taking a bunch of pictures and recapping the birth with our awesome team they tucked us all in and we slept for a good 3 hours. I woke up every once in a while to watch little Emmeline between Jeff and I. Breathing peacefully with her little hands up by her face. It is amazing how instantly that mother love kicks in.
And finally, there is the utter magic of sharing this new little baby with older siblings. I was excited about this part, but the magic of it still totally amazed me (and continues to amaze me). These kids know this little soul and love her and it is sweet to witness.
Jeff went to pick them up in the morning. He said that Charlie was so excited that he wanted to rush out the door the minute he saw Jeff. Jeff didn't tell them the babies gender so they rushed in to the room and saw her all bundled up. After inspecting her for a second and guessing a little they decided that they'd have to take the diaper off to really tell....so we unwrapped her and did a diaper check. Hazel declared "it's a girl!" and charlie declared "she has a bagina!" Both seemed as pleased as punch to have a baby sister. Charlie kept (all day long) declaring that "we have a cute little baby."
We all hung out together and had breakfast there and counted all of Emmeline's toes and fingers and checked out her cord. Hazel was super interested to see the placenta....so Jeff and Charlie politely excused themselves (Jeff hates those things)to go and see the tub where Charlie splashed into the world. I think Hazel has a future as a midwife. She is quite excited and extremely curious about the details of pregnancy and childbirth.
It felt so good to be there as a little family. Somehow three kids feels so much more like a FAMILY. Big and chaotic and so full of love.
These first few days at home have been really amazing. Jeff has been so helpful and really done everything to care for me and the kids.
I want so much to freeze all the feelings and emotions and details of this week. Only a few days in my entire life will be like this (depending on how many kids Jeff lets me have).....I'm trying to enjoy every crazy, painful, exhausted, heavenly, magical moment.