Thursday, September 13, 2012

Start as you mean to go on

Dear Marlowe,

Today is your first birthday and I have been trying to write your birth story since you were seven days old.  I actually wrote it about an hour ago but the blog ate it and I had a temper tantrum. 

What I really want to write about is the lost art of slow cooking because that is what you and I did.  We baked you until you felt you were done just right, with a delicious crispy crust that a pastry gets when it's been in the oven for just a minute or two too long. In human cooking time that worked out to be 16 days past your estimated time of arrival. We were healthy and happy so we felt like we could wait and although I love me some slow cooked baby, those last couple of days really tested my patience and elasticity.

On the morning of September 12th, we had been scheduled to go talk to an obstetrician because we were officially out of the ordinary so I was greatly relieved when we went into early labour.  Up until this point the whole neighbourhood had been helping us to get you out.  Fenner would spend the day at any number of friends' houses while I tried castor oil, walking and acupuncture, all to no avail.

Finally your Dad and I resorted to the activity that got us knocked up in the first place.  We spent all day on September 12th relaxing and hanging out.  We played crib, I napped, your dad got the house ready for your arrival.  By the afternoon we were pretty sure you weren't psyching us out so we made sure Uncle Will could come and hang out with Fenner while we worked out your exit strategy.
By midnight I was sure we were almost done.  The contractions seemed insurmountable and mostly, I was so excited to meet you.  Your Auntie Steph and Tia, our Midwife, came to help your Dad and I out. It turned out we were only just getting started. It took me a little while to come to terms with that but once I did we settled into a pattern.

To try and keep relaxed I started singing you out.  It's my most vivid memory of that night. You remind me of it every night as it's the same song you sing before you fall asleep, and like my song, right near the end it gets a lot louder.

There were a lot of really funny moments throughout the whole night, mixed with a lot of hard work.  Your Dad and I do love dark comedy. I charged him one ounce of castor oil for every snore he let loose between contractions.

Every time I would use the loo I would come back and Tia had rearranged the pillows so that I would have to lie differently and every time I would reply, "What fresh Hell is this?"

While we were negotiating those last few hours Steph and our second midwife Marlene were holding my legs - we would rest between contractions and every once in awhile a contraction would sneak up on us leading to me yelling, "Where are My Bitches? Here comes another one!"

There are a million moments that I remember from that night. How we all worked so well together and just how excited I was to meet you on our own terms and conditions in a room full of people with great respect for each other. How at no point did I feel like we had to make a decision that would in anyway compromise how well everything was going.

Once you decided it was time to come, it was a perfect birth.
When I felt your head I was shocked that there was an actual person that I was going to get to meet. Then Marlene put you on my chest, all 9 lbs 4 oz and 55 cm of you. I thought I was going to melt right into the bed.
It was really hard, but I shared you with your Dad who I thought was just going to slide off the bed at the sight of you.
Your big chocolate brown eyes and your long beautiful body. I didn't even think to check what flavour you were for the longest time and then I realized Stephanie was going to explode if we didn't find out. She had been knitting for weeks while we waited, it had been a lovely and charming distraction from the ticking clock.
The bed grew a little bit and for awhile we all fit in it just perfectly, all of us in our nest together.
It was just perfect. The intention with which you entered our lives has become the way we live our lives.  Every day with intention and each other.  
Happy Birthday little Pork Chop. 



JenHendriks said...

Thanks Amanda - I'm just glad you didn't hear the Cracken from your house :)

Amanda Pedro said...

oh, the tears, the tears. Bring me some sunglasses. That was/ is beautiful!

Lise said...

"Where are my bitches? Here comes another one!" ~ I can totally hear you saying this.
Happy brithday to you both. You do make good babies, my friend.
xo, Lise

Karen said...

I think September 12th may be the best day of the year. For me, it's the day that brought out the best in everyone. Maybe it's because I'm a New Yorker but the outpouring of love, kindness, compassion, generosity, etc. etc. was amazing on September 12th and it serves as a reminder to me every year to be the person that I was on that day, every day. Maybe that's what Marlowe has planned!

Jennifer Smith said...

September is such a great birthing month, I have two beautiful adult daughters who were born 7 years apart, one on the 10th, one on the 12th. The eldest and I enjoyed Indian food out at her fav restaurant last evening. She just turned 32. So Enjoy . Life changes on a dime. I lost her dad in 06 to cancer.

Joansey said...

Well done. I'm nowhere near the pressures that can be laid upon a woman when her child is that 'overdue' but can imagine how annoying it would be to be 16 days past the guess date by multiplying how I feel every day I am overdue by ten. Congrats on keeping it cool & going with the flow. You set a fine example. I'm off to "walk it out." Today is a great day for birthing. Happy birthing day to you (& your bitches!).

JenHendriks said...

Thank you Lise! It was a good trip.

JenHendriks said...

Thanks J! Great things come in great time :)

JenHendriks said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I think that it's the crisp Fall air that keeps us having babies in this season.

Xmanlives said...

From Val I and our Marlow, we hope you're having a great celebration day of one trip around the sun.

JenHendriks said...

I think that it is a great strength in trying times to reach deep and make things as nice as we can for our friends, family and fellow humans. It is what keeps us all going.

Suzanne @ Roll With It said...

"The intention with which you entered our lives has become the way we live our lives. Every day with intention and each other." Absolutely love this.

JenHendriks said...

Thank you. It's a hard thing to do when working and Mothering so I'm glad I practiced while I could focus on my family.

JenHendriks said...

We really did. It was a great trip!