Monday, November 19, 2012

Love Awakened

The following is a part of a series of posts that will take you on a (very personal) journey with me through the story of our family. If you are just now tuning in, take a minute to start back at the beginning and catch up. Click here to read the first post. 

The day Caedmon was born may very well have been the happiest day of my life. 

Andy & I had spent months preparing for this birth. We attended a series of childbirth classes and read several books because I had made up my mind that I wanted to do natural childbirth and we needed to be prepared. At my 38 week appointment, however, my midwife informed me that Caedmon had unfortunately flipped transverse (sideways) and unless he rotated again we’d be guaranteed a C-section. Thus ensued 2 weeks of strange exercises, laying in weird positions, lots of chiropractor appointments, and prayer. Oh, how we prayed. 

We were thrilled when we discovered that he had snuggled back into the correct position and anxiously awaited labor to begin. 

On Thursday morning I was lying on the couch when I felt my first contraction. The thought that immediately popped in my head was, “I don’t want to bring my baby home to a dirty bathroom!” So I jumped (not really) off that couch and spent the next 2 hours on my hands and knees scrubbing our bathroom. It still cracks me up to think that I did that (and that I would likely do it again!).

By that afternoon I was horribly uncomfortable as I waddled through the grocery store getting snacks for our Life Group that night. Andy & I had a dinner appointment with a couple of students from our church who we hardly knew. I forced a smile and tried to be cordial, but I was not in a very social mood. We hosted a Life Group at our house that evening and by the time everyone left around 9:30 I was nearly in tears. I still had not made the connection that I was going into labor and just thought I was going to be this uncomfortable for the next week or two until the baby was born. 

After a hot shower and back rub, I laid down in hopes of sleep. That’s when it finally dawned on us that labor was starting. 

Once I realized that this misery was labor and not just pregnancy woes, my whole countenance changed. It was game time. I was ready for this. I sent Andy to the couch to get a few hours of sleep while I tried to relax in our bed with a movie. Around 2 AM I woke him up and handed him my pre-made list of instructions and last minute items that needed to be packed. 

We gave birth at a wonderful birthing center in Grand Prairie, TX. I really could not have scripted a better environment with its dim lighting, quiet worship music playing, and just Andy, my midwife, and one friend in the room. I labored all through the early morning hours with intense back labor. Andy went through an entire container of lotion as he massaged my back for nearly 8 hours straight! His words of encouragement as well as his steady strength and presence so endeared my heart to him. The birth process was the most bonding experience we’d ever been through. We were in this together. 

As I watched the sun rise through the window, I knew that a new life would soon be breaking forth as this new day dawned. It all seemed so perfect to me.

After an hour and a half of pushing (it took a while to get all 9 lbs 8.5 ounces out!) my midwife placed that precious, red, wrinkled, screaming baby on my chest and I have never felt more relieved or overwhelmed with joy. Andy and I laid in the bed with Caedmon in our arms for the next hour or two...marveling at his beauty and the miracle that we had just experienced. We called our parents on the East Coast and vacillated between tears of joy and uncontainable laughter as we celebrated this new life together. 

After Caedmon and I took a bath and a nap, we were ready to head home (just about 4 hours after he was born!). When my mom walked through the front door of our house that evening, she was shocked to see Caedmon and me comfortably perched on the couch in my living room. The first words out of her mouth were, “Did you really just have a baby this morning?!”

There were days that first week of Caedmon’s life that I don’t think we put him down all day long. He went from one pair of arms to another as we were all so mesmerized by him. Is there anything more pure and precious and wonderful than a newborn baby?

In the weeks and months that followed, Caedmon and I spent countless hours in my blue cushy recliner that squeaked when I rocked. I would stare at his face and try to memorize his every expression. The way he lifted his eyebrows when he would stretch. The way he would startle at a loud sound. All of the funny things he would do with his mouth. The way he would whimper and pout while sleeping as if having a bad dream. 

I knew that when the baby phase was a distant memory, I didn’t want to have the regret of knowing I had wished it away while I was in the moment. So I chose to sit and stare at a little face that was changing so fast it was almost visible from day to day. 

When Caedmon was placed in my arms for the very first time on that September morning, I was thrust into the world of Motherhood and a love that I had never experienced came alive in my heart. It was a love that started big and continued to grow through enormous right up to the point that I was pretty confident my heart would burst. While laying together in that bed, a lifelong love affair began. 

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