So, our rainbow baby has arrived, and she’s now almost 3 months old, but better late than never to record the birth story 🙂 From the beginning my envisaged birth was a water birth at home with just my husband and eldest daughter present. I awoke at 4am on the morning of her birth with a knowing feeling that it would be the day. Once again, it was a weekend, so Mr P was at home. We went about our day. Miss E was rather tired, so she went for a nap and we stayed home from church. I lay in bed most of the morning. Around 10:30 am I got the odd surge but they averaged about 2-3 an hour from then. At 11:30 am, I came downstairs to tell Mr P it was time to fill the pool as we would be having the baby that day. He was rather dubious due to the fact I was extremely calm and didn’t seem to be in labour, but he did as instructed. By lunchtime I decided it was the right time to call my reflexologist for a treatment. She arrived around 1:45pm and gave me a treatment. Things were still very chilled out at this point. She left again about 3pm saying to go lie down and rest and she felt by 10pm the baby would be here. After she left, I told Mr P that I didn’t think it was going to take that long and I thought by 7pm baby would be here and Miss E would still be up. I went to lie down as I felt quite tired. Through this time Mr P and Miss E had gone to the shops for something we were out of, sorted our dinner which was cooking and smelling delicious and picked blackberries from the garden. By 4pm, I couldn’t lie down anymore as my body was telling me to stay upright, so I paced around the upstairs listening to some music, swaying back and forth while Miss E and Mr P played in the garden. Mr P came in around 4:40pm to get the rest of dinner ready. I told him I was heading to the shower for some heat therapy as my back was a little painful then. By now the surges had been coming quickly for an hour, so I knew we had hit active labour stage, but everything was still very calm. I came downstairs at 5pm in time for dinner, and Miss E had hurt herself, so I gave her a cuddle. When I set her down again and stood up, I had one very sharp intense pain, and I said to Mr P that it was time for me to get in the pool and to bring me dinner after he and Miss E were finished. So while they ate, I breathed in my essential oils and listened to my music. He brought me my dinner and I was so looking forward to eating that lamb curry, but as soon as I had the plate in my hand the intensity of the contractions increased and they came one on top of another, so i never got to eat more than 3 bites, as every time I tried to eat a mouthful, I’d have to hand everything back to Mr P so I could sway in the water. I gave up in the end and asked him to start the cd again, get more oils in my burner, and also to remain by the pool. Miss E was also there. About 6pm, I had 5 intense surges that made me cry a little and think I couldn’t do anymore without relying on some gas and air and only one person could get me that; and my dreams of my unassisted birth seemed to be slipping away, so, feeling rather defeated, I asked Mr P to call for the midwife. I now know those 5 surges and little cry was my transition phase. While Mr P was on the phone I knew the baby was coming and would be born as I had always envisaged. At 6:16pm, surrounded by the love of her closest family and born into an environment of peace, calm, safety, and familiarity, Miss K entered the world easily weighing a healthy 10 lb 1, and I delivered her and lifted her from the water myself. Nothing can describe the feeling of birthing your child alone and being the first to lay hands on them. It was the most natural experience and just as nature intended. I also gave my firstborn the gift I so wanted to bestow upon her; the gift of seeing firsthand that birth is a natural and normal occurrence, not a medical procedure, and when you focus on the right things, surges are not painful, your body relaxes and births can be an enjoyable and empowering experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed both my births, and I am so thankful to God to have been in much better health this time round and to have learned so much from both births. Hopefully, I can put what I have learned to good use in future. I praise God for the safe arrival of Miss K to our family, and for the wonderful gifts she will bring to our family as she grows and reveals more of who she is.
One thing I am learning and becoming all too aware of as my daughter grows is that motherhood is messy. It’s messy in a literal, physical sense where there are always sticky hand prints around, or toys in the wrong places, or mud trekked in through the house via the soles of little shoes. I am ok with that side of messy. Yeah, I have to clean up the same thing a gazillion times, but still, I can cope with that.
There’s the other side of motherhood that’s messy though and not so easily cleaned up-the emotional side. Ever get those days when everyone just falls apart? Voices rise, tears fall, harsh words come gushing out, doors slam. The mess is nasty, and hard to sort through. It puts cracks in relationships, builds barriers and everything is stressful.
We have had so many of these messy days lately. Developmental changes have brought new challenges for both of us as we try and figure out how to live harmoniously with each other, with our needs and our personalities. Miss E has been fashioned by God’s good hand into a very independent and strong character. All the qualities that are such a difficulty for me right now as her mother, will, one day, stand her in good stead as she ventures off into the world alone. But it’s getting from here to that point that is proving difficult. It’s a fine balancing act and a skilled dance as we figure this whole thing out together, and often we get it all wrong. We fail to understand each other. We fail to communicate with each other in loving ways. We fail to choose loving reactions. Yesterday was one such messy day.
On these messy days, I am thankful for two gifts: GRACE. Grace to try again. Grace to start anew. Grace to change. Rich, abundant grace. Where would we be without it? NATURE. Our happy place. A therapy for the soul. A place we can go together to ease the stresses and rediscover our way on this journey. There is colour therapy given via the flowers and the greenery, music therapy from bird song, the wind, water passing by, raindrops falling. There is peace, time to reflect, time to reconnect. Grace and nature: our balm to soothe away the strife. How do you cope with the messy days of parenting? How do you reconnect with your child?
Being a parent is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but, in exchange, it teaches you the meaning of unconditional life.
Happy New Year, even though it is already 16 days old 🙂 Every new year brings its own set of changes, joys, and challenges. This year our big change is that our family is due to expand. We found out in November that we are expecting a summer rainbow baby! We are thrilled and delighted and Miss E seems very excited about the arrival of “our baby”. So far things with the baby seem well, but, as with Miss E ,I am finding this pregnancy a challenge and taxing on my health. Thankfully this time around I have the help of a homeopath on board which I didn’t have for Miss E, and through the Candida treatment, I have been able to, for the most part, say good bye to the awful Hyperemesis and leave being sick in the first trimester. Makes me wish I’d known I had Candida troubles a long time ago as my pregnancy with Miss E may have been very different. I am, however, still having problems with my heart this time which is rather concerning.
Part way through my pregnancy with Miss E I developed Supraventricular Tachycardia or SVT causing black outs and difficulty breathing and many trips to hospital. They were unsure then whether or not I had always had an irregular heartbeat and the stress of the pregnancy had just exasperated it or whether it was because of the repeated violent vomiting due to the hyperemesis. In any case, they were adamant it would return to normal once Miss E was born, and despite us asking for a referral to a cardiologist more than 6 weeks after she was born because it was still horrendous they said it’d be fine. It never ever went back to “normal” but it became bearable. Now, however, as this pregnancy progresses it is getting worse again with each week that goes by. I have been blessed this time with a midwife who is also a cardiology nurse and has dealt with mothers with SVT in pregnancy so that helps to allay my fears that this time when it gets really bad I have someone who has more understanding! last time when I went to the GP initially about it because I was so concerned, I was told it was a UTI and prescribed antibiotics?!!?!
Anyway, I am hoping that I am blessed with good health for the remaining months of this pregnancy so I can enjoy the last little while of it being just Miss E and me before we welcome this new little one into our lives.
Dear Lady At The Supermarket,
Yes, you will be on the receiving end of my grizzly mama bear side protecting her cub. You see, no one asked you for your opinion on her behaviour! You know not me nor my daughter. You do not know that she has been in this supermarket with parents who have taken their time dawdling over stuff they find interesting. You do not know that she is worn out and hungry. You do not know that for 17 months old she has, to this point, been very patient with her mummy and daddy as they saunter round the supermarket. All you see is this current screaming ball of emotions, and you feel you can assess the situation fully and pass judgement on my child. I hope you have learned a lesson, and next time you see a toddler in this state you will know to keep your opinions to yourself. Next time you see a child and feel tempted to call it naughty because it is currently screaming and pitching a fit, I hope you will remember my words back to you and will catch yourself before such nasty words fall off your tongue to complete strangers. I hope you will look beyond the screaming and have some sympathy for the child. But if nothing else, I hope you remember your opinions are unwanted and unhelpful, so if you have nothing nice to say about my child or anyone else’s in a similar situation, just keep your lips firmly sealed and move on!
And I hope this letter serves as a reminder for us all, myself included, that we need to stop labelling children, look beyond the emotions and the behaviour manifested and find the root cause. That is what needs dealing with. We need to spare some sympathy for the child who is fully dependent on his/her parents to meet all needs. We need to be understanding that they have yet developed their will enough to be able to control their emotions all the time (and hey, how many adults do this with a 100% pass record 100% of the time and we have many more years on the child!) this is still a work in progress. We need to realise they have yet to acquire all the words they need to fully express why they are so upset. So instead of allowing vile words to tumble blithely from our lips, instead let’s spread kind ones or share a kind look with both child and parent.
One Disgruntled Mama
Today, we were supposed to attend one of our home ed meet ups, but as I was feeling really low on energy and, as it is a 2 hour round trip, I decided it wouldn’t be wise to go. I was worried about feeling sleepy while driving which would not have been safe for Miss E. Mr P had made up a salad for us and I had made Miss E some sandwiches as well, so the question was what do I do with our picnic? I still wanted us to have a nice day. It seemed the weather was against us as it was so dull and looked like it would rain any second. After Miss E had her nap, we walked the dogs which is our pretty much daily routine after naptime and as the weather stayed dry and was reasonably warm, I packed up the picnic when we got home and we headed off the the local park.
We had a lovely time. We started off in the playpark area where there Miss E enjoyed time on the swings, the roundabout(not entirely sure if that’s the correct name for them!) and on the climbing frame and slide.
After having a lovely time playing in this area we took a walk over to some open green space, where I put out one of my wraps…whoever said woven wraps didn’t have any other purpose but to carry children with?! 🙂 We used this as our picnic blanket. We ate our picnic. I had packed some books so we read stories afterwards. Miss E had a lovely time crawling around exploring the grass, the dandelions and watching birds. We watched the clouds float by in the sky and relaxed. When the weather turned a bit colder, we packed up and headed back to the swings for a while before heading home. Miss E made a new friend as well.
All in all, it was a lovely time. There was just one thing to spoil our trip…this park and green space back on to a local primary school. While we ate our picnic the kiddies were out for their lunchtime play. There were adults out supervising them. The adults were not seen interacting with the kids nor even talking to them, except to yell. We heard a LOT of yelling. GET OFF THOSE STEPS! PACK THE EQUIPMENT AWAY. THE BELL HAS GONE WHY IS NO ONE STANDING IN A LINE?! GET YOUR COATS OFF THE FENCE. YOU THREE GET OFF THOSE STEPS!!!!!! On and on and on it went. I very nearly starting crying and I am a grown woman. The irritation in the voices, the rudeness, the disrespect for the children was unreal. What saddened me more is that, for these children, this is their normal. They spend the majority of their waking hours for the majority of their lives in this environment. They grow up in this environment where they learn to expect to be disrespected, put down, shouted at. Do they ever tell their parents? Do their parents know? Would their parents believe them? Do their parents care? Is there home life better or worse? These are questions that flew around my head as I sat there with my own precious gift beside me. I took a look at her and I determined in my heart that I will do everything I can, by the grace of God, to never place her into a situation like that. Children deserve so much better.
Recently, I have been doing a lot of soul searching, a lot of praying. There have been some areas of our relationship that could be better, areas of your behaviour that seem to have been getting progressively worse, and I had no answers as to how to fix them. There is only one thing to do in such situations and that is to pray for wisdom and understanding. I realised in these times, that my behaviour and feelings have a huge effect on you. I learned that I should first look inward to see if there is anything I need to change before expecting you to change or thinking the issues we are facing are in anyway separated from me. And as I looked inward I saw a lot of stuff that needed to be cleansed from my life, dealt with and shipped out of there. I saw a woman who was filled with resentment for the terrible pregnancy and the fact it so impeded me from bonding with you, resentment for the ill health for months after that stopped me from doing much more than feeding you and caring for your basic needs again hindering bonding, resentment for the fact that just when it looked like your daddy and me were getting a break from all the stress we had gone through from the start of our marriage and could look at reconnecting the pregnancy came and took that away.
I love you with all my heart, I truly do. There was, however, this huge wall to break down. Now that I have faced the problem and am tackling it, our days are much smoother, and that crazy behaviour you have always displayed that drove me near insanity? It’s pretty much gone 🙂 Amazing, huh? I am so so sorry it has taken me 15 months to sort myself out in the inner self. I am sorry this resentment has lived in there further blocking us from having a free and open relationship. I am sorry you have missed out on so much due to the fact I have been so ill. I am sorry that we did not get to connect while you were on the inside. I will never understand why things were how they were, but I cannot change the past. All I can do is ensure the present and future are beautiful as possible. I can leave that past hurt, frustration and resentment behind, walking through the door that leads us into a more loving, gentler way of being together.
Please forgive me for my shortcomings as a woman and as your mother. Please forgive me for the frustration I threw your way due to the fact I had not taken a long hard look inside my own heart and soul. Please forgive me.
I love you, little one. I am thankful for the gift of you in my life. I am thankful for the changes your presence has caused. I am thankful for your love for me. I am thankful for the lessons you teach me, and I will strive all my days to be a better mother for you.
All my love and sincere apologies,