Elijah’s Birth Story, Part V

 

The next days and weeks were filled with joys and challenges, as is the case with any new family. Christy and Robin stayed for a total of almost 24 hours, battling exhaustion at the end to make sure Elijah was healthy and ready to spend his first night safely in our arms. Breastfeeding was a challenge for the first five weeks or so due to some TMJ issues that Eli had as a result of his grand entrance. My in-laws stayed with us for the first four weeks (or I should clarify: Rob’s mom stayed for four weeks, Rob’s dad came the last of those four weeks) and helped immensely with our transition. My body struggled a bit regaining its strength and thank goodness that Annette was there to help me with the cooking, tidying, and laundry that was necessary as Rob went back to work. It was a time when we were figuring out what our new “normal” was going to be.

I am asked constantly if I would have made a different decision regarding homebirth if I had known the end of my labor would be so difficult. This question always surprises me–perhaps because I simply can’t imagine a labor and birth process any other way! I loved laboring at home, with my family and my animals and my own room. I loved being able to eat or drink or move whenever I wanted. I loved that medication simply wasn’t an option, and that I needed to rely on my own strength and bodily signals to help Elijah emerge into the world. Yes, it was difficult. Yes, at times it was painful. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s not something that needs to be feared or avoided. I feel so much intimacy with the threshold between being in this world and being in God’s embrace after this experience. In many ways, it is a paschal experience. Birth and Death and Life–and trusting in God to guide us over those thresholds–hold such a sacred, delicate balance.

Being able to share this experience with a midwife is also something that I will always cherish, and the attention and care that she gave us is something that I think every woman deserves. When we were still seeing an OB/GYN, we were lucky if an hour’s wait in the waiting room led to more than a ten minute visit. We had to try to remember every question and cram it in, because obviously he was hurried and had other patients to see. I’ve heard stories from my friends about their OBs not even remembering their names or the circumstances of their pregnancies. Our experience with Christy was so different. She came to our home, and would listen to Eli’s heartbeat while I was laying on my own couch. She would sometimes have dinner with us, and we would talk at length about any question or concern or anxiety I had. She sacrificed many Friday nights with her own family so we could do after-hours appointments that Rob could attend. And in the hardest moments, I trusted her implicitly because we had built that relationship throughout my pregnancy.

Every woman who labors decides how they want to do it, and this is not the forum for saying what I think everyone should or should not do. It is simply my way to express what worked best for me and my family. I hope that every woman gives thought to such a choice. We have more strength than we give ourselves credit for–many women I have talked to have said they couldn’t imagine laboring without medication. And yet in doing so, they sacrifice feeling some of the most undeniably unique and intimate sensations a person can experience. Pain doesn’t always have to equate to suffering. Pain isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s a gift.

These days, I’m enjoying this new world as a mama. Being a witness to my son awakening to the world is a holy experience, one I am honored to experience. I’ve begun to see my relationship with my own parents in a new way, and likewise, with God. Elijah truly is a miracle. I pray that I may learn to gaze at God the same way Elijah gazes at me.

The adventure has only just begun.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kelly Rice on April 8, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Stacia,
    What a beautiful gift you have given your son with this amazing story of entrance to his new world! You are a woman of great strength and Faith and I admire your ability to hold steady to both through the most difficult (natural) physical experience a woman can endure. Having had hospital births with both of my children, I admit that I had a level of disconnect with women who home birth, but your story gave me such a clear revelation of the reasons women choose to do so. Thank you for opening your heart and pouring it into words so that we can share in such a wonderful part of your life. Robert and you have started the most fulfilling journey God has set before us on which you will create so many fantastic memories.
    Love to all,
    Kelly

    Reply

  2. Posted by thecalhiokid on April 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Stacia,

    I haven’t been on your blog page in forever! Well, at least not enough to know you live in Tehachapi, were pregnant, and now a mother of a beautiful baby boy! Congratulations to you and Rob! I don’t know if you’re still at Fuller. If you are, I hope to see you around soon! Otherwise I sincerely hope that life continues to be fruitful and joyful for you and your family.

    -Aaron Caluza

    Reply

  3. Beautifully said & beautiful family photo!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Aunt Jan on April 9, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Beautiful, Stacia. Thank you for sharing
    Love,
    Aunt Jan

    Reply

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