2.6 – The risk to remain tight in a bud…

December 30, 2021

Dear Darkened Rose,

[You can quickly scroll to the bottom if you’re just here for the baby photos. I don’t blame you, but don’t expect quality shots. Life is still blurry right now.]

My birthing experience really started taking shape at 37 weeks gestation. I had an early morning OB appointment that did not end up being the quick trip I had planned (routinely followed by a good, solid breakfast and a 16oz matcha latte). When my doctor saw my elevated blood pressure, the tone got serious for a second. She then explained that labor was a possible ending to my day, and my mind raced with all of the thoughts of my unpreparedness.

When the big moment came, I felt that I would confidently navigate my questions for all the unnecessary medical interventions that I had studied and had hoped to do without. However, after having thrown in this new high-risk status that developed from that appointment, I began to feel a bit lost. I had yet to fully research and build a birthing map for this situation. The options along this detoured route felt quite limited. I honestly started to get a bit angry at the whole OBGYN practice for not having a better solution for this (as if it were their fault that I had high blood pressure).

Immediately following that appointment, I tried my best just to take some deep cleansing breaths. And by deep cleansing breaths, I mean that I gave myself grace to frantically research preeclampsia, binged on lame (but healthy) leftovers, let out a lot of fearful tears, anxiously awaited my next therapy appointment, and did as much walking of the neighborhood as I could muster the energy for.

They sent me home that day after monitoring baby boy. He seemed to be doing well, but I knew from then on I really needed to give up caffeine completely and balance out those macronutrients in my diet. My next appointment was scheduled for a few days later on Monday, November 8th. I was to show up to that appointment after having collected and refrigerated my urine for an entire 24-hour period beforehand. That was one of the many hurdles of humility I stumbled over that week.

Otherwise, my third trimester was pretty optimistic.

I had finally started to hit the wall of reality with this pregnancy right at about 32 weeks. Caleb and I started taking a birthing class at that time which really made things a bit more concrete. This birth was soon expected from us. We both expressed our anxieties but felt excited to be learning more about how to better prepare. It was made evident from our second class that Caleb was really going to suck at gentle massages. He could hold me in a low squat, though, and that was good for something. This was also the week that I was fortunately able to take leave from my job for maternity stuff.

At 36 weeks, Janie put together a beautiful baby shower for us where we had a really heartwarming turnout. Caleb and I got the nursery somewhat squared away during the following week, and things felt only barely under par with where we should have been at that point. I assumed I had 3-4 weeks to write thank you notes and take advantage of the nesting energy I had, but that was not the case. The doctors really took me at my word when I made the proclamation that week that—“I just can’t wait to meet him!”

I try to remember that Caleb and I have spent the last 5-7 years really chipping away at forming a solid foundation to stand on during this time. Educationally, physically, financially, emotionally, culturally. I really felt secure that this was the time in our lives that we could transition into the role of being parents. Not to sound cliche, but nothing really quite prepares you for the trauma of labor and delivery (much less, one involving being induced) nor the first several weeks postpartum. I knew deep down that would be the case, but, naturally, I had to wait for the moments to manifest before fully accepting that. I think walking into these difficult weeks carrying those idealistic thoughts behind me made a world of difference. I am grateful I was in that headspace when I was.

I can easily say that this is the most arduously rewarding time in my life.

While stuck in the hospital, I wrote down all of the episodes that I could remember of when I felt angry with myself during my pregnancy and the birth. I am just now revisiting that list to add to it the pieces of disappointment and guilt that I have collected in postpartum. I wanted to share most of these with you, but I realize that they are not all that incredibly interesting to read (nor easy to write in a cohesive manner). They ranged anywhere from occasionally eating apples in the morning while having gestational diabetes, to allowing the hospital staff to so hastily increase my Pitocin drip to augment my labor (I am still somewhat bitter with my doctor for this). I wrote down all of these frustrations with the purpose of purging my brain of them so as to not move forward with any latent shame attached to this experience.

In little man’s first 6 weeks of life, my heart was broken time and time again as I watched myself fumble a bit through learning how to become a mom. I always recognized that this disheartened state was likely due to wacky hormones, sleep deprivation, a wonky diet, lack of exercise, abstinence from caffeine and other substances, etc. That being said, I feel more and more inspired each day to hone my motherhood skills in order to do right by this little dude. Here at 7 weeks, I can feel my patience restoring and my love rapidly building up for the life we are now living.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

-Anais Nin

As I have somewhat mentioned to you before, I use my own chuckles as a quick tool for self-reflection. I find myself almost having an out-of-body experience when I laugh. I think that prior to being pregnant, joy like this in me did not feel so readily available. These days, I giggle in a lot of moments that feel soft and simple. I relish these plentiful, small instances, and I am quite certain they will only grow more frequent—as well as more intensely gratifying—with time.

I am so very deeeeeeply appreciative of the fact that St. David’s lifted some of their COVID visitor restrictions a few days before I was admitted (I like to think you had a hand in that luck). With that, Janie was able to be at the hospital alongside me and Caleb while I was giving birth. She was there to rub my hair with a wet washcloth; lift my spirits with some conversation between contractions; read me motivation quotes from this collection of cards that she bought (with some RWE ones thrown in there); and she quickly and repeatedly chanted phrases like “you have got this!” in a cheerful tone throughout the toughest of my contractions.

Without her being there for that, I would have undoubtedly been wheeled out of that room more despondent than I was. She and my nurse from that last night in the labor and delivery room were my redeemers. They planted a blooming, reviving bit of courage in my heart right at the end that saw me through the final phase. Without that, V might have been stuck in the birth canal for the rest of my life (what an awful imagine). Despite the minor hardships, I was ultimately able to enter motherhood exhausted but proud. Caleb was…present throughout, and he was smiling and encouraging there at the end, too. So that’s something.

I gave birth to new life!

Mr. Viggo Ray Roberts owns a big soul, and it is precisely the one that I have yearned to live my life for. After a mere 28 hours of labor, in the very early morning of November 10th, V was born into a 7lbs 1oz body that was 19.5in long. With his dark hair, light eyes, and dimpled chin—I now hold my life’s purpose in my arms and often snuggled up against my chest. I hope you enjoy the insane amount of photos of him that are to come.

I once again made note of some of the many things I found funny while dealing with my unbalanced hormones.

I cried a good amount of happy tears when Caleb surprised me by handing me a mini bag of skittles from his hospital bag (that relinquished me from the reigns of gestational diabetes). Another odd moment that reduced me to a handful of tears was when V first tooted and I felt this warm rush of pride. These days, I often find it silly to think of the guilt that comes with sneezing while breastfeeding. I also titter (language is a beautiful thing) sometimes when he makes it known that he obviously hates my left boob.

Ok. Well. I think I have written quite a bit too much for this one letter already. But I really look forward to sharing with you more details about his personality and our life now together in my next one. As of right now, he’s still a bit of an eating, pooping, sleeping machine. He is a beautiful machine though—one that has started to give us some big smiles and acknowledges our faces and voices. We have started communicating in coos this week, and it is absolutely exhilarating!

Geeeeezzzzzz, I sure do miss you deeply sometimes in this phase of life. I love you.

-Oie

Enclosed are cool things.


The Song: Hold You In My Arms by Ray LaMontagne

The Pictures: