I won’t share details from the past 24 hours because I vehemently guard my doula clients’ privacy, yet I can say that I today I was stretched in this calling. Today a baby’s first breathe was indescribably precious. Today, I’ve never been more grateful for the strength of prayers prayed for “tiny, but mighty” infants.
Tonight a host of emotions, fears, hopes, prayers…moments…tear-filled, intense moments…have come roaring back in keen memories.
The moment I took a phone call from our midwife’s office around 18-weeks-pregnant and heard the news that our baby might have Spina Bifida. It was pouring rain and dark, and my car had broken down in a parking lot. I sat and cried in shock, waiting for David to come rescue me and hoping that this was all a bad dream. Hadn’t we already been through enough with three rounds of IVF and several early miscarriages? The world was bleak and cold.
The moment around 28-weeks-pregnant when we were expecting to hear the good news from our perinatal specialist that Abby was in the clear, but rather heard the term “IUGR” bandied about for the first time and an emergency C-section discussed. After that, every couple of days I squeezed doctors’ appointments into my schedule to closely monitor Abby’s blood flow and growth. One poor result, and they would have delivered her very, very early – too early.
The moment at 36 weeks, 6 days that David and I bundled up in the car during an April snowstorm and drove to the hospital, knowing that we would not come home pregnant. The time had arrived. The scheduled induction. We prayed and whispered and hoped and feared.
The moment the next morning when my water broke all on its own, and my body miraculously went into labor without Pitocin. The shock when we realized that the “planned induction” would not happen, but rather a very real and very intense back labor, as our little one wiggled into the correct position for delivery. Seven hours later, and I had gone from 0 cm dilated to fully dilated and pushing.
The moment I decided that giving birth was way more painful than I imagined and I was leaving the hospital in the middle of pushing. End of story. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. I kept on pushing.
And then THAT moment…
She was too small to really latch, but she nursed a bit in those first moments (She wouldn’t truly latch and nurse for another 8-10 brutally hard weeks). She was warm and soft and ALIVE on my quaking chest.
As I nursed Abby before bed tonight and rocked and sang and played “This Little Piggy Went to Market” with her jelly-bean toes, we interspersed our usual bedtime blessings and prayers into the routine. And, then, she asked to pray for THE baby. The baby that her mama had left her in order to “help” today. The baby that she had faithfully folded her hands and prayed for all day with her amazing Grammy. And, I had no words…
No words, but the most childlike of prayers to murmur with my daughter.
At the end of the day, I’m humbled by the miracles. I’m praying. I’m tired. But, not as tired as many of the parents that I know of who are in the trenches right now. Friends and family and doula clients who either have been or are currently hoping for miracles. In these dark, wee hours of the night.
Anchoring their souls to hope.
Holding the hands of little ones.
*All photo credits belong to the family and birth photographer Rachael MacPhee with Haven Photos