You are just so beautiful, I can’t stand it. 

This was taken before you projectile vomited and gagged/choked/puked for the entirety of the evening. Way to scare the ever loving shit out of me. Turns out you don’t tolerate soy formula very well. The doctor said you are just fine and gave us new formula to supplement with. Probably just gonna stick to the boob. Sorry about all that, Squish. 

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” My daughter’s body will be made of flower and fight. I will teach her to cherish and nurture herself like a tender flower, whilst showing her how to use her arms and legs as weapons against anyone who tries to take from her what she isn’t ready to give. She will not wilt into apologising her existence away. She will not value her looks more than her stories. She will inherit fire as her mother tongue and water as her native land. She will have every quality I wished for and every quality I never had. “–Nikita Gill, My Daughter’s Inheritence 

The baby has been taking the boob! I am so proud I could cry. It’s so much easier this way. I was so scared I wouldn’t ever get that nursing relationship with her. What a relief. 😌 So much better than the damn breast pump. 

Sometimes though, it feels like a sport to get her to latch, and sometimes it looks like this. 

Before you were here…

I wrote this when I was about 6 months pregnant. Reading back on it brings tears to my eyes. How can you ever begin to imagine how much you will love your baby before they’re here? As much as I loved her then, I didn’t have a clue how much I would love her now. 

To my unborn daughter…I have never loved this way. My love has evolved and turned into something bigger than myself, and it is because of you. I am amazed every day that this body of mine can create life, and I wonder what it is your life will be. I know what I will do my best to make it, but I only have so much power over who and what you become. Most of that is up to you, my love. I can only hope that I do right by you until the choices are yours. I am in awe of my love for you. I am taken aback by the extent to which my heart has grown. 

You’ve been getting stronger. I can see you moving when I look at my belly, and I feel you as soon as I wake up each morning. I’m starting to get bigger and laying down isn’t quite as comfortable anymore but somehow your movements lull me into sleep. Your arrival is much anticipated by everyone around us. Everyone is ready to meet you but I think I’m the most impatient of all. I want to enjoy and embrace this time that I have you safe inside of me, but more than anything I want to hold your hand. I want to see your face. I want to feel what it is to be your mother. You have changed my entire life just by existing and you aren’t even in my arms yet. That’s power, baby girl. I hope you always know your power. I hope you always know your strength.

I will do my best to instill in you that no matter how beautiful you are on the outside it will never surpass the beauty you have on the inside. I will tell you to be kind but do not let others take advantage of your kindness. Laugh at yourself, because you will make many mistakes, and they’re easier to deal with that way. Always remember that family is so very important. Read a book when you’re sad. Listen to a song you’ve never heard before and try to find something you love about it. Always kiss me and your other mommy goodnight. 

Cadence, I love you, my baby girl. You have saved me.

The Story of the Birth – not that it’s possible for me to forget. Ever. 

On November 28th, 2016 I had my last prenatal appointment. I remember in the car on the way to the doctor’s office talking about how I would not walk out of that office until my OB agreed to induce labor. It was my due date and I was d-o-n-e. Sure enough, my blood pressure was high, and my doctor wanted to induce at 6 the next morning. I let it soak in that it was my last day pregnant, the last day of my life before I became a mother for the first time. I was anxious and oddly calm. I was ready to meet my baby girl. 

The morning of the 29th was dark and rainy. Allie was driving the massive white rental truck that I had while my car was in the shop. In the back seat was Cadence’s diaper bag stuffed full of shit we wouldn’t need, and clothes and toiletries for us that I wouldn’t really need, either. I wanted everything to be perfect. I had spent 9 months organizing a nursery (that’s trashed now) and I refused to miss a thing. 

Once I got set up in my hospital room, I was comfortable, warm and ready for labor. The nurses started the Pitocin and I prepared my mind and body for a natural delivery. I waited patiently while family came in and out of my room, nurses came in and out of my vagina, and contractions got stronger and stronger. Finally I felt “the urge” to push, and the show was on the road. One of my nurses told me that usually you only push for 10-15 minutes and the baby would be here! So I prepared myself for 10 minutes of pushing, which turned into 30 minutes of pushing, which turned to an hour, and then finally 2 hours. I can’t describe the grueling pain I was in once we hit the 1 hour mark. I don’t even want to know how it would have felt without the epidural, which proved useless at that point. I was begging for a c-section. At first the doctor and my mom laughed, and told me it was hard work, and that I could do it. But I couldn’t do it and I knew I couldn’t. I wasn’t asking for a c-section because I just really wasn’t feeling like doing the whole vaginal birth thing, I just could. Not. Do. It. I was pushed past my limit. I lost so much blood, I began blacking out and the baby’s heart rate started to decline. At this point the contractions were a minute apart and from the way the baby’s head was stationed, pushing was inevitable, even though it was getting us nowhere. At one point I was actually saying “help me”. I don’t have words for what my body was going through in this moment. I refused to stop asking for that c-section. I knew I needed it, and finally they called it. 30 minutes later I was being wheeled to the brightest white, freezing cold room. I got a spinal tap and I breathed the biggest sigh of relief as everything from my chest down was completely numb. No more contractions, no more hell. Allie sat by my head as they did god-knows-what behind the sheet. I still can’t bring myself to watch a video of a cesarean birth. It’s still slightly too frightening and real to see what my body went through. I heard my doctor tell me that she accidentally nicked the baby’s head with the scalpel and I drunkenly told her that was fine (which it was- there’s a tiny scar but I think it’s cute) and soon after I heard my baby girl cry for the first time. I had never heard a better sound in my life. I can only compare it to hearing her heartbeat for the first time- multiplied by a million. They brought her around and put her in Allie’s arms, and then took her away. 

As I was getting sewn up, I was relaxing for the first time in 24 hours. My baby was here and she was healthy and beautiful. I was done with the birthing process. Everything was fine in that moment. 

The recovery has had its ups and downs but now I am free of pain. I still have numbness around the incision and I am still a little shocked when I see the stomach that has replaced the one that was formerly flat and stretch-mark free, but it doesn’t bother me. Not like I thought it would. I am just proud to have gotten through the part of life where women tend to collect their horror stories, and honestly I am pretty honored to have a horror story of my own.