On October 5th, we welcomed our little lady of the sea; Marion Maine.
She is healthy and beautiful and exactly who I gently imagined bringing into this world throughout the entire pregnancy. For all that time, I hoped my girl was making her way to me–and she was.
On induction morning, I got up at 4:30 a.m. and showered, had coffee with Chris, placed hot rollers in my hair and did my makeup as the curlers set. Nana and Allison came to the house, and together, they got Everett up and fed him the breakfast he refuses to stray from: vanilla greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s.
Chris got our hospital bags and pillows and the down comforter I insisted on bringing, packed into the car. He dusted off the finishing small details, like showing Nana how to work the T.V. remote and reading through the lenghty “Everett directions” I wrote out, making sure she knew his routine. This was all Chris’ way of carrying some of my nerves, and I appreciated that we were a team, even though it was me who had the job of physically delivering a baby in the next coming hours.
In the car, I stayed quiet. Chris had NPR on and I listened to one of my meditation tapes through silencing earphones. A few minutes into it, Esther Hicks (the woman I’ve written to you about, many times before) said this:
You can’t overcome hardship or stand stubbornly within it. You’ve got to reach the place where you accept it’s easy…and then it will be easy. And when people ask, “How was it easy?” You say:
I made it a struggle a lot longer than I needed to. It was easy because the energy was already there and the momentum had been gathered and things were already aligned. I just had to do one piece: I just had to relax a little and trust a little and try a little less hard. I just had to stop justifying and rationalizing and defending. I had to feel worthy without the needs for justification.
And hearing that little part (which probably doesn’t make sense without hearing the entire segment), felt as if her words were coming through my ears and into my heart, preparing me for what was ahead.
I accepted that this birth was going to be easy. I knew I didn’t have to stand stubbornly within hardhsip…that I didn’t have to be headstrong and refuse an epidural if I wanted one. I knew any choice I made in the delivery room, didn’t need justification.
I trusted that everything I thought and journaled and affirmed about this birth in the months and weeks prior, did indeed shift this whole soon-to-be event into right alignment.
Before entering the hospital’s parking garage, we made a right turn onto “Marion Street.” It confirmed that the old fashioned girl name I had on reserve, was the right choice. Just like the street sign, over the past year, I have seen her name in varying and random ways, as if something else had chosen what to call her, long before she was mine.
Perhaps she always knew who she was. Perhaps she always knew she’d be my child.
We checked in at the maternity ward and were shown to our room. It was spacious and settled within a corner, with two glass windows, allowing a view of the current sunrise. It was comforting and secluded and I was grateful to feel like things were continually going right.
The midwife on-call checked in with me, explaining how the induction would work. Before pitocin, she was going to put a foley bulb into my cervix, which basically just creates pressure and promotes dilation. It looked like a strange flexible balloon, with a bubble at the top and three sets of tubing attached and hanging.
She inserted the bulb part and with a syringe, slowly pushed water through the tubing, therefore expanding the bulb and hopefully my cervix.
It sounds more strange and intense than it was. All I felt were period-like cramps, and I was still able to walk around the room and use the bathroom. I just had three tubes hanging out of me, peeking through my open hospital gown. Chris and Allison got a kick out of that one.
For two or so hours, this bulb sat in me. Finally, it fell out on its own (which is ideal–that means it did its expanding job) and I said aloud that I thought my water broke. It felt like slow trickles were puddling on the bed underneath me.
This early sign of labor made me giddy and confident, like another check had been marked off under the criteria of easy. I truly just kept energetically floating down river and now as I’m reflecting, I can honestly say there’s never been a time in my life that I was that in the flow. There is such power in trust and surrender.
Pitocin started to drip into my plotted vein and contractions began soon after, each one coming about every one to two minutes, which is ridiculously close together when compared to starting labor natually.
During a contraction break, all three of us would talk, and then without warning, I’d close my eyes and get quiet and nod off into the tightening sensations within my belly. I remember Chris once saying to me, “See ya later!” in the funny Everett voice we like to mimick, because I’d truly disappear into myself as I concentrated on each contraction, knowing the pain was pulling our baby further and further down into me.
When I began to feel sweaty and frequently became more silent, I wanted my dilation checked. Knowing what was ahead, I questioned if I wanted to continue onward without an epidural. I was remembering Everett’s birth, picturing the room where I labored, the things I said and felt and thought, like I was being pulled back into that memory. And I wanted nothing to do with it.
Prior to this second labor, I thought I had to be brave and choose a drug-free birth again, so I could…I don’t know…face it. But I quickly recognized that reasoning equaled a wall of resistance; a rift in the feel-good river I was riding.
So without justifying and rationalizing and defending–without wanting to once again fight and prove how strong I could be, I simply looked up at my midwife and said in clear words, “I want the epidural,” even though I had just been checked at 6cm and labor was proving to progress quickly.
The surrender was simple and accepted and felt right. I was proud of myself.
Getting the actual epidural was easy, and my anesthesiologist was one of the most serious, calm, confident and well-carried men I’ve ever seen. He was the kind of man you would’ve found attractive, almost as if you had personally sought him out to be my doctor. I can’t explain it–that’s just the feeling I had as soon as he walked into my room, like you were pushing me forward within my choice of drugs, delivering them to me on a silver platter of encouragement.
When I felt the relief from contractions, that epidural became the most liberating piece of permission I ever gave myself. Instead of reaching the point of screaming and panic and digging into the deepest parts of me just to remain breathing, I laid in bed watching the Kardashians, with my sister and husband…my two best friends.
Within fourty-five minutes, my dilation was casually checked, and the midwife said, “Oh! You could start pushing if you want.”
I was so shocked and excited and in disbelief at how incredibly different the entire experience was continually unfolding.
Chris and Allison got on either side of me and held up my legs; they were just numb enough that lifting them took more effort than normal. And in the lower left side of my abdomen, I could still feel when I was getting a contraction, but the sensation was mild, peaking through just enough so I knew when it was time to push. To me, this all meant that I had been given a fabulous epidural–not too much, not too little.
Pushing was fun. With my hair done and makeup on, as shallow as it may sound, I felt not only strong, but beautiful. I felt like me. I was clear and focused and only had one job to do: push the baby out. And the room was calm. Only my nurse and midwife were there, who helped as she casually sat on the edge of the bed and cheered on with encouragement.
Allison and Chris did, too, and when I’d heard their voices grow in excitement, I knew I was getting closer and closer.
Within ten minutes, the final push came and Marion truly did slide right out, just like that mum bud.
I looked up at Allison; she had tears glazed in her eyes and a face frozen in awe as she was seeing the baby lay between my legs. For a passing second, I felt you. Your girls were together, experiencing one of the most beautiful moments this life can offer.
When people say things to me like, “Oh your Mom would be so proud!” it sounds like you are missing–that if only you were still living, you’d get the chance to aknowledge my accomplishments. But it’s within the moments like the one above, that my body pulses with that pride and I’m utterly aware of you–of that fact that it’s not would be proud but is.
Your presence was undeniable.
They laid Marion on my chest but her legs were folded closed. I kept saying, “What is it? What is it!” anxiously awaiting the most anticipated information of the past nine months.
“It’s a boy!” Chris looked at me and said with this huge smile I can still vividly remember. But my stomach sank because something just didn’t completely feel right.
He tried again. “It’s a girl!” And everyone, including myself, laughed, as I laid my head back on the pillow and cried with the relief that she was out, she was healthy, and she really was a girl. I had done it.
Her birth was truly one of the best days of my life. From start to finish, everything worked out, just as I had believed it would. Never have I manifested something so accurate and with such knowing ease, recieving so many assuring signs in the weeks leading up to her delivery.
Marion is the very piece that brought me full circle from Everett’s birth and all I have become since.
I feel as if I somehow dreamed her into my life.
I promise I will write again soon, when everyone’s needs (including mine) have been met, and I have a few moments to talk with you.
Now that Marion is here…now that I’ve truly settled into the comfiest and most confident places within myself and motherhood because of her birth, I feel like I need you less and less, which is both a hardening yet honest thought.