The Birth of Gabe - Livin' the Good Life
Jul. 11th, 2009
07:12 am - The Birth of Gabe
Gabe turns 29 this morning at 10:37, and I'm remembering my labor with him as I write this. By 7:00 that morning I knew I was definitely in labor and was starting to hunker down, doing the work of opening up. Labor contractions are such intense things! They are relentless. They are stronger than you are. They have a wisdom that you don't. If you go with them and trust them, they will bring you a baby more smoothly and efficiently than if you fight them. Surrendering myself to them was my compelling work for that morning. There was no choice. My baby was coming. I had to relinquish my imagined control of my body and let my body take control over me.
It helps to have a healthy respect and appreciation for the process, looking for the joy and the pleasure in the experience. When my midwife, Jan Dawson, arrived at our Indiana farmhouse that summer morning, she pointed out that it was a lovely day outside. She offered to take a walk around our yard with me "to see what kind of day your baby will be born on". That was an excellent strategy. She got me up and walking, helping me feel appreciation by engaging my other senses as I smelled flowers and the intense aroma of new mown grass on a humid morning, listened to bumblebees buzzing around, and enjoyed the sight of our farm in full bloom. Whenever I had a contraction, Jan would open a folding chair she was carrying and have me sit down to relax and breathe. I remember the boys riding their bikes around me as I walked and sat, realizing that they were oblivious to the fact that a major change was about to happen in their life. The arrival of a new baby would change the everyday character of ALL our lives, both enriching and complicating them and adding one more person to love forever and ever. It's an awesome event, welcoming in a new family member. And I was determined to make it as wonderful for everyone as I could. Damian was still a nursing toddler, and I wanted to make sure he bonded with the new baby and that he would see him as his "nursing buddy", not as a competitor for mom's attention. After about a half an hour of strolling about, I told Jan that the contractions were getting very intense, and that I thought I'd better go lie down. By the time we entered the house, I was starting to feel like pushing. By the time I hit the bed, I WAS pushing! Everyone gathered around the bed, Jan giving instructions as to how each person could help. Steve was an expert at being a midwife's helper by this time. For the boys, this was a first time experience. (Nathen was 9, Ely was 7 and Damian was 2) They had never witnessed a birth before. Gabriel emerged very quickly, and Steve announced (for the benefit of the tape recording that had documented most of the labor) "Well, it's 10:37, and we still don't know what kind it is!" (Meaning what sex) And I said, "Well, LOOK!" There was a brief silence and then a giggle from Steve and "It's a boy!!" At that point pandamonium broke out as we all started laughing and cheering. It was a joyous moment that I'm forever grateful that we captured on tape. And I heard the midwife in the background say very sagely, "It takes special people to make THIS many boys!" Although, I seriously question the truth of that statement, I was glad to have gotten it on tape. I never would have remembered her saying that, and it was such a sweet thing to say.
I will forever be grateful to Mary Katherine Douglas, mother of 10 children, who befriended me in Indiana and who modeled for me the special joy of having a big family. The more children she had, the happier she seemed to be. I felt that having Gabe turned our "family" into "a big family", and I got to experience the special joy and glow that I witnessed Mary Katherine having. It was a real thing. Thanks, Gabe, for being the catalyst for us to experience the "real thing". Love you!!!