2010 was quite literally a year of growth: I confirmed my pregnancy on January 9th, gave birth September 26th, and emerged from my 4th trimester cocoon December 26th. Make no mistake, this was not just the birth of my beautiful son, Arlo Beckett. It was the birth of a new mother, a mom of two, and the death of the mother on the other side, the side of unknowing.
I wondered many things in 2010: Would I get my homebirth? Could I leave the scars of my previous cesarean behind? How would I be able to love another child as much as I love the first? Would my marriage withstand another child? Was my support system as real as I thought it was? Would I get PPD again?
Well, I didn’t get my homebirth. I had another cesarean, this time a true emergency. My love for both of my children at the same time is gigantic and real and I have no idea how it happens. The marriage is stronger than ever—when doctors tell you how close to death your son was, the only thing you can do is hold tighter than you imagined. I was floored by the support of my friends and family. And still, I managed to get PPD again.
2010 reminded me to find my breath and accept the circumstances of my life. I looked out the back window after days in bed with first trimester nausea and saw a 5-foot tall snowman constructed by Henry and Matt; I found my breath. As I lay on my midwife’s couch and heard Arlo’s heartbeat for the first time, I found my breath. Henry graduated from his nursery school; as his balloon soared over the green lawn, I found my breath. In the cold waters of Deep Eddy, I held Henry’s warm little body close to mine, looked up at the airplane on the end of his index finger and found my breath. As I kissed my Henry goodbye and sent him off to a new, bigger school with 5- and 6-year olds in his class, I found my breath. In an ambulance, hooked up to oxygen with my hips elevated to keep my son out of my birth canal, I found my breath. The first time I saw Arlo, under an incubator and hooked up to a thousand wires, I found my breath. Quite simply, it is what it is. I have a choice. And I choose to be grateful.
These are just some of the highlights of 2010, my gratitudes:
I’m grateful for Matt, my rock. His constant quest for knowing. His humor and company. The yin to my yang. I could not do it without him. In the moment before I was whisked off to the OR, he held a lavender scented cloth under my nose and spritzed Rescue Remedy on my tongue and I knew, once again, until death do us part.
I’m grateful for my Henry. Especially on those nights when he calls for me after Matt has put him to bed. I get to curl up around his little body and feel his warm breath on my arm, his hair on my cheek. How did my little baby get so big? And on nights like tonight when I find my mums uprooted and a roll of paper towels around my roses I secretly relish his sense of humor.
Arlo teaches me how to begin again, in every moment.
I’m grateful for my midwife GB Khalsa, who gave my pregnancy the space to unfold. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in birth and if it weren’t really completely and totally crazy, I’d get pregnant again just so I could keep hanging out with her every week.
I’m grateful for Amy Nylund who offered her doula services to us gratis. She is a true friend and I would not know most of the people I know in Austin if not for her.
I’m grateful for Lanell Coultas who helped prepare me for Arlo’s birth and his aftermath. Lanell is a birth warrior, and I love her.
I’m grateful for Carrie Contey who helped me heal my past and unfold into the present.
I’m grateful for Erin Stangland, my best pal who washed my bare ass in the hospital. That’s what friends are for.
I’m grateful for Terry Benaryeh, Sarah Waggoner, Diane Hoffman, Mary Silverstein and Debby Wolfinsohn. I love my playgroup buddies and our crazy nighttime emails.
I’m grateful for my family of origin and their support this time around. Special thanks to my sister, Leia, and my brother-in-law, Tyler.
I’m grateful for Kholoud and Bianca, for Nichole and Lissadell, the guides who have cared for my Henry in the mornings over the past year. He has reaped the benefits of their sensitive and attentive souls.
I’m grateful for my yoga practice. I’m grateful that I finally got a bind on my own in Marichyasana D 3 days before my positive pregnancy test.
I’m grateful for running and for the way the wind feels on my cheeks when I’m really rushing. I may not be 22 anymore but I’m still fast.
If I didn’t have a rice cooker/steamer, we’d starve.
If I didn’t have a fantastic breast pump, I’d never get to go out longer than an hour. I wouldn’t get any sleep. I thank the universe this son takes a bottle every once in awhile.
I could go on, but I’m tired now. I just want more of the same for 2011. More breath awareness. More acceptance of the present moment. More of the here and now.