Two hearts beating inside one body, connected by a vessel, sharing feelings and creating a bond before ever meeting… a love without seeing, knowing, or touching… to last for all time. Come to my arms little one. I will love you and protect you forever.
At 2:30 in the morning, on December 13, I found myself wide-awake again, just lying in bed, whispering to my unborn baby. I woke again at 7:30, thinking of all the expectations I had placed on myself… I needed to release them, to set myself free and focus on being patient and still. I grabbed my journal and scribbled a few thoughts before starting my day:
Today is new, it’s light and easy… I awake refreshed, setting free all expectations. I wander outside with a jar overflowing of the greatest expectations. I loosen the lid, slowly lift it, and watch them all fly free. Like a hundred little birds in a tree, they explode toward the sky, swooping down and around, flying in all directions, so thankful to be free… I look at my empty jar and up again at those happy expectations floating freely through the sky and I smile, because now, I am also free!
Then I rolled (literally) out of bed, snapped a picture of my huge pregnant belly, sent it to my mom and husband in disbelief, and decided to embrace the reality that I was indeed, STILL pregnant.
We decided on a home birth after much scrutiny from my OB when I delivered our first two babies. Natural childbirth was very important to my husband and I, and although we were able to experience that in the hospital, it came with the high price of judgment, criticism, endless stress and constant defending of our views. When we conceived our third baby, we contacted a midwife, Kathy Mitchell, who happened to share the same values and ideas about childbirth as Andy and I. There was no arguing or tension or pressure to induce or to do anything unnatural… just to birth my baby and welcome her into a peaceful and loving environment. I had no idea how amazing and beautiful birthing at home would be!
My children were able to be there the entire time, coming in and out of the room as they pleased. This was very important to me, because I do not want them to fear childbirth. I want them to know how miraculous, beautiful and empowering it is. Amélie stayed near me most of the evening, rubbing my head and saying sweet things to me. Ethan kept writing me letters and reading them to me in between contractions. Both of our moms and my stepdad were also there. It was a calm and relaxed environment. I remember thinking my midwives and family were funny as I listened to them talk, but I couldn’t laugh because the contractions were getting much more intense. Andy kept his arms around me, sharing his strength and love for me as we anticipated the arrival our new baby.
Kathy and Molly coached me through with a calming reassurance, reminding me to listen to my body and to “just breathe my baby out.” And I did… it was the greatest, most wonderful feeling.
We never find out the baby’s gender before birth and let me tell you, it is the greatest surprise in life! At 11:05 p.m. on 12-13-14, a sweet baby girl joined our family. Ethan came back into the room right after she was born… talk about love at first sight! This kid was in awe! He claimed he only wanted a brother, but once he laid eyes on her, she melted his heart.
I was so sad that Lis missed the birth… and felt terrible that she drove all night to get here, but I cannot express my gratitude for these photos and memories that she captured for us. I am rarely in photos because I am the one taking them all. Without Lis, we would not have had these gorgeous images. She gave us such a beautiful gift!! She captured all the details of the baby’s first hours… and stayed for a couple days, helping us around the house and helping us decide on a baby name. She took photos of things that I didn’t see happening… and I love each of them!!
Parenting is a big, scary job! But it is the most rewarding and amazing gift I have ever received. These little souls grow inside of my body and from the moment they take their first breath, they breathe new life into me. The last four months have gone by so quickly. Andy and I have tried to savor every second because be know too well, how soon these days turn to dust. Since Josephine has arrived, I have been reminded to slow down, to be still and to cherish the newness that surrounds me. There was a time when I once believed that having a baby would cause me to “lose myself.” I have learned that being a mom is a self-sacrificing journey, but to my surprise, I have discovered more of who I am because of these experiences. Having a baby helps me to see things with “big eyes,” it reminds me to look carefully and deeply into the life that I live. I am reminded of the blessings I have, and with a grateful heart, I hug my “babies” a little tighter. Not every day is blissful and easy. I am exhausted, running around with three little people who need me to be present and to love them unconditionally is hard work. My house is a mess and I get few things accomplished. I really try to look at the beauty that surrounds me, stealing a few moments to keep forever, to remind me of why I am investing my heart into these little ones. One day, I believe this will all come together for a greater purpose than I am capable of understanding. In the meantime, I will try my best to foster their creativity and dreams, while praying that I don’t mess them up along the way. 😉 I will try to fill their hearts with love and hope, guiding them along their own paths.
>>>My friend Lis is the owner and photographer of Alissa Saylor Photography in Tennessee… check out more of her beautiful art HERE!