Taking it all in~
Lila is 21 days old or 3 weeks old today and doing great. She is a very sweet baby and is pretty easy to soothe. Here at the Tullous household we are all adjusting to life as a family of four and slowly settling into a rhythm. Things are mostly good with an occasional rough day thrown in the mix. I have, of course, hit the wall of tired but am surviving. The good news is that Lila is starting to sleep for longer stretches between feedings at night and that helps. Liam is doing pretty well with things for the most part, and we all seem to be recovering from our rough start and stint in the hospital. He does have his days where he seems to want and need more of my time and attention, and I do my best to be available and present with him. Liam loves his little sister and wants to touch her, kiss her and hug her constantly. In fact, we have to remind Liam to give her a little space especially when Lila is tired and trying to go to sleep. It's a learning process for us all. I am hoping it gets easier as each day passes.
Over the last week or so I have been thinking a lot about my recent birth experience as well as my first birth experience. I guess I am just trying to come to term with things. I catch myself wondering why I couldn't or didn't have an easy, natural birth either time despite all my preparation and efforts to do so. Why couldn't I have the ideal labor and birth of 4 hours and be home the same or next day with my babies? When Jason and I were talking about this, he kindly pointed out that I could ask that question all day long and for the rest of my life for that matter and still not know the answer. So I have been asking that question and going over things in my mind and think that I have been doing so because my perspective on my own birth experiences has changed.
Neither of my birth experiences went the way I thought they would but they both have a "happy ending" as one friend said it so well. When I look back at Liam's birth, I see how being in the hospital instead of at home for his birth was positive. In fact, I have had many a nurse and doctor tell me we were fortunate that Liam's coarc, a narrowing of the aorta, was discovered shortly after he was born as he would have gotten very sick and his outcome and recovery may not have been as good or quick. In the end, we were in the right place at the right time for Liam.
As I go over Lila's birth, it is much the same in that we were in the right place at the right time as the unexpected and unforeseen happened again. I was so close to having that birth I had hoped for and then in an instant it changed. I never even considered the idea that my uterus could or would rupture even though I knew that was a very small possibility. Even as I take that in, I realize it all happened as it was meant to. Lila was born on her special, chosen day and I feel strongly about that given that she was born on the 8th of June at 8 in the morning, weighed 8 lbs. 8 oz. and was 18.5 inches long. All those 8's can only mean she was meant to come as she did. And again, I chose to have her in the only hospital in Southern Arizona that does the cooling pad therapy. This is no coincidence. All these things add up to a multitude of blessings for her, for us.
Of course, I can choose to see both experiences in any way I like as it is all a matter of perspective. That being said, I choose to see the blessings in both instances not because I am desperate for them but because they just seem so obvious. I cannot ignore the fact that both Liam and Lila are healthy, happy and strong despite their difficult entry into the world. I am beyond grateful for both my children even on the days when I feel completely overwhelmed by life and all the challenges motherhood brings.
So I guess where I am at with all this questioning of why things went the way they went is that it was meant to go the way it did. I still believe in natural childbirth and think that those that have that experience are so fortunate to have things go as they hope or want. For the rest of us that have things take an unexpected twist or turn, all you can do is your best because birth is a very unique and surprising experience. It is the adventure of a lifetime.
Ultimately, what I have come to understand is that there is no right or better way to bring your baby into the world. The more I think about it, the more I realize that most mothers want the same thing, we all want a healthy, happy baby. Most mothers want to bring their babies into the world with love and make that entry as peaceful as possible. Of course, how we go about making that happen is a very personal decision. The questions we ask are: home birth or hospital birth, natural or epidural, doula or no doula, midwife or doctor... and the list goes on.
I guess it comes down to that pivotal teaching of responding to each moment as it arises versus reacting to it. Because I can tell you from experience that you can prepare and do everything right and unexpected shit will still happen. What I have learned, though, is that it's how you deal with and respond to such circumstances that makes all the difference. So... be aware, choose wisely and respond well.
In it and making the most of it,