Oh my! Why do people NOT talk about POSTPARTUM hormones!
I am being hit hard! “Hit by a truck” hard.
Mistakenly thought we were going to breeze right through it.
Then go home.
Yep, expected baby would be born, we would resume our unusual usual days and that would be it. Life back to usual.
No soul could ever be unchanged after childbirth. Dare I say, especially when it is someone else’s labor.
Consider this a forewarning all you mommas out there. The birth that might rock your world the most? Just might be when the babies you birthed……give birth.
I had no idea what a powerful experience this birth would be. Left my heart so overflowing I can hardly think straight. Oh, brother. So did not expect this!
The baby is fine. Stunning actually.
But I am forever changed……
Would be different from all others.
The birth of Eleanor.
No one prepared me for the beauty. I have gained an entirely new admiration for how much mothers bless the world when they go through childbirth.
Eleanor’s birth has left me a different person, a different mother. The reality is, the entire experience is one of those life events that leaves a mom feeling like Moses coming down from the mountain with his hair transformed into that windblown grey with white streaks coiffure, his eyes lit with the brilliance and radiant light of God’s glory!!! (stop laughing)
It began at the end of the day. Babies do not yet know how tired moms and dads can be at the end of the day.
It was about 9:30 PM when we Maggie texted us ~ contractions were 3 minutes apart. (Say WHAT???)
Less than five minutes later, she also texted that she thought Charlie should call the doctor.
I instantly agreed. Those few words in her text, “about 3 minutes apart” and the fact that two of Maggie’s siblings had actually been born so fast they beat the doctor…….made me skip taking a shower. Plan A (that the older kids would go to Maggie and Charlies and bring Evelyn back here, give me the car to go to help during the birth) was instantly cancelled. If there is only one thing I have learned in all my mothering of over 33 years, it is that Babies oftentimes have their own personal birth plans. Yep, the difference between parental dreams, plans and aspirations and the child’s version? That clash (battle, butting of heads, control freaks most challenging life lesson to learn) pretty much starts at conception. (when will we ever learn?!!!)
Plan A became history.
Instead it was a hurried grab for just a few things, Fr Kentenich’s relic for Maggie, and a mad dash to the car for mom, Bernadette and Agnes. Geesh, the electricity in the air was so intense, We prayed, we planned. Mom advice was torrential. Above all, we talked about how we would need to check the excitement at the door and enter Charles and Maggie’s house with calm, quiet, peacefulness. Calm. Calm? Bleh! Blessed Mother, yikes! I practiced my cleansing breathes. Oh wait, its Maggie who is labor. Gah, settle down Maureen, and pray again for God to give us the grace to be calm for Maggie and Charlie’s sake. It was definitely a time to pray for the grace to be calm…….
It is pretty darn perplexing that one can birth babies, many babies; go through multiple miscarriages and birth of a baby God calls home the same day she is born…..Yep, hold God’s hand through all of those precious mysteries ~ and feel so unprepared to be with a beautiful daughter and her husband as they welcome their new little girl into this world. For days I had wondered how best to help Charlie and Maggie when they were in labor. I felt completely lost for concrete ideas. “What should I do?” “I’ll stand quietly in the corner,” I thought. “I’ll be their photographer.” “If it’s a long labor, I can wait on them, offer them food.” It was none of the above. I wasn’t lost at all. Just in a different place in the miracle of birth. A very beautiful place.
(When Charlie and Maggie had their first baby, it was your standard million hours of labor AND we were at Mayo Clinic with Sam for his Heart Catheterization.)
Truly it was a night of a miraculous birth. God blessing the world with the gift of life….
God granted us the grace of inner calm and stillness of heart as we were blessed to enter into that night that will be forever etched into our hearts. The birth of Eleanor.
Thinking back on the sacred beauty and radiance of those hours, it was like a dance. A very mysterious beautiful dance.
Awkward and painful.
Overwhelming, grit, doubt.
Determination, sorrow, struggle, offerings to heaven.
Pain and comfort, intimate real love.
Pain that became shadows dancing…a heroic husband’s love enveloping a young mother during even the most difficult steps. His words of wisdom and yes, even humor. What a gift his crack-up sense of humor is. His timing always broke through the tension. What a gift to have a husband who can make you laugh in the tough times. His courage holding her up with his strength. Love so pure….
Suffering born with courage, pain “offered up” for many who are loved.
Sorrow. Giving way to light.
Joy, relief, breath. The breathing of a beautiful mother, with her cherished husband devotedly by her side even through some very rough terrain. The first cries of a babe in the quiet darkness of the night. These are the most holy and sacred of times.
Elation filled the air in the moment of Eleanor’s first breath.
I think there are few things in life as grand as indescribable joy breaking in after sorrow.
It was relief of all worry she arrived safe and sound under the care of a loving, saintly physician.
Erasing all of Maggie and Charlie’s pain. (ok, Charlie, I see you rolling your eyes!) Eleanor. A gift of God’s love through Maggie and Charlie. A blessing for the world.
It is all a blur. Such a beautiful blur. Painted with the watercolors of The Masters hand and palette. It was birth.
Moments so sacred and holy that all hearts who traveled the way of sorrow, were transformed and shining bright.
It was a light reflected in the eyes of all blessed to welcome this very precious child. A gift so mysterious no monument or museum could ever display its majesty, essence or beauty. But it was there. I know. The light a new child brings to the world, the rarest of treasures more priceless than the world’s most precious gem….the priceless GIFT of life.
As a dear friend’s father was being born to life in Eternity the very same day, this heaven sent sweet child blessed us all with her birth.
As I drove home close to dawn, how life with all of its mysteries of suffering and true joy filled my thoughts. Joy. Joy over her safe arrival. Joy in the pride of such a beautiful couple who were so champion the whole way of labor and birth. This is the kind of joy that can only be born of risk, challenge, trust in God, pain, sacrifice, suffering. My joy also mixed with much gratitude, for the gift of a saintly doctor, whose father before him did the same…. came in the middle of the night to help those in need. A young couple welcoming a new child, with such a great man to see them safely through to the joy of birth.
As the doctor left in the wee hours of morning, and we all said our good-byes, it made my heart sing to hear Maggie remind the doctor, “Your dad delivered me”. Moments like that? A peace and joy the world could never take away…..
At the end of life, I wonder if we will look back and see that these were the most important times of our lives. I wonder. Will all other achievements of my life pale in comparison? #MyHeartOverflowsWithGratitude