Sunday, May 29, 2011

Confessions of a Mama with Opened Eyes

©Tia 2011. Tia shares her perspective on how sometimes our children come into our lives to open our eyes and our hearts, even if they don’t stay for long. Death is mentioned.

“Take a sad song and make it better...

 I had a 2 year old and a 4 month old when we found out I was pregnant with our third child. During the pregnancy, I was just going by past experience and was going to go to the hospital, get an induction, and have our baby. I was one of those moms who thought women were crazy to birth without "the drugs."

At about 30 weeks pregnant, I had a light bulb moment. I asked myself, "Why did I need an induction? I am a healthy, young mother. Why did I need an epidural?" From that moment, I dived into researching natural birth. As I learned more, I came to the realization that I wasn't going to get the birth I wanted at our local hospital. I researched the local birth center, and I didn't feel that was the right fit either.

Then someone in an online forum suggested I research homebirth. I had never entertained the idea before, but I did some studying and realized that was it! That was what I wanted for my unborn baby and me. 

Now, during these few weeks of research, I didn’t tell a single soul. Even my husband was in the dark. I didn’t want anyone trying to sway my decision. This was my labor, my choice. Once I had clearly made up my mind, at 34 weeks pregnant, I told my husband. He was a little freaked out. His first questions were about the lack of pain medications and the "mess" of a home birth. After a few days of relieving his fears, he was on board. He was, actually, thrilled with the idea of not having to go anywhere.

I had to search hard for a midwife. Homebirth is not a common thing in my area. After getting in touch with a couple midwives a few hours away, they gave me the contact information to one who was closer to me. Come to find out, she lived less than ten minutes from my house! To top it off, she is one of the senior midwives in our state. Boy, had I lucked out! We met her when I was 35 weeks. I switched care from my OB to my midwife at 36 weeks. I began gathering our birth kit supplies and told a couple friends as well.

We had decided to have my best friend there as labor support and another friend to take pictures whenever I happened to go into labor. My appointments continued, our baby was growing well, and we waited. My due date came and went. We just waited. On the night that I was 40 weeks, 3 days, I decided I was just about done waiting. My husband and I tried some natural labor stimulation, and then I paced my house for about two hours. I gave up and went to bed. 

At 5am the next morning, I woke up and ran to the bathroom. My water had broken! After excited calls to my midwife, best friend and updating Facebook, I went back to sleep to get some rest before contractions started. I woke up at about 9am to call my aunt and uncle to ask them to come get our other two children. Nothing was really going on, but I was over sleeping. My midwife came over to check on me, but there was nothing exciting to report.

I was having contractions, but they were barely there. My midwife told us to go for a walk, eat some lunch, and she would be back in a little while. When she returned, I still had nothing new to report. Contractions were about the same. She had me drink a tablespoon of castor oil and said she would be back in an hour. While she was gone, my husband began to massage pressure points known to help contractions, and we rested in bed for a bit. At this point, it was barely after 4pm. 

When my midwife returned, things had picked up a little bit. My contractions were a little stronger and closer together. She asked if I wanted to get in the tub to see if that would help things along. I was eager to get in the water. As my husband was filling up the tub, my contractions started getting really intense. My midwife suggested I call my friends to head over. She was under the impression that I was finally hitting active labor.

Within a couple minutes, my contractions were on top of each other and I was asking to sit on the toilet. I was sure I needed to go. I needed to get something out of me. As soon as I sat down, I knew I did not want to be on the toilet. My midwife asked if I was pushing. I told her I didn't know and that I was just sure I needed to go to the bathroom really bad. I stood up and grabbed on to my husband and knew at that moment I was pushing. I was about to push my baby out standing in the middle of my bathroom!

My midwife and husband helped me out of my dress and into the tub very quickly. As soon as I was in, my baby's head crowned! I freaked out for a brief moment when I had forgotten to breathe through the contraction while climbing into the tub, but my midwife grabbed me and told me I needed to focus. That is all it took. My baby was out and on my chest in just a whisper of a moment. 

We had not decided to find out the sex with our third baby. We had one boy and one girl already. When our baby came out, we sat there, staring and feeling our hearts growing and didn't even know the gender! My midwife reminded us after a couple minutes that we needed to know what to call our little bundle so we peeked between the legs and realized I was holding Jude. Our son, Jude Avery, was born at 5:45pm on August 22, 2010. He weighed 9 lbs, 10 oz.. Within minutes of him being born, my best friend busted through the front door followed shortly by our other friend, the photographer. 

The following weeks and months were amazing. Jude's big brother and sister loved their brother. I grew as a mother every day. His labor and birth opened my eyes to a whole world of natural parenting. I knew that, once my children were in school, I wanted to pursue training to become a homebirth midwife. I wanted to spread the love and joy that I had felt. I began to help friends with parenting issues. If I didn't know the answer, I would search high and low until I found it for them. 

My son was growing everyday. He was just beginning to crawl and sit up on his own. On March 6th, 2011, I put him down for a nap and took my other two children outside to play. My cousin and her friend stopped by to visit so I decided to grill burgers for us all. I will always remember that meal: cheeseburgers with diced pickles in them, peas, corn, and tater tots. Nothing special. We were just talking about how Jude had been napping for quite awhile and how they hoped to see him before they left.

I walked in the bedroom, and I as soon as I saw him I knew. My son was gone. I had to perform CPR on my own son. It was too late. My son, who hadn't even hit his 7-month birthday, was not with us anymore.

I could have shut down. I could have locked myself in a room and never left again but that wouldn't fix anything. I had two more children that I needed to mother. I had to be strong for my two beautiful babies who were still here. My daughter, being barely 19 months, didn't care. My son, at 3 and a half, knew. Every time he saw me cry, he knew those tears were for Jude.

It hurt him to see mommy sad. We were unsure how to explain it to him. Being a blunt 3 year old, he would walk around openly telling everyone that Jude was dead. That hurt a lot. We told him that Jude is sitting on the clouds watching us. Ironically, in those following weeks, there were a lot of days where there were no clouds in the sky. My son would always look up at us confused and ask where Jude was at. We told him he had ridden the clouds to grandma's house to check on her. He was satisfied with that answer.

Today has been two months since my baby left us. It hurts no less than the day it happened, but I continue to be strong. If anything, it has made me stronger. Yes, I still cry everyday, but what mother wouldn't? People are always scared to bring up Jude's name, but I am not. I love talking about his birth and life. If it was not for Jude, I would have never opened my eyes to what birth could be, should be for mamas and babies. I thank him everyday for being here and for letting me be his mother.

Thank you for letting me finally write this all out. I have never sat down to write his birth story before now, and this is the first time I have written about everything else that has happened.

 I know it is hard to read for some, and I, too, skip the second half of it, but I loved his birth.. and his life. I want to be able to scream from the rooftops how thankful I am to be able to be his mother. I want others to know that even in heartache there is light. I am so grateful to have been able to experience all the things I did with him."
 
-Tia

Tiny Angel rest your wings
Sit with me for awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.
Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear....
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.
Tiny Angel can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren't here for very long...
Why is it, you couldn't stay?
Tiny Angel shook his head,
"These things I do not know...
But I do know that you love me,
And that I love you so."

5 comments:

  1. He's beautiful. Thank you Tia for sharing.

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  2. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. And I am so grateful you have experienced a beautiful homebirth. So many emotions in one story!! So much love to you, dear mumma.

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  3. Hi. I'm Kelly. I'm the woman who has your beautiful glass pendants with your baby's precious ashes in them. I'm very honored to help you make a beautiful memory with them when the items you need to do this are ready. I'm so sorry for your loss. You have alot of people thinking about you and your family, people you don't even know. (((hugs)) If you ever need to contact me directly about them my email address is kelly_williams@hotmail.com

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  4. Your story touched me so much. <3 Thank you for sharing.

    Much love,
    Sara

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  5. Thank you for sharing your story. My Jude is 3, and your Jude was born on my birthday. I cannot imagine the heartache, cannot fathom it. Don't have the words to say. But thank you for sharing and celebrating his birth and life.

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