New life has always been a symbol of hope. Birth is a new start. On the wall of our prenatal consultation room a sign reads, "Where there is life, there is hope."
Midwives have the high and holy honor of being with women as they usher in new life and new hope.
Last night at 10pm Lovely arrived in active labor. She seemed shocked by the pain. I lost track of the count, but she said, 'Miss Tara, this hurts' approximately 73 times in the five hours she labored before her little girl arrived.
The only thing to respond, 70 times over, is, "Yes, it hurts. It really does."
Whether you have an easy life and all the material blessings or a very difficult life with a focus of just surviving day-to-day, giving birth is only the first painful thing in a sequence of events that has literally just begun.
It is often said, watching your child grow-up and struggle and develop and become their own person is a bit like living with a piece of your heart outside of the protective wall of your own chest.
Lovely talked a lot during second stage. In between pushes she told us she wasn't sure she could do it. Once after a particularly long contraction with focused pushing she said, "Am I done?"
We said, "The baby is still not out, you're not done but you are getting so close." Lovely told us that KJ had said that it was a little girl during the ultrasound and that she chose the name Chrislove for her daughter but that she would simply call her, Love.
Lovely pushed Love out at 3:13 and ten sconds on Monday the fifth of November.
Her labor had started at home on Saturday night and included the extra hour of "falling back", which hardly seems fair.
In total she worked 34 hours straight. Her labor took her from evening Saturday, through Sunday and into the early hours of Monday before it was finished with a screaming baby girl called Love.
Lovely watched her heart leave her chest last night.
As we dried off little baby Love I noticed her left foot was formed abnormally. I quickly covered her with a warm blanket to wait and get a better look later. Love was placed on her Mother's chest and began to nurse.
When it came time to take Love for her newborn exam and allow Lovely to take a bath and clean up, I lifted Love off her Mom's warm chest and saw that both of her feet had not developed normally. Upon further examination we realized her rectum is abnormal as well.
In those moments the very first irrational thought is, "How can we keep this from upsetting her Mother." As if that is a thing. Midwife Guerline and I whispered about how to tell her. My brain was busy trying to tell me maybe I could wait and tell her until after she had a few hours to sleep.
Moms examine their children, and we knew Lovely would come out of the bathroom to really see her daughter for the first time.We showed Lovely her daughter's gorgeous face and perfect hands, we ooohed and aaahhhed over her. We opened up the blanket and talked about her feet and legs. Lovely shut down fairly quickly. The words of reassurance and hope fell on deaf ears, she needed time to integrate what she had just seen.
After we had Lovely and Love moved out of the birth room and settled in her postpartum bed, Lovely's Mother in Law came to me. She motioned that we go outside. Then she asked me how we could hide the baby's legs from visitors. I didn't understand. I began to tell the Mother in Law that the main focus for now was to encourage Lovely to bond with her baby and to begin breastfeeding, with our without her eager willingness we need Lovely to hope for Love. I said, we don't have to hide her legs, she's beautiful.
Midwife Guerline saw that I was not understanding what was being communicated. Guerline explained that Lovely's Mother in Law was concerned people that came to visit the baby would say inconsiderate things and believe the baby had a demon or a curse upon her, but if we hid her legs, they would not see it and therefore would not hurt Lovely's chance of bonding.
We asked Lovely to let us hope for her until she can hope again.
Will you please pray that supernatural connection is formed today and that by some miracle we can head directly to the correct people that can help address Love's medical needs in a timely manner.
I read this last night while we waited on Love to arrive ....
The deepest darkness is the place where God comes to us.
In the womb, in the night, in the dreaming; when we are lost, when our world has come undone, when we cannot see the next step on the path; in all the darkness that attends our life, whether hopeful darkness or horrendous, God meets us. God’s first priority is not to do away with the dark but to be present to us in it. -Jan Richardson
I pray God comes to Love and Lovely and is present to them now.