My Greatest Labor Of Love




Morning mantra: Surrender & Trust


A couple days before Phoenix was born my dear friend Darrah sent me a text message stating I had everything I needed...that all I had to do was Trust.

Those few little words could not have been more perfect....more timely.  

So I find it interesting that on Saturday, April 28th I woke up and laid in bed with my doggie Nyla thinking only two things: Surrender and Trust.

Surrender and Trust.
Surrender and Trust.

It was like a loud mantra playing over and over in my head.  
A record with a skip.
The way roller coaster workers say the same thing again and again at amusement parks.

Surrender and Trust.
Surrender and Trust.


Can Kind Of See My Feet


That same day I had the most incredible burst of energy.

"Nesting" they call it, I do believe.

When I finally crawled out of bed all I wanted to do was clean.  
The windows, 
the floors, 
the carpet, 
the laundry, 
even the patio.  

I knew he was on his way.  I knew it.

And I decided to take one last wabble down to the pond by our home as well--since I was feeling so lively for the first time in awhile.

I sat there watching the ducks, soaking in the sunshine, and praying my mantra again and again.

Surrender and Trust.
Surrender and Trust.
Surrender and Trust.


Over Flowing


Later that evening Hansel and I sat together in the living room watching Forrest Gump.  It was exactly half past midnight when I got up to go to the bathroom--and as I walked back to the living room I couldn't understand why I had just peed on myself!

So I went to the closet and changed my pajama pants--not thinking much of it.

I sat back down by Hansel and immediately felt like I had to go to the bathroom again--but this time there was more urgency--and as I ran to the bathroom I yelled to Hansel the whole time "I don't know why I'm peeing all over myself."

You can laugh.  
I did.  
Hansel did.  
We both did!

Hansel so sweetly said "Connie, I don't think you're peeing on yourself."

And yes, it finally occurred to me--he was right.  I was not peeing on myself.  This was the beginning.  My water had broken.

I don't know, I guess I imagined in my head things happening differently.  That there would be contractions--I would be laying down--we would use the app Hansel downloaded on his phone to time things.  Something.  

Something different than this.  This caught me by surprise.

Surrender and Trust.
Surrender and Trust.

But my water broke and there was nothing.  I called my doctor and she said take my time going to the birthing center--and so I took a shower, had something small to eat, called my friend who agreed to be my doula, helped Hansel pack up our stuff to take with us, and together we took Nyla for a small walk.

As we walked Nyla together under the stars that night Hansel pointed out that the night we found out I was pregnant we were also watching Forrest Gump---and then too took Nyla for the same walk.  

And here we were again--totally full circle--and this time ready to begin a new part of the journey.  This time ready to meet our little guy face to face.


Sleeping Phoenix


I'm being honest when I say to you that I don't remember a whole lot about the labor.

I know that it lasted 18 hours---I guess you could say 20 hours if you want to begin at that moment when I felt I peed myself!

But it was 18 hours in the birthing center--and nothing I would have ever expected--and nothing that went as I had planned.  Though the entire time I kept hearing again and again Surrender and Trust.  

Surrender and Trust.  
Surrender and Trust.

When my contractions finally began:  Surrender and Trust.
When they got stronger and closer: Surrender and Trust.
When they told me my blood pressure was too high, that I was running a fever, that the pain I was trying to experience naturally was making both of these factors worse for me--and for my sweet Phoenix: Surrender and Trust.
When I finally agreed to the epidural: Surrender and Trust.
When they told me that after 18 hours I was not progressing: Surrender and Trust.
When they said his heartbeat was not looking good: Surrender and Trust.
When they insisted on getting him out now: Surrender and Trust.
When they wheeled me into the surgery room: Surrender and Trust.
When I saw the worry on Hansel's face: Surrender and Trust.
When the drugs they gave me made me feel like the world was spinning: Surrender and Trust.
When I heard his cry for the very first time: Surrender and Trust.
When I told Hansel to run to him as I laid there watching: Surrender and Trust.
When I kissed his face: Surrender and Trust.
When I saw Hansel break into tears: Surrender and Trust.
When I knew that Phoenix was safe: Surrender and Trust.

This How We Roll

When I finally became a mother the only thing I could do--the only thing that was in my control was to Surrender and Trust.

Nothing happened as I expected it to--nothing happened according to plan.

But as traumatic as it was for both Phoenix and I, I would say it was a great success.  

I brought Phoenix into this world surrounded by LOVE.  My dear friends Shirlene and Alicia stayed with me and Hansel the whole time in the birthing center--while Shirlene's husband and two sons sat outside in the waiting room. (THE WHOLE TIME.)

I had friends and family members sitting by the phone--up all night praying--and my dear FEARLESS Painters had created a virtual circle around us as well over on Facebook.  There was nothing but great, great LOVE that shone through those hours of labor.  

It was without a doubt--a great labor of LOVE.

And as each contraction waved through my body I focused on my breathing--but not according to the patterns I learned in birthing class months earlier.  Instead I focused on breathing into my heart--and having my heart expand with each inhale and exhale to engulf both Phoenix and I. 

I would close my eyes and visualize my heart as this safe, sacred space cradling the two of us.  And I would reach for my pulse on my neck and try to match my own heartbeat with his heartbeat that I heard on the monitor.  

We were one.  

It no longer mattered if he came into this world vaginally or through an incision on my belly.  Drugs or no drugs.

I  delivered Phoenix into this world through my own Soul.  

I delivered him the only way I knew best:
Surrender and Trust.
Surrender and Trust.

23 comments:

Robin Westphal said...

I love this Connie. Giving birth is the biggest teacher of surrender and trust. Happy birthing day and happy birthday to sweet Pheonix.

Monika said...

What a beautiful birth story. A beautiful love story. Thank you for sharing your lesson of Surrender and Trust. Many blessings heaped on your little man.

Sara said...

Congratulations, Connie! So glad baby Phoenix is here. I loved your birth story; I read with tears in my eyes. I had a very similar birth with my daughter. I had a hard time accepting that I didn't the birth that I had planned, but I know that from the moment our babies are born (and even before!) they are here to teach us. Surrender and trust are two of may biggest lessons of parenthood so far. Thank you for sharing your beautiful birth. Blessings!

Lis said...

Om Namah Shivaya baby! And bravo! Everything you have ever struggled to learn, master, practice, and cultivate within your life has brought you to this moment.

Atha yoga anushasanam -
Now begins the practice of Yoga.

You all are doing beautifully. Little Phoenix will guide you well :)

xo Lis

Cheryl said...

You are by far the best writer I've ever read. Your story and life are magic personified.

Kristen (Creative Stash) said...

Congrats to you and Hansel and welcome Phoenix! This is a beautiful story, words you will forever treasure - Surrender and Trust. They really helped you on your journey such wise and kind words. Enjoy your little man! Blessings xoxo

willowing said...

I read this twice dear Connie and twice it brought me tears.

C.S. said...

Isn't it the very BEST thing in the world to hear your baby's first cry after delivery? Best wishes for a wonderful Mother's Day ahead.

Hwee said...

Congratulations! Welcome to the world of motherhood!

jane louise said...

so very beautiful my friend it is the creative process all over again surrender and trust <3

Susan Seale said...

Congratulations, Connie! So much love...

Paula - Buenos Aires said...

Such a lovely, loving story. I simled, I got teary and I was with you all the way through it. {big hug}

The Introverted Art said...

oh my gosh Connie, I can't stop crying. As I find myself trying to find my way back, as I find myself deciding if I want a baby (don't even know If I can have one), as I find myself trying to listen to the voice of my heart... You came and gave me the message the Universe has been trying to give me: surrender and trust. Thank you.

Briana, MA said...

I am balling my eyes out. What beauty and honesty. I too, came to a similar conclusion today, but instead the words I heard were, "Let it go, let it go, let it go." Let go of the worry and believe that the Universe is on your side. Your story is living proof of the miracles that can happen.
Love to You, Hansel, and Phoenix
-Briana G.

Elisa Choi said...

your birthing story brought me to tears, Connie. I am so glad both of you are okay. Surrender and trust. These are truly beautiful words to remember and live always. God bless!

Stacie said...

Welcome to the world little Phoenix! Congratulations to you and Hansel on your beautiful little boy :)

Suzana said...

Congratulations on the safe arrival of your beautiful little man. Welcome to the world, Phoenix! :)

scamp (aka Shirley) said...

Oh, yes. Beautifully told, Connie.

Natasha said...

Surrender and trust is a perfect mantra for mama hood. I did laugh at the peeing bit. Cause I did the same with my second baby. But it took me 7 changes to realise I had not lost all control of my bladder. It was so different to my sons waters breaking I just didn't click.

And then I cried. You bought me to tears. Sending you my love. xx

Inner Artist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inner Artist said...

Congratulations Connie and Hansel, and 'Welcome to the World' dear little Phoenix Ariel! What a beautiful little Soul and how lucky he is to have you for parents. And for you, Connie:

"God be with the mother.
As she carried her child, may she carry her soul.
As her child was born, may she give birth and life and form to her own higher truth.
As she nourished and protected her child, may she nourish and protect her inner life and her independence.
For her soul shall be her most painful birth and her most difficult child,
And the dearest sister to her children."
Michael Leunig (who is an Australian artist cartoonist and poet.)

Big love and hugs to you all, especially to little Phoenix. xxoo
PS. I somehow missed the birth announcement but went back and found it just now.

Lou Belcher said...

Ahhhhhhhh... what a beautiful post. I'm sitting over here weeping at how touching it all is. So happy for you.

Lou Lou

Dawn said...

Beautiful Just beautiful. Love to you and all your loved ones, Dawn xx

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