Monday, January 26, 2009

Healing Through Birth

This photo is of my littlest one, right after her birth. I've got birth on my mind these days, and I couldn't help revisiting some old photos.

I was at a birth on Thursday night. If there is a more rewarding job than being a doula, I can't think of it right now. Any of you doulas out there who read this will agree. We women are a powerful lot. Seeing that power radiate is something else indeed.

This birth is on my mind because it was a "Healing Birth". That's what I call second births, when the first one didn't go as the woman planned. Since I have three young ones at home, and my doula partner has two young ones and a third on the way, doula work has taken a bit of a backseat in my life. Our clients are primarily return clients, and a few others having second babies. It is so special to see a baby sister or brother born when you were also a part of their big sibling's birth. It is even more special when the second birth heals the wounds of the first. When a mother is overjoyed with the experience, and so very, very proud of herself.

I don't say this to mean that anyone should feel badly about their birth experiences. I feel the opposite. And I don't presume to say what that birth should look like. But the reality is, for many woman who wanted to give birth in a certain way, when things don't work as planned, there are feelings of regret. So along comes the next birth, and in my doula experience so far, they have all been healing. I don't suppose they all are, but I have been fortunate to witness many women go on to birth how they dreamed of, and it feels great to be a part of it. Who wouldn't love to be part of that?

Even better when the Grandparents are there. It is quite something when a Father is there when his daughter gives birth. He doesn't have to be in the room for the impact to be made, either. This Father at the birth on Thursday was over the moon, and he was on a different floor. But he seemed so honoured to be there, and said as much to me later. I know my Dad feels a lot different about birth after being at my son's entrance into this world. He was in the backyard with my father-in-law, listening while I roared him out. He worked at UBC at the time, where the Midwifery Program was in it's early stages, and boy, he was praising that program to anyone who would listen. A week earlier, he wasn't sure I should be having a baby at home with a midwife, and the next week, he didn't know why anyone would birth any other way if they had the choice. Too funny. And though it wasn't in the plan for them to be there, I was so happy both my father and father-in-law could share in something that in their generation was not where men were invited. And when I had my third baby, there was no question that they were coming as soon as they heard labour had begun!

I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the births I did. My first was born in the hospital. If I had a regret at all, it would be that I didn't have the confidence in myself to have a baby at home then. And the birth was so bloody fast I probably would have been safer at home, and spared myself the agony of trying with every ounce of my being NOT to push my baby out in the truck on the ride to St. Paul's! But it was a great birth, and I have never in my life felt such a sense of pride in myself. My next two births were at home, and they were much more "me". Even as far as how social my husband and I are, and we practically had a party as the family members joined us! At my last birth, including the midwives and my lovely doula and best friend, Sarah, there were 9 adults and 2 (pretty much sleeping) kids! And excellent champagne too. Not bad for a party!

Ah, birth. I could honestly go on all day. If any of you reading will share your birth stories, I would love to read them.

Now I'm off to knit that little baby a little somethin'.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Big Sister

My firstborn, my lovely Faire, is quite the character.

She is such a mix of different family members. Everyone says she looks like me, although I see her Dad in her. She is so tall, slim, with pale-blonde hair and pale-blue eyes. And his great butt, if I'm being totally honest here. She has amazing dancing skills. It astounds me because she hasn't had any dance lessons and we don't have cable (and therefore, MuchMusic) so where did she learn this?? I think it is in her genes, passed down from my sister somehow. My sister is a very good dancer.

Faire's grandma Marilyn has Swedish blood, and Faire has inherited every last drop of it, I think. Hence, she is on an ABBA kick right now that is equally fascinating us and driving us insane. You really can only hear ABBA songs (any of them) a few times repeated before you need a break. Not so with Faire. She knows the track numbers of her favourite songs and just repeats them, over and over and over and over...I am not exagerating here. I have heard "Lay All Your Love On Me" many more times than one single person should have to over their entire lifetime, and this has only been since Christmas (my fault, since I bought her the CD). She drags the speakers into whatever room we are in, so it's just that extra bit louder for us (in case we can't quite hear it at 10 decibles!) and dances on the coffee table so she can watch herself in the mirror over the fireplace. She now has her wee sister involved. Little Isla, who has only a few words, says "ABBA", "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do", "Super Trouper", "Mamma Mia" and shakes her baby butt as she sings in gibberish to the tune I swear is "Lay All Your Love On Me". What's next?

However, despite all the craziness of the ABBA-overload, Faire is such a gem. I tell everyone that the best way to raise three children is to have a firstborn daughter who is at least 5 years old when the third child comes along. They are great help, I must say. But I believe Faire was born to be a big sister. She has never had a moment of anger/jealousy/acting out about these new siblings we've bestowed upon her. And her brother Shea came when she was only 19 and a half months old. Isla's age. I've been thinking of Faire so often lately because when I look at Isla, I can't imagine her accepting a new baby in the family, and becoming a big sister. I don't think I did it half as well when I became a big sister at the same age. Not according to my mom, at any rate! But Faire, at 19 and a half months, did it with ease. He was born at home, and she drew a picture for him in the next room, and said "Baby!" when she heard his first cry. She has smiled at him every day since. What a blessing for him, and Isla.

And me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Come On In

Well, Ive been wanting to knit myself a tea cozy for quite some time now, and I finally did it the other day. The photos were terrible, though. However, knitting myself a tea cozy made me think about all the things I love about a hot cup of tea, and also what I like to do while I am enjoying said cup. One such thing was checking out my favourite blogs, which made me think that "The Tea Cozy" would be a good name for a blog, which made me suddenly sign up for a blog named "The Tea Cozy". Hmmm, what did I learn from this? Perhaps not to knit any more tea cozies, for fear of what I might sign up for next??

I have enjoyed much inspiration from my favourite blogs and I am hoping that having one of my own will continue to inspire me:

To see the joy in my day

To capture and remember my children as they are now, through photos and words

To try new things, and

Follow through on them

So you are welcome to pour yourself a cup of tea, and join me.

Come on in...