Bronwyn Anayah Bowen – you are here.
Your middle name is Hebrew for ‘God has answered.’
I always had dreams of having a little girl one day – to dress up, to braid hair, to indulge in all things girly. Bronwyn, you have been in my heart for a long time – I feel as though I have been holding my breath. Even when the ultrasound technician gave me the joyful news, I held my breath. I wasn’t entirely sure I would be allowed to keep you.
The dreams started to build again after that ultrasound appointment. The anticipation was familiar but it didn’t come without a reminder that the sweetest of dreams can be overturned. And so I held my breath a little, bracing for heartache of some kind until the day you came flying out.
I’m kinda serious, 39 minutes of labour and two pushes and you were out!
You yelled for the first hour – our nurse said you were less than thrilled about your speedy eviction notice. But to me, your yells were a welcome sound of your hearty lungs proclaiming that you were here – alive and well!
I had gone in on your due date for a sweep – your head had been sitting between my legs already for a couple weeks and the past week, I had felt like you could drop out with a sneeze. As the doctor examined me, her eyes widened and she told me I was already five centimetres dilated and fully effaced!
Eager to keep that action going, I went home and got my Banghra dance on (you can thank your Auntie Amanda for that idea). Your Nanny B and Papa came over that night as we anticipated labour pains. But they didn’t come. I was having mild Braxton Hicks contractions but I had been having those all week (guess we know how I got to five centimetres!). I was texting my doctor to update her and she urged us to come to the hospital since the contractions were regular even though mild.
We hung out there for an hour, chatting with Dr. Sivakova and Kat (our nurse). Still nothing. The doctor decided to get things going by popping my water since you were basically ready to drop out but not really in a hurry.
And labour officially commenced at 1 a.m..
Your dad searched Youtube for a favourite Celtic singer to accompany the Frankincense I had diffusing in the room. He came up with the eery soundtrack for Lord of the Rings. As he looked for something less brooding and more relaxing, an attack ad against Stephen Harper broke through my focus on a particularly intense contraction. Everyone’s eyes widened and flicked over to Jesse at the mention of Canada’s most hated prime minister. That ended Jesse’s Youtube search for tranquil Celtic music.
I have always been a big believer in a woman’s ability to manage her pain during labour, to embrace the entirety of what her body is doing. Such an empowering thought until you’re actually feeling each intense wave of pain and you feel your body tense up, resisting it.
But that’s what was different this time – instead of trying to suppress the pain and minimize it, I began to allow each contraction to fully unravel. It is hard to describe but as I continued to do this, something oddly amazing happened. In the last few contractions before I pushed, I felt your head pass down until you were crowning. I waited for my pain level to go through the roof with the next contraction but strangely, it was rather subdued. I knew you were coming very soon and was grateful for a chance to collect my strength. Another mighty contraction and my doctor urged me to push. I reminded myself that I was not going to push my tail bone out as I felt I might and repeated “small head, small head” to myself (thank God you did have a small head…). And with the second and final push, you were out!
My biggest baby, still tiny at 6 lb. 9 oz., born August 13th, 2015 at 1:39 a.m..
I’m fairly certain that I was the happiest I have ever been in my life with those first few minutes of my boys meeting their baby sister for the first time. They were beyond excited and exuded a sweetness I had never seen before.
My family together, complete.
Shaely Rose, I know you shared the moment with us. My heart has cried for the dreams that would never be with you. I actually worried that I might not be capable of ever bringing a little girl safely into the world. I still cannot quite believe that I have been gifted with another little girl. God has answered…
I have been blessed with four little souls in as many years. My heart is full – each of my children has shown me truths of living fully and abundantly. What will our little Bronwyn show us next I wonder?