when we were young…

writing with passion, living with vision and acting with intention


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39 minutes and we had our girl!

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..

Freshie, new baby, fast delivery

big brothers, meet and greet

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?

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Oliver Wesley’s birth story

Oliver, you were born  into the brightness of morning. Looking out the window as I arrived at St. Mary’s hospital that May 29th, 2013 morning, I reflected on how different this delivery was already gearing up to be than my labour with your brother. In a sentence, it was smooth sailing.

It was just your dad and I – my labour with you progressed quite calmly (as calmly as labour can be anyway!). I had Braxton Hicks contractions the whole day before and was quite certain you were going to arrive very soon. I texted my good friend Amanda, who was my doula for Shae, and asked her what she thought. She was confident that “real” labour would commence probably in the early morning. And just after 2 a.m., I had a strong contraction that woke me up.  I lay there trying to fall back to sleep for half an hour but it wasn’t going to happen. I got out of bed and eased myself onto the couch and Googled labour and when it’s a good idea to get oneself to the hospital! I remember reading a bit about if you can still talk through your contractions, you can probably stay at home still. So I sat there and talked to myself through a few contractions.

“I can still talk through this, yeah, it’s pretty strong but I can still talk…oooo….that was a bit stronger than before.” I giggled a little at how silly I must have looked.

The contractions continued at around five minutes apart and about a minute long and were growing in intensity although they were still quite manageable. I decided to have a shower. I was not going to the hospital with greasy hair this time, that was for sure. That was the first shower I’ve ever taken at 3 a.m., Oliver.:-)

After my shower, I crawled back into bed with your Dad who awoke. We lay there for the next two hours deliberating over when we should call my doula, Brit, and our friends, Julie and Bryon, who would be looking after your older brother. We agreed around 5 a.m. based on the progress on my labour.

By the time Julie arrived, I was not talking so well through those contractions anymore if at all. Julie was excited as was I and while your dad took our dog to a friends house to be looked after, Julie prayed for me and you and the delivery. I felt peaceful and confident as Jesse and I drove 25 minutes to the hospital in Sechelt.

Arriving there, we walked ourselves straight up to the maternity ward and the night nurse greeted us warmly and led us into the spacious room where you would be born. Through the huge windows that overlooked the Extra Foods grocery store and other shopping venues, I could also see the ocean and lush coast line. This was so different than Richmond. What’s more is I was the only woman in labour of the two other women in the maternity ward so I had both nurses to myself.:-)

Dr. Bryson arrived shortly after us, around 6 a.m., and together, we awaited your arrival. That was it. No drama, no fuss, no worry, just a mama doing what her body was designed to do and lovely nurses telling her she could yell as loud as she liked because there was really no one around anyway. Funny though, I didn’t holler nearly as bad as I did the first time. But as with my labour with your brother, I got to thinking that epidural sounded mighty nice and like last time, it was just too late to get it because guess what, I was already fully dilated by the time we got to the hospital! I whimpered between contractions because I knew that even though they were hurting bad now, they were about to get a whole lot worse! In a comedic moment that I wasn’t actually able to laugh at because of the contraction I was experiencing, I looked over at your dad who was steadily gazing into my eyes with a gaping mouth and a bobbing head. I realized that he was trying to remind me to keep loose hands and a open mouth (something Amanda had told us was important during labour). I wish I could have snapped a shot of your funny dad, Oliver.

And then, I felt your head crowning and in about 20 minutes, I felt that head swoosh out of me as I hung off the back of the upright bed on my knees. I heard your cry and breathed in sweet relief. It was 8:09 am. It was done and I was no longer pregnant! And there you were, blonde fuzzy hair and what’s down there? …..Balls! We had another boy and within a couple hours, we decided that you were Oliver Wesley Bowen – 6 lbs, 6 oz. and 21 inches of beautiful baby with enormous nostrils and a sweet, heart shaped face. We love you so much!

birth day, 6 b 6 oz big nostrils