Thursday, October 30, 2008

Endings


Today was a mixed day. We had a good morning, although I was tired and my eyes hurt for some reason? I think because I was tired. I don't know if I am still recovering from the weekend roadtrip or if I'm feeling the effects of two and a half months' accumulated sleep disruptions, but I am more tired this week than usual. I'm trying to wean Riley off the soother so he has done more crying than usual this week as well. This wears me down because his cry triggers an emergent, impossible to ignore emotional response in me. Which is instinctual, protective, and good, but tiring if frequent or continuous.
Today I went to visit Sharon, who was one of my two wonderful midwives, and who is now a friend. Riley and I went to her house and we walked together to a nearby cafe for lunch, and then spent several hours walking about in the rain, talking. I really enjoy her company and am glad we are friends (I also really enjoy the company of my other midwife...I really can't say enough wonderful things about the two of them). But today was also a bit sad, because Sharon is moving. Not far, but away. It feels too bad that just at the beginning of our friendship she is moving, so there will be fewer opportunities for us to go for coffee or get together, you know? I came home after spending the afternoon with her and felt really sad. Brent left for work and I felt so down about her moving away that I figured there had to be something besides her moving that was making me feel this way--after all, we will keep in touch so I'm not losing her completely! I examined my brain (all those convolutions sometimes hide the WHY behind me emotions, you know? Lol) and realized that today's visit was an ending. Not an ending for my relationship with Sharon, but an ending to my birth story with Riley. I have anticipated the non surgical birth of a child for as long as I can remember. I guess some girls anticipate weddings, dressing up like princesses and parading around 'marrying' their brothers and cousins, and I did my fair share of that as a child, but I am realizing more and more just how much I anticipated having babies. I have always been fascinated by babies, birth, pregnancy, and everything related, and dreamed about being pregnant much like other girls dream about weddings. Ayden was SO NOT what I had anticipated, simply because I wasn't ready for him when he came about. But always in the back of my head I thought, "Next time." Next time I will plan for it, be ready for it, embrace it, enjoy it, learn about it, and have that natural delivery and pregnancy that I always wanted and anticipated having. I was blessed! Next time happened, and I was ready for it, and I embraced and enjoyed it. Sure, I complained when I was pregnant and uncomfortable and everyone told me I was huge, but in all I enjoyed it. And the labour and delivery was wonderful (blessed there, too!). And the newborn intensity was so powerful and positive that I didn't want to sleep, for I didn't want to waste a single minute of it!
That postpartum period was punctuated with midwife visits. Because I wrestled with anxiety for the first three weeks after Riley was born, I continued to see my midwives for eight weeks after he was born, instead of the usual six, just to be sure I was okay emotionally before we finished. And after our eight week visit we invited both Sharon and Jeanette over for supper at our crazy house, and then Sharon and I planned to get together for coffee, so every time I would think "I'm not going to midwife visits anymore" I would also think, "But I will see them for dinner" or "coffee" and feel better. I've never been good with change, or goodbyes, or the swift unrelenting passage of time, so it was difficult for me to close that chapter of my birth experience with Riley. And today was the final "But I will..." that I was looking forward to, you know? Something about no more midwife visits AND Sharon moving seemed more concrete. More painful. More of a loss. I have not felt as sad as I did this evening in several years, and I think it was because my birth story was so anticipated, and it is finished. My relationship with Sharon is not finished, and for that I am glad. But today was symbolic for me of the end of this birth story I had hoped and planned for, and that was so sad for me that it hurt physically. It may be weird to feel intense grief over something like this! But it is real!
Tonight in light of this awareness of an ending to this experience I was very aware of how swiftly time passes. I look at Ayden and I really can't understand how five years have passed and he is this wonderful amazing funny wild crazy kindergartner--two more breaths and he will be a teenager, I know it...don't I know it....
And Matthew--wasn't he just a picture in my hand, and a baby in our house, smearing boogers everywhere and splashing in the bathtub?
And Riley, wasn't he just a delicate web of cells in my body, an idea, a dream?
What happened? What happened? How does time GO?

If God has any sense, heaven will be where I can step through time and revisit any day in my history that I choose. Then I can go back and kiss my babies and watch them learn to crawl and walk and eat and talk and sing and memorize their letters anytime I like. THAT is heaven, to me!

(image)

7 comments:

Louise and Gary Chapman said...

Just in response to Riley's cry...it's amazing how your young childs cry will go right to your inner core immediately. I remember my mother-in-law trying to soothe Kai as a baby and all I wanted to shout was `give him to me!!! mommy can do it!!!'. Appreciate your reflection. I'm so glad that you got to experience all you ever dreamed of in regards to Riley's birth!

tamie said...

Aw baby. The grief really is real, and it doesn't sound crazy to me at all. I'm thinking about you tonight. I love you.

Asheya said...

We have been given such precious moments. I can't believe how the time goes either. Where did my newborn go? She has two teeth and is crawling!

Sometimes in the midst of feeling tired and overburdened and like mommy cow for everyone (yup, for grown up boy man too), I think to myself that in not too many years I will probably look back on these years as some of the best of my life. And they are. They are.

melissa said...

Thank you friends! I really needed some support...we've been having gloomy weather on top of my grief, which doesn't help how I feel.
It is true, that I've been blessed, by my babies, by my birth experience, and by you guys, and I keenly know that these are some of the best years of my life, which makes it all the more difficult to watch them accumulate so quickly. Though I definitely should remember to think of that when my kids are driving me crazy and my husband is a slob and I just want to swear at everyone!

I commend you, Asheya, for nursing two at once. You are an angel. It's not easy! Your gift to Elias and Eowyn in this area is beautiful, but I know it is not always easy or pleasant.
Beautiful, and one of the best gifts you can give.

Thank you, louise, tamie, and asheya, for understanding. It makes so much difference when I feel heard and understood. xo.

Jen said...

I can understand that. You anticipate something, anything for that long and your sure to feel disappointed when it's over. Makes perfect sense to me.

What a gift to have experienced what you hoped for to the full. And you're right, that Riley is perfect.

Deb said...

It's funny the things you get emotional over in regards to babies. Aria was 6 weeks early, and after she was born, I mourned missing the horrible "I'm huge and can't wait to get this baby out of me" feelings that should have lasted 6 more weeks. I also cry every time I pack more baby clothes away. But it's good to feel - even when those feelings are sometimes sad - it makes the good ones so much richer.

lori lls said...

I hear whatcher saying about Riley's birth. I imagine I'll experience some of those same emotions in the coming months. There's so much build up to the event! Nine months' worth, in fact. And then within a day or so, it's over, right?

As consolation, I believe your story will live on as long as you can tell it or someone remembers it. These days I'm listening to birthing stories that happened weeks ago and others that happened 100 years ago. Yours specifically has strengthened me, and in your midwivery endeavors, I'm sure it will only add to what you have to offer other women by way of empathy.

You've become a mother in three distinct ways! That in and of itself is special.