Monday, October 15, 2012

Destiny Starr

When an Angel Falls: The Day My Daughter Died

Tonia Rich
I never wanted anything more than to simply be a mother and a wife. Call me old-fashioned, but it's really everything I ever desired. Up until now, I had it all. A passionate artist whom I was married to, a man who wept at the birth of our first son. A man who hugged me so tight I could scarcely breath when I showed him the positive pregnancy test of our second child. Oh, our world is simple and lovely. But I am on this cold winter's day. Lying alone in a midiwives office dressed in this damn paper gown that looks to me for all the world to be nothing but an oversized napkin. Lying on deli-style paper on this bed. I feel like a freaking sandwich. I cannot even laugh at my own twisted humor at this moment. I am too scared. Too scared to face what I already know is TRUTH. The ultrasound machine sits a couple of feet away, its screen turned away from me as if it is too ashamed to show it's face to me. I am too chicken to sit up and turn it. The technician had asked me, just a few moments ago if I have had had any bleeding or pains at all. At four months pregnant I am not concerned about that anymore, didn't the threat for miscarriage drop significantly by month three? I breezily replied "Nope! None at all!" It was not until she left the room with her lame excuse to retrieve paperwork that it hit me why she would ask such a question.
Oh god, no.
For some reason they would not allow my husband in the room. He is out in the hall on an orange plastic chair. I think they knew. Knew before they saw.
I know I did. Something within me whispering that this child was not mine to keep. So, here I am in this dim room, listening to the hum of the ultrasound machine and obsessivly counting the dots in the cieling tiles because this is safer than allowing my mind to think. I am counting, dividing and multiplying...I hate math and am no good at it but the concentration it takes feels safe.
Finally the door swings open. The technician comes back in, followed by the head midwife whom I have met before. She looks at me sadly, with pity and begins to speak (Good God, is she really going to tell me this when I am lying here half naked and alone????)
"Tonia, I have bad news...."
I sit bolt upright and the words pour out fast and jumbled though somehow in the right order nonetheless. "Canmyhusbandbeinhereplease?"
Then there he is, my sweet, strong knight, looking confused and concerned and a little scared as well. (Here beside me, hold my hand, baby. This is gonna hurt like hell.) I am sure he is hearing every word that the midwife says but it flows over and through me, and I cannot absorb it all. Certain phrases pop out and stab me like knives. "No heartbeat, no growth....cancerous mass....." I sob loudly into his shoulder. He does not tell me it will be okay, just says "shhhhhh" and I feel I must be embarassing him, embarassing them all so I dry up, shut off. The midwife asks when I want to do a D&C operation to "remove the fetus" She speaks of risk of infection. My baby has been dead within me for nearly 8 weeks now and I never even knew. I feel like I have failed at this mother game. I tell her I need time. When we go outside the air is bitter and it looks like it may begin to snow. Home then. I use the bathroom and peer into the toilet for blood.
There is none. I contemplate that maybe they are wrong. Denial is a tender friend but it serves no purpose.
Later that night my Prince leaves for work. I tell him I am fine. I lied. After our son is tucked into bed I sit by the livingroom window, staring up at the stars and I sob, angry, loud, impolite sobs. I try to pray. But I am angry with God and I end up cursing Him instead. (It will be 5 years before I find my way back to trusting God) I pour out my hot tears like blood but it cannot bring back my lost baby. The next day I yell at my husband for not grieving as openly as I do. I cannot understand this. It is not until years later that I understand he is trying to be strong so I can fall apart.
A week later I go to the hospital for the D&C. The operating room is larger than I expected and I feel very, very small. I want my Mommy. I am freezing, shivering uncontrollably and a kind nurse covers me with three blankets and I cling to her hand. Then I am asleep.......
I awake groogy in the recovery room, a blood-soaked pad between my legs, my head refusing to clear. They wheel me through the halls and outside to where my mother's car is parked. Something is not right, I cannot focus, cannot make my thoughts fit together..... I stand and then fall, crumple like a discarded piece of paper, eyes wide open but totally unconsious due to massive blood loss. My mother runs, yelling into the hospital demanding for a doctor NOW. I lie unaware on the icy sidewalk while a scared candy striper stands beside me. I dream. Dream I am in the car with my mom. We are driving along the interstate, the baby in my arms and I demand for her to slow down. Slow down becase the baby is here with us. She is talking to me "Tonia...Tonia...." I awake to find her calling my name, the fear in her voice so thick and raw.
I beg them not to do a blood transfusion. I just want to go home. I miss home. I miss my son, my husband. I come THISCLOSE to needing the transfusion but my count begins to creep back up. My husband, whose boss had refused him time off today, walks right out of work after my mother calls him. He clutches my hand on the drive home and won't let go. At home he helps me to the bathroom. I catch a glimpse of us in the mirror, my face yellow from the blood loss. He sets the iron pills on the counter. I go to sleep and dream. Of our child. She is so beautiful it hurts to look at her. About three years old with wavy dark hair and my big blue eyes. Her smile looks like her Dad's. She is so close but just out of reach. I awake calling her name, my palm on my flat belly. I cry then, mourning the loss of what I never even got to have. Mourning the loss of a part of myself, of our family, of the future she will never have. I named her Destiny Starr. I miss her still.
Published by Tonia Rich
I am a freelance writer and stay at home mama in Western North Carolina. My days are filled with raising four sons,dancing, singing,cleaning house and writing. God is my faith, My sons are my joy, my friends... View profile


Post a Comment
  • Angie LaBonte9/25/2007
    You know you are a great writer when your words make the reader feel every emotion you did... very proud of your first publishing!
  • Theresa Brown9/14/2007
    When an angel falls is emotional,heartbreaking and full of fear. Very impressed-great work!! Looking forward to another great story. Tonia, you were born to be a writer!
  • Alisa9/13/2007
    Tonia, I remember when u'r mom e-mailed me about u'r condition...I was praying for u and u'r husband.
    I am so very sorry about u'r loss the loss of a child is the most painful emotion a parent could ever go thru.
    Know that all things do work together for good even if we don't understand...God always knows what he is doing and why..We just have to trust, even when it is so hard.
    Lexy just went thru almost the exact thing eccept for the blood transfusion..however her problem is they can't get her Hormones down and they are dangerously high it has been over a month already.
    She can relate to your pain more then alot of people who try to understand and have sympathy for u, but it will never be as clear to them unless they experience it first hand.
    Congratulations on u'r writting being published :)
  • Rose Petersen9/12/2007
    Wow Tonia!! This is great! So emotional and sad. I only wanted to read more! You truly are a STAR!!!! Keep writing-You are sooo talented!
  • Genie Walker9/11/2007
    This is a extremely well written article. You are a master at stirring up emotions. I gotta go wipe my eyes before trotting off to work.
  • Angela Russell9/11/2007
    It's a horrible thing to go through, and while the pain eases, you always remember.
  • Elena H.9/11/2007
    You write so beautifully about such a sad event. Your gift for expression is amazing. I look forward to the rest of the story of your life.I know there is more because of the phrase "It will be five years before I find my way back to trusting God". Welcome.
  • Celeste Parker9/10/2007
    I'm so sorry for what you went thru. Having a miscarriage is an awful hard thing. I have a few and it's something you never completely get over. This is a wonderful article.
Displaying Comments

Post a Comment as

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Be The Difference You Wish To See In The World

Earlier this week, at a high school mere minutes from my home, a 15 year old boy hung himself. I cannot wrap my mind around what he must have been feeling and thinking in those moments. Even though I myself have had my own battles with debilitating depression, and even contemplated suicide in my pwn mind...I have never actually attempted it. I do know the utter darkness and lonliness of feeling the world would be better off without me....I cannot imagine how much more unbearable it must be to those who follow through on the pondering of ending it. My heart has been aching at the thought of such a young life being so abruptly stopped. the tragedy is in the fact it COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. This was not a physical cause of death...this was emotional and mental. And what keeps rolling around in my mind is "How little of an effort could it have taken to stop him from reaching that point????" How utterly alone did he feel? Was there no one who could have impacted his belief that this was his only choice? Damien has a webpage now on Facebook that honors his memory. In just a few days the followers of that page reached over 2,000. Out of those 2, many tried to tell him how loved he was BEFORE his death?
Funerals never made much sense to me. People standing up and sharing their love and appreciation for people who cannot even see nor hear it all. Why do we wait until a person is gone? If he had known 2,000 people CARED.....I doubt he would have still killed himself.
Many of you know my fiance passed away in January of 2011. It was an accidental death, not a suicide. But a week before his passing, in a haunting moment of ephinany of his impending death I believe, he said to me, "If I died today, I doubt anyone would care. No one would even come to my funeral." He struggled with alot of self esteem issues and truly felt that way. At his funeral, while I sat in the limo following the hearse with his family, his mother turned and looked out teh back window at the seemingly uneneding line of cars following us, all with flashers on......a good mile or so of funeral procession....and she said sadly "Oh, I wish he could see this." And it struck me in that moment, how many people loved himand grieved the loss of him. AND HE NEVER EVEN KNEW. His death was a resuult of an accident which was a result of his druinking which he did to deal with his low self esteem and depression issues. So, in a way, I can see how easily avoidable HIS death was also.
I write this not with the intent to offend anyone. I just want to point out how we as a people seem to be failing one another. Ity doesnt take much effort to smile at someone, to say hello, to ask how they are doing. Just a minute of conversation can save a life. And you  may never even know. When I was a teenager I worked with this girl who was difficult to be friendly with. She was disagreeable and miserable. No one liked her. But in my obnoxious and stubborn way I woudl smile at her every day, sing silly songs at her to try and get her to smile, hug her every day when I got to work. She always shoved me away and seemed to ignore me. But at the end of the summer she handed me a note before we left work on the ranch. That note explained about her difficult home life ad her plans to kill herself when she got back home. But she had changed those plans because I had shown her I cared about her and said I loved her...something no one had ever told her. My simple, silly actions and words saved a life and i had not even realized it.
Keep that in mind as you go through your day to day living. Show a little love. It wont take much to make a HUGE difference. <3 Your actions and words carry GREAT power.

Monday, September 3, 2012

To My Baby Brother On His 24th Birthday

It was a boring Autumn day. Boring because I was stuck at my Grandmas house (and not the FUN Gram, by the way. This was my step-dads mother, her home filled with fancy, untouchable knick knacks and rules) The phone rang and my step-dads sister answered. I stood in anticipation behind her, hovering expectantly. With the phone still to her ear she turned to me all smiles and announced "Its a boy, Tonia! You have a baby brother!" I promptly about-faced it and stomped off to pout. A BROTHER. A BROTHER? What fun was THAT? How could an 8 year old girl play with a stinky BOY? Ugh
I met you the next day. In a white hospital room. I sat obediently in the chair by the bed and was handed this tiny blanket-burrito wrapped bundle with a hat on. You had ths doll-sized face and I kissed it. You were so small, so fragile, I was scared I might drop you and break you and get in trouble.
I didnt though. Instead, I dove in to being little mommy to you when we all got home. It was fun, sort of like playing house. You made cute sounds, and as you got older your  little personality began to come out. I was fiercly protective of you. You were cute, chubby and fun to play with. (Despite the fact you were a BOY.) We shared a room for  a long time and my favorite thing was at bedtime I would take you in my arms when I was 12 and you were 3 and rock you to sleep while singing "your" song. (the one I always sang to you) "Kuckabearah sits in the old gum-tree, eating all the gumdrops you can see....laugh kuckabearah, laugh kuckabearah, merry merry life you lead! Kuckabearah sits in the old gum-tree, eating all teh gumdrops you can see. Stop kuckabearah! Stop Kuckabearah! save some there for me!"  Youd smile until your eyes would close in sleep. <3

As years went by, we had our troubles and scuffles and spats, as all siblings do. In my rebellious teen years I would sneak cigarettes or sneak friends over after school while mom was at work. Id bribe you with candy bars so you wouldnt tell on me. Youd sweetly agree to the deal, snarf down the candy bar and promptly rat me out when mom walked in the door. (Speaking of, you owe me about 2 dozen candy bars. You'd think I would have just learned you worked for the enemy.) There were times growing up I wished i ddnt have a little brother. You drove me nuts, you embarassed me in front of  my friends......but honestly, as we grew up I began to realize the golden blessing of growing up with you. We share the same history, the same trademarks, the same sense of humor. One of my favorite memories, and one m not sure you willeven recall, because its so basic and this: The day when you were nearing adulthood and I was already an adult with 2 young sons. We were hagning at the kitchen table together, eating our seperate dinners in silence. We hadnt always meshed so well over the years, our personalities so vastly different. And then  had gone and gotten married and had babies while you had gotten your first serious girlfriend. We hadnt talked much recently but that day we bagan to chat. Nothing heavy, just casual banter. The inside jokes and such that only siblings can really understand. In the midst of our bantering, our mom laughed from behind her bedroom door where she was on a phone call. To this day I cant tell you why it struck us both as hysterical, but we both cracked up in the moment. It was a real true blue belly laugh and in the moment any awkward distance between us that may have developed over the years was replaced by this: just two kids caught in a moment of sheer happiness, enjoying eachother. I think often of how much I miss joking and laughing with you.
In 2009 my son Drezdyn was born. His father was an abusive "man." and I prayed every day of that pregnancy that my unborn child would grow up to be nothing like him. So, in the naming of him, while his father insisted he have HIS name, I found a loophole by giving him TWO middle names, the first being YOURS. Because it was my hearts desire that my child grow up to be like you. Thus was born Drezdyn Nicholas-Jesse.
In June of 2011 I got remarried. By then you were a full fledged adult. You came to North Carolina to give me away at the wedding, per my request. I had no father to do it and in my mind, you were a man of honor that I looked up to, even though you were younger than I. You were taller than me at this point, and had been for quite some time. I was sad that you had to go back home.
I know I dont say it much (Im so much better at teasing.) But I want you to know how very proud I am of you, how much I adore you and how often I brag on you to others. I am so very glad you came into my life on that September day in 1988. I always will be. xoxo

You are the comfortable ease to a well worn shoe,
I am the lightnng bolt, the unpredictable of us two,
You are the quiet, the pondering soul,
I am the cinders that blaze up the coals,
You are the stash of halloween candy in May,
I am one-yellow sock who cant find her stray.
You are  a bank account at 12 years old,
I am the waster of money for anything worth sold.
Youre take-two-hours-to-eat,
Im speed talker, speed walker, runner-of-feet,
You are an eagle perched in strength and  grace,
I am a bright blue ball bouncing all over the place.
You are all I wish I could be,
You are the shining parts of me,
You are the first baby boy I ever knew,
And with all my heart I say I LOVE YOU.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

How DOES She Do It?

Nearly every day someone says to me "I don't know HOW you do it!" usually followed by a "I'd lose my mind!" First of all, let me point out, I didnt give birth to all 6 of my sons on the same day. I have had 12 years to gradually get accustomed to being a mom of 6 children. (I guess what  am saying is the breakdown of my sanity has happened in small increments, not all at once.) Its been a learning process. And honestly, I feel more sure of myself as a mother of six than I ever did when I only had one. That being said though, I have to admit many different tactics and approaches have been tried and disposed of in my home before we got to this point. Here are some things I stand on as a mother. This is what works in our home.
1) expect respect. And teach them how to give it by giving it to them. There is a rule in our family that when our children  respond to adults it's with a "Yes Mam.No Mam." or "Yes Sir. No Sir." They must make eye contact when being spoken to by an adult. They are not allowed to call eachother names like "Stupid". They are to respect eachother's need for personal space when it is needed. In turn, we as their parents teach them through example that respect is vital. We knock before entering their rooms. We don't go through their personal belongings (ie:backpacks, journals) without their consent UNLESS we are concerned for their safety or something like that. (Ie: If we thnk they might be smoking or stealing or something of that sort) In which case, we explain why we are invading privacy and allow them to be witness to it so we do not overstep boundaries and we always apologize if our suspicions turn out to be unwarranted. We also have learned that respecting one another as parents teaches a loud example. Even if we do not neccesarily agree with eachother, we do not discuss it in front of them, but rather back eachother up and stand as a united front.
2) We DO NOT HIT. Ever. A parent hitting a child is, IMO, an adult temper tantrum. You are angry with a certain behavior, your immediate reaction is to show your anger and teach the child a lesson. But sadly, the lesson most often learned is "Violence solves problems." I have seen it with my own children firsthand. We USED to be a spanking household. (and for the love of GOD, call it spanking. I hate the term "popping." Its NEVER just a "pop" or "swat" How would you feel if a person much bgger abd stronger than you hit you and then just called it a "swat" and shrugged it off as acceptable. rant end.) But anyway, what I saw with my own children is, it led to them feeling frustrated and scared and angry which resulted in MORe misbehavior and also to them lashing out physically in anger towards eachother. So, we lean heavily on COMMUNICATION in our home. I explain rules and why they exist. I explain consequences. I explain firmly that it is my JOB as thier mother, my God-given responsibility to raise them to be respectful, honorable young men. often times, natural consequences work best. For example, if a child refuses to eat his dinnert, he doesnt get dessert. If he refuses to hang his coat up like I reminded him to do, he goes without it the next day when he wants it for school.Just ths morning my 7 year old chose to fool around and ignore my reminders that we were leaving for church soon. So, after the ten & five minute warning that we were leaving soon, I promptly led him out to the van, his shoes in my hand as he had still not put them on. He was able to put his shoes on in the van but had not had time to get socks due to the fooling around so he3 went sock-less. lesson learned:Mommy means business when she says we are leaving in five minutes! Which leads me to my other discipline rule: ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH. I have heard parents threaten to "never take their child anywhere again." um....unless you plan on becoming a social recluse, DON'T threaten such empty foolish threats. makde the consequences clear and stand by them! If they wont get ice cream for acting up in the grocery store, don't cave simply because they throw a fit and cry for a half hour. (Just inform them they can go cry elsewhere.) Children who know exactly where the lines are drawn are far less likely to cross them.
And my third key to discipline in our home: Time outs. There is really no hard-fast technique to this one. Because every kid s different. Time out simply means taking a break from the person or situation that is causing misbehavior. Sometimes, this requires a seat on the kitchen stool for a few inutes to calm down and gaqther their wits and ponder behavioral changes required. Sometimes, this means a cuddle and talk-time with mommy in her room. (keep in mind, often times misbehavior stems from stress, fears, etc in a child. My 9 year old often comes home in a ROTTEN mood and takes it out on his brothers. When I speak to him in private he will admit someone was mean to him on the bus or he had been scolded at school by his teacher, etc....this is an oppurtunity to teach him communication skills and problem solving and anger management. Learn your childs temperment and learn to work with it. Get creative. I make my older children write essays about why they need to be kind when they hurt someone or I make them write lists of ten things they like about eachother when they are name-calling one another. Think outside the box!
3) RESPONSIBILITY. I don't do allowance. Im a mean mom that way. ;) I feel that qwe are a family unit and it is the responsibilty of all involved to keep our home runningsmoothly and to help eachother out. My kids do not do chores to earn cash. They do chores to teach them self-reliance, know-how, helpfulness, respect of property, etc.... On top of chores, my elder sons are also expected to keep an eye out for their younger brothers and help with them with needed. (Ie: run shower water for them, change the baby if Mommy is busy cooking dinner, keep an eye on the younger two so they dont go out of teh yard when playing outside) Being a mother of six is not half as stressful when you know you have responsible eyes and ears and extra sets of hands to help if needed. I have so many friends wth older children, even TEENAGERS who do not do chores at all. I cannot fathom this. I begin chores wth my kids when they are a year old. as soon as they can understand how to scoop up toys and throw them in a toy box, that is their first chore. as soon as they know how to walk, they can carry an empty plate from the dinner table to put in the sink. (granted at that age they are short lil folks and therefore must stand on tip toes and strreeetttcchhh to push it into the sink. Therefore, invest in some plastic dishes. trust me on this) we did rotating chores for awhile, with this elaborate chore chart hanging in our hall. And it worked okay for awhile but they began bartering over trades and complaning one job was harder than another, etc..... So, I recently have switched over to "Zones." Each child has a Zone of the home they are responsible for. I learned ths trick from a show I watched called "My extraordinary Family" which showcased a famly with 19 kids. I figured if they made it work with that many, I could surely pull it off with 6! So, my 11 year old son, Zane, has laundry. Granted, I do an average of 3-5 loads a DAY, but he is responsible for 1 load a day to wash, dry, fold and put away. as he gets older  will add on to it. My 9 year old Aidan wanst to be a chef so I gave him the logical job of dinner. ths includes all prep work and cooking. I stay nearby to lend a helping hand or answer any questions, but the kid is impressivly handy with a knife, grating, peeling, sauteing, etc.... Bailey, my 7 year old son washes dishes every night after dinner. My 5 year old, Creed is in charge of cleaning the bathroom daily. this includes the toilet, the sink,countertop, tub and mopping the floor. (strange kid LOVES this job.) Drezdyn is 3 and he helps me pick up the yard every evening of stray toys, bikes, etc and sweeps off our deck with his mini-sized broom. (BEST Christmas gift EVER, BTW. He spent almost an hour sweeping our dirt driveway yesterday) :) On top of daily zones, they are also expected to clear their dishes, put laundry in the baskets, and make thier beds. They do all this with plenty of time left for play so Im not a slave driver. What I am, is a mom preparing her sons for manhood. Someday thier wives will thank me.
4) God. He is our core, our center, our foundation. we attend church as a family twice a week. We play christian music in our home. My kids see us worshpping. we pray before meals.I pray over my three oldest every morning before they go to school. We dscuss bible topics and answer questions about such. Thier father Dave is a new chrstian as well as a new father/stepdad. (he's been doing this for a little over a year now.) It has been a HUGE transition for him to go from a partying agnostic to a christian father, to say the least. But he is learning to teach through example, by speaking respectfully to me in front of them, by beng a firm but loving dad when he disciplines, by leading us to church each week.  try daily to be a godly wife, to allow him to be head of our home, to be respectful and honorable. To make wise choices in the household affairs and in the raising off our children. When our sons have behavioral issues that we must address, we try to incorporate the bible. (Ie: When they react in anger because a brother hits them and they hit back we remind them the word of God says "Do not return evil with evil" and "Turn the other cheek." ) Because more than anything in my life, years from now when I am looking at my grandchildren and watching how my sons are raising them, I ferverently hope and pray that they will be godly men passing down what they have learned.I  want them to be faithful, kind, helpful, loving husbands.  want them to be heads of homes. I want them to be patient, loving, firm, strong fathers. I want them to work hard for thier money, to never be in legal trouble, to seek God in all of thier choices. It may be a tall order, but I stand on the promise of "Train up a child in the way he should go...."
Im not a miracle worker. Im not a saint. Im not a glutton for punishment nor a martyr. I am simply a mother loving her sons and taking it day by day. I am a mother thankful for the precious gift God has given, and always always always aware of teh responsibiloity that comes with such a gift.This is just what works for us. This is simply how I do it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Birth Story of My Sixth Son

On July 31st I informed my husband matter-of-factly that our son was to be born that Thursday. He eyed  me doubtfully, in his way of dealing with his nutty wife. (How can one explain that deep internalized intuition of a pregnant woman who is fully in-tune with her unborn babe?) It was Tuesday. 48 hours later, at 8 a.m. on Thursday (ahem...) I awoke to a gush of fluid between my legs in the recliner I'd taken to sleeping in for the past month. I wasn't sure if it was my water breaking or me peeing since A)My water had never broken in any of my previous pregnancies until I began pushing and B) anyone who has had more than one child knows how easy loss of bladder control can happen. (ah, pregnancy, oh-so-sexy) But throughout the morning I continued to have a steady, albeit light, trickle of leaking fluid. I kept pads on and waited excitedly for labor to begin.
Not a twinge, not a cramp, nada......I was practically crawling the walls in giddy glee that my son would be in my arms SOON...and yet....nothing was happening. Sigh. I walked circles in my yard, cleaned my house, set up the pool outside that we had gotten the day before.....nothing. So, on with my day I went, praying and waitingwaitingwaiting.....
At 5:30 we left the house and went to church. I ate a hearty meal, listened to some worship songs, enjoyed the peace-filled oasis of fellowship, and leaked straight through my pad. Opps! So, my brothers and sisters gathered around to lift our family up in prayer and we scooted out the door and back home. The moment we pulled into our driveway the first contraction hit. Whew! No braxton hicks preperation contractions.....this one caused me to pause and breathe through before getting out of the van. From then on, they came in waves, every ten minutes or so. I stood in the hot shower, singing, the warmth easing the pain in my lower back as I thought back to the week before when our family had taken a two day vacation to Charleston, South Carolina to a beach there. I had waddled out across teh broad expanse of hot white sand and on into the cool saltwater of the ocean. Out deep until the waves were over my head. I would dive straight into them, twistturn under the water, burst forth and up as the wave broke on the other side of me. Other times I'd float under the waves, allowing the pressure and weight of the waves to drag me further out, then push me back towards the shore. Not in an out-of-control drowning sort of way...but in an ebb and flow type of way. I likened the experience to how my baby would be born, the waves much like contractions. To fight something so much bigger would be to exhaust oneself uselessly. So, during labor, I let the contractions wash over and through me. I welcomed the steady increase of power. I burst forth and up out of each one, breathing deep through the lulls in peace.
At 11 p.m. the strength intensified. Majorly. In fact, when people asked me how the labor went afterwards I replied "Fast and Intense." Contractions were about 2.5 minutes apart at that point, lasting a little over a minute and were all I was aware of. I would feel it coming and drop down to a squat, breathe in deepdeepdeep until my lungs were full, and then release it in a ROAR, a groanmoangrowlroar. Whatever noises my soul wanted to make was what came out. I was in my livingroom, the lights were dim, the tv was muted, the children slept through the noise somehow. I was safe and loved. My husband was by my side, reminding me of my power, my strength, my faith. I clung to his hand at times, looked deep in his eyes. Other contractions I prayed, thanked God for His presence, felt the peace of Him all around and was grateful for it.
By 1:00 I was exhausted. Everything had gone otherwordly, sharp in color in some places, muted and softened in others. Contractions were about 1.5 minutes apart and lasted about the same length. I had been in a squat, clinging to my recliner, towels under me on the floor for about an hour. I knew nothing but the journey and the destination. If the house had been on fire I would have remained there, incapable of comprehending anything but the pressure. I checked my dilation and discovered his head was only about 2 inches up. His hot little orb of a skull was so close.....
Pushing was a release. I felt zero discomfort when pushing. my focus was transferred to my goal. The voices around me told me to push, counted loud in annoying cheerleader voices to ten...I ignored them, kept pushingpushingpushing......until I felt his head brimming, stretching, opening me. I could have sworn I was ripping. I cried out in a huge gust of a roar, then dove back in under the wave and this time pushed through the pain, instead of riding the wave. It was surreal, I felt his little head push out into theworld, and at the same time, I felt his limbs, his arms and legs twistturnrollwriggle inside of me. For that brief moment he was in both worlds, then in a gush of heat and release he slipped all the way out.
Daddy cut the cord. He was wrapped in a white towel, his mouth and nose sucked clean with the bulb aspirator, then laid on my bare chest like a trophy of glory, grace and love. Dave cried. I kissed my son and told him how much I loved him.
Blaze Marley-Honor was weighed and measured. 7 pounds, 3 ounces. 19.5 inches long. For some odd reason, these are the stats everyone requests after a child is born. They don't mean much to me. Here are the things I find to be most crucial in the recollection.
Blaze looks almost exactly like his father. But when I look in his bright eyes I see my own soul there. I am fascinated by our connection. From the ability to request to my unborn child when his birth date would occur, to the fact I can tell him before bed what time his next feeding will be and he awakes right on the dot every time. We are attuned to eachother in this lovely dance of interwoven peace. I wonder why we as parents lose that bond over the years?
My sons have zero jealousy. They are secure enough to know they are loved. They argue over whose turn it is to hold him, change him, rock him, sing to him, etc...i will often walk into my room and find one of them snuggled next to him on my bed whispering softly, sharing the wisdom of the world with him. My heart overflows and my cup runneth over. As a mother I am most richly blessed.
This is the first time I have not dealt with PostPartum Depression. Doing the laboring, albeit intensely, at home, leant me a sense of strength and faith in myself, in the woman God made me to be, in the perfect design of my body and the intuition of my spirit. He is a zen-filled baby. Most content in my arms, sleeps best on my chest, his tiny ear pressed to my bare breast, lulled to sleep by my heartbeat. His universe is my breasts, my milk, Daddys voice, Daddys shoulder....This tiny perfect being is wholly ours. This is the closest a person can come to understanding the manner of God.
Welcome home Blaze Marley-Honor. xoxo

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Where Is Our Village?

As user of FB, my mommy-friends group has expanded to bursting proportions over the past couple of years. Many are like-minded hippie mums like myself, but some are quite differing in thier parenting style. Which is fine with me. As long as you are not harming nor neglecting your child in any way, I keep my mouth shut. If you ask me for advice, I will share my opinion without judgment or demand that you accept it. Because the fact is, we are all human, and we are all simply figuring this out as we go along. I never could understand the mothers who get up all stoic and biased on thier soap boxes and point fingers. WHY do we waste such time tearing eachother down???? There are cultures in other areas of this world whom embarce the "It Takes A Village" mentality. But here in America, it seems we praise highest the women who do it alone and carry the heavy burden in solitude. Now, dont get me wrong, I give huge respect to single mamas. I once was one. But WHY are these women doing it alone. Setting aside the fact we seem to be raising boys who become men who find it okay to leave...what about we as women? Where are our support systems? Where do we feel safe to turn for advice, help, encouragment? Who can we depend on? Because so often, when we brave stepping out and asking or help, we instead meet ridicule.
I recently read a book by a woman whose 5 year old daughter died quite suddenly and unexpectedly. In her book she mentions that she never forced her daughter to wean off the bottle and as a result, her kindergartner still relished a bottle of warm milk in the car on the ride home from school. I can imagine to judgement passed to this mother for that choice. But, at the end of the day, her daughter is gone and she has that memory of seeing her child content with that bottle in the rear view mirror. n the grand scheme of things, who really cares about others opinions? I think of that story often when my children want to follow ther own instinct and do their own thing. I encourage them to listen to their heartsong and dance to its beat. And I have learned to ignore the naysayers and sorround myself with mamas who will encourage me down this road.
Find your own village. Seek out community. Other mothers who can relate to you and you with them. the ones you can be REAL with. The ones whom you can cry to when your preschooler has developed an attitude that makes you feel you are living with a midget anti-christ. The ones you can pour out your doubts to when your infant is struggling to figure out the whole latching-on-nursing gig, or when your 3 month old has colic and NOTHING seems to help. Find a mom who understands when you whisper that you sometimes miss the freedom of your pre-parent days, the one who can relate when you are fumbling your way through potty training, discipline, pre-teen angst, etcetcetc..... The key is to follow your own gut/heart/instinct, and leave the rest by the wayside.
And in turn, we must all learn to be a better village, to applaud and cheer the triumphs of new mamas. To encourage the young ones who have yet to travel this pathway. To offer a helping hand/listening ear/fresh baked dinner/hot cup of coffee/soft place to fall/shoulder to cry on/words of gentle advice/arms for hugging.......whatever the need is. For  the transition from woman to mother is a huge giant leap across a chasm of choices and fears, joys and doubts, stumbles and miracles...but when the chasm is bridged in love and friendship, when we find a village to call our own.....then the way is not so very scary. When women have that love and support and sens eof community, it is far easier to find our footing and raise children who know peace and love and security. For we will have found those things ourselves. Namaste.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A REAL Daddy

A REAL Daddy has NOTHING really to do with genetics. Its just simple fact. Helping to create a baby takes small effort for men. Its a few minutes of pleasure at just the  right time of month. Tis all. No offense to you biological dads out there. Though if you DO take offense, it just proves you know you are MORE than simply a sperm donor. Being a Daddy requires lifestyle changes, shifts in thinking, hard work, a life long commitment.
There is something that I have been catching glimpses of with sad frequency lately. It is how fathers are portrayed in media. You see it all of the time, in movies and on tv shows. The fumbling, clueless dads who screw it all up and dont have a clue without the saving grace of their wives. I even catch women in real life belittling thier spouses, making jokes about how useless their men are around the home and in the involvment of their children. would those same women react if those same men started making public mockery of how THEY parent? What right do we have to tear down the men in our lives like that? Im talking, the ones who are THERE every day. Or who may not be able to be there physically but are still dutiful in paying child support, and are in their childrens lives as often as possible. HOW can we disrespect such effort when we constantly make a joke of Dads? I stand and applaud the men who keep at it despite all the standoffish mockery and jokes. Look how many people are all about womens lib and women being treated fair in teh workplace. Imagine the revolution if we were as passionate about our fathers being FATHERS to our children!If we publicly praise and encourage and brag on our husbands. Even if we acknowledge the ex's who are part time fathers and though they may not be with us any longer, they are still in the lives of our children.
I know how many deadbeat dads there are out there. Trust me, I KNOW. My first husband is one of those statistical deadbeats. After years of marriage he decided he wanted out of responsibility and left our family for another woman. (Whom he also left eventually, along with abandoning their young son) Its been years without a glimpse of child support from him. I have nothing positive to say about his role as a father at this point. Because he ISN'T one.
Meanwhile, last June 4th I married my best friend. He took on an entire pre-made family. FIVE stepsons. (and by the way, I have NEVER heard him use the phrase "step" son) Dave has stepped up to the plate in amazing ways.People who have not known us very long simply assume my sons are biologically his. He works full time, late into the night. The majority of his pay goes straight to bills. He spends his days off doing yard work, helping to clean the house, and taking the boysw on hikes, to the park, on picnics, etc.... I have been on bed rest for a few weeks now and you can't tell it by the state of our home. Its practically spotless! He gets up first thing and starts vacuuming, doing laundry, sweeping, washing dishes, etc... He helps our youngest son get dressed. He makes me lunch. He is firm and calm with the boys, asserting his authority without being cruel. He implements time outs and gives hugs. He teaches the boys football and baseball. He takes on the role of Daddy in an amazingly experienced style, as if it is something he has been doing for years and years.
Now, I COULD sit here and complain about petty stuff. he maybe how he puts the laundry away wrong or burps at the table when Im trying to teach the boys manners......but frankly, we ALL have faults. How dare I tread into disrespect when he puts in so much work. Ive BEEN a single mom. I KNOW how hard it is to do it alone. Therefore, I know how blessed I am to have him in our life. There are women out there in abusive relationships who live with men who berate them and tear them down. There are single mothers who bust their butts every day alone and never see a penny from their child's father. THAT is why I am always appalled when women who have honest, hardworking, loyal men can complain about the small things.
Between my first husband and my current husband, I was with a man for 2 years who was a good man to my kids, in much the same way Dave is now. He passed away tragically in an accident and I can assure all of you women out there, when something like that happens, you quit focusing on petty crap. I used to get on Ken about his beard stubble in the sink or how he took his socks off all over the house, leaving me to pick up dirty socks from under the kitchen table, next to the couch, etc...  After he passed away I bent down to pick up a pair of his socks from beneath the coffee table and it struck me it was the LAST time Id ever do that task. The fact is, the boys and I dont focus on the negative aspects of our memories of him. (He was a recovering alcoholic so there WERE some) Instead, its the good stuff we miss. The things he did that were the reason my sons began to call him Daddy.
And now, there is Dave. My sons have been so blessed that twice God has placed a man in their lives to fill that void that sadly their biological father has left. I have nothing negative to say about Dave. Nothing truly significant anyway. He, in my opinion, is more of a father, more of a real MAN than their sperm donor EVER was. He is here. Every day. He steps up to the plate and gives it his all. He does what he has to. HE IS HERE. And THAT is what being a good Daddy is all about.