Monday, March 25, 2013

Little Crosses and Little Blessings for this Mama's Little Heart

As many of you know, I desperately stormed Heaven for the possibility of avoiding major surgery (ie cesarean birth) with our newest little. As with Bigfoot, I so much wanted to have a vaginal delivery, au natural, but as life and His Will would have it, I did not get that. Through a lot of tears, prayer, talking with my husband, family, and friends, as well as, trying to always be thankful for the present moment, I moved forward and began praying for a chance to VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with our second child.

You may be wondering why I have been so stubborn about it. And, sometimes I ask myself the same thing. But, in my heart I know that a piece of me will always mourn the loss of being able to deliver vaginally, as God intended our bodies, as women, to bring life forth into this world. I'm not entirely sure how I will feel come future children, given I most likely will not be able to ever have another chance for a trial of labor, but I do know a little bit of me will ache.

You see, I prayed for such a long time, that God prepare me physically, spiritually, and emotionally to be a mother and wife. I began praying ever since I felt that my vocation was to be a wife and mother. When I would think of bringing life into this world, of being a physical vessel of his goodness and miracles, my heart experienced a joy that was overwhelming. And, you now may be saying that I did carry a healthy miracle to term and had two healthy baby boys, despite having them via cesarean. are right! I have had two very blessed pregnancies and do have two wonderful little boys to show for it! For this, I could not be more grateful. But, somewhere in my heart, there was a seed that was planted long ago that I nourished as well as I could and did not see it bear fruit as I thought it would. It has been somewhat heartbreaking, leaving me feeling a little broken, that I was not able to share a vaginal delivery with my sons nor my husband. I know the health benefits, for my children and for myself significantly outweigh that of surgery. Knowing this, how could a mother not want to give her child the birth that exemplifies our feminine genius?

But, for whatever reason, it has not been in His Will for me or us. I know there are many lessons that have and will continue to be learned through this. There already have been so many gifts that came with my first cesarean: my healthy first-born, an amazing outpouring of servitude from family and friends, incredible love in others caring for me in my post-surgery state, friends being so wonderful and present, me being forced to allow others to see me incredibly vulnerable and weak, suffering that I was able to offer up daily for others, me being forced to not have it all together, me being forced to not work my way to being good at something because my body was so crippled from the trauma of two days of labor and major surgery...I could go on and on, but off the top of my head these were gifts.

Fast-forward to the birth of my sweet P. All, or most, was different. Different in that the crosses and blessings didn't look quite the same. We did wait three days post due date to see if our little guy would come on his own. Apparently, he decided I was way more comfy than the bright and cold world that awaited him (I don't blame him). My ob-gyn, said that it was in our best interest to schedule the cesarean - so, we did.

All of the scheduling and arriving at the hospital at said time, filling out paper work, sitting and waiting, etc seemed pretty cold to me. We got our instructions on when to arrive, to not eat after midnight, a quick run through of what to expect and that was that. The nurses decided on Sweet P's birthday based on availability. Something about that hurt a little, but trust me when I say, I will be needing to re-frame all of the things that rub my heart the wrong way given my cesarean delivery method now being a sealed fate for me after having had two.

Even though I could continue to share more of my not-so-pleasant experiences of scheduling your child's birth, I want to share the more encouraging side of the day too.

I did have family and friends cheering me all the way. Part of me couldn't help but be scared and sad given my previous cesarean experience with my first son, but there was a turning point for me. I know many were praying for me; some sent emails, others texts and phone calls. All of them nudging my heart to be open to what God had for me in this delivery and reminding me that I would be holding my sweet gift from Above very soon. The excitement from all the grandparents and my husband, as well as the staff, was also a constant reminder of how joy-filled I should be. Very quickly, through all of their loving hearts and eyes, I was able to let go more and more and just focus on the love and joy that I had for this child. Fear and sadness did enter my heart from time to time, but overall I felt His Peace and was constantly calling our Lord's Sweet Mother to hold me.

The blessings continued to pour forth on Sweet P's birthday. For starters, all the grandparents, aunts, and uncles could plan to be present to welcome our little love into our sweet family. Also, we were blessed to be scheduled for the Hour of Mercy, which really helped me focus on uniting all my struggles to the Cross of Our Lord. Our nurse and anesthesiologist as well as all others involved in our hospital delivery were wonderful at guiding and comforting me through each stage of this surgery. They brought my son to me immediately and let me hold him. They never took him from me. I was able to do skin-to-skin and nurse him within the hour of his life. My son was never out of my sight. The beautiful child I carried for nine months was able to be with his mama. Those moments I treasure more than words because with my first-born I was under heavy medication and don't recall the first 5-7 hours of his life including the first time I held him, nursed him, meeting the grandparents, seeing family post surgery, and more. All just a big blur in my heart. So, as you can imagine, being alert and functional throughout the surgery and day were more than I could have asked for and blessed my soul so very much. Also, I was able to walk within 24 hours. My surgical recovery has been much easier. And even though it broke my heart to not be able to carry my oldest at all in the first two weeks and still limited carrying at one month, this allowed me to spend extra attention to our newest addition. Time I may not have focused on as much had I been without any physical restrictions post-delivery. So, with that cross, came a blessing - wonderful bonding time with my youngest son. Or rather, with all of these little crosses that I carried within me all came with amazing blessings that only He could give.

I could go on, but for now I think I'm at a good stopping point. Part of me, at first, wanted to avoid posting our cesarean delivery pictures. I guess, for me, posting those birthday pictures make everything more real and official for me. Makes the realization that I have to let go of a woman's natural way to deliver ever more present to me. But, little by little, I am embracing my path and trying to do so with Joy (even if it just happens from time to time for now). So, with Joy, I am posting (and have been posting) pictures of our family immediately following the surgery. My first moments with my son. Moments that I did not have with my first delivery. Moments that I will forever treasure. And could not be more grateful for. 

I pray that my little crosses help my little heart to grow in ways that only He can fathom. I pray that it helps me to grow into a better wife and mother, daughter/sister and friend. I pray that somehow, despite my constant failings, He will help bring me closer to Him, which in turn will help me bring Him closer to others.

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.
-St. Ignatius of Loyola


  1. Oh Amanda, how honest and beautiful! You are such a wonderful gift of light! Thank you for your tremendous faith.

  2. Oh, I love your heart! That second picture is just stunning. I'm so sorry you didn't get to birth as you hoped but your surrender and beauty and faith through that pain are so beautiful. You're a great mama.


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