Jackson will be 16 months old soon, and I haven’t said much about him in awhile, so I want to talk about him a bit. Jack and I started things out a bit rocky. I wanted to get pregnant, and I was so excited when I got pregnant…for about 2 months. Then, drowning in nausea, buried in fatigue, and smothered with fear about how our lives would change, I suddenly changed my mind. I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. I sunk into a masqued depression for the next 7 months. I smiled. I talked to my baby. I ate healthy foods. I practiced relaxation to help me accomplish a drug-free delivery. I exercised. I decorated a nursery. I folded tiny baby boy clothes. I named him.
I also cried. A lot. I felt guilty, alone, scared, and angry. I didn’t understand why I felt the way that I did. I ached to feel connected to this baby that was growing inside of me. I longed to feel excited. I prayed for grace and mercy and love. But I didn’t feel it.
Finally one evening, I felt a contraction. Then another. And then another. I warned Matt. I chatted with my doula. I took a bath. I read some Anne Lamott. I packed my bags. I paced. I breathed. I paced and breathed some more. I woke Matt up. We woke Amélie up. We drove to the hospital. I breathed. And breathed. And breathed. The contractions strengthened and lengthened. I fought some fear and a lot of pain with determination and with the encouragement and support of my husband and my doula.
One intense and overwhelming and powerful hour later, at 5:14 in the morning, I delivered my baby boy.
He wasn’t a pretty newborn, actually. I called him, affectionately, my little gnome. And even though he wasn’t pretty, I instantly fell in love with him. Fiercely. Madly. Deeply. With his natural birth my brain flooded my body with a miraculous cocktail of love hormones that released within me a swelling climax of empowerment, peace, joy, and love. Love. Love. Love.
Amélie’s middle name is Grace. She is my gift of grace, and when I wrap my arms around her my heart squeezes tight with so much love it hurts.
And while Amélie was my gift of grace, Jack was my gift of mercy.
Each night, when I put my kids to bed (unless, of course, they fight bedtime) I think to myself, “How did I manage to score the most precious two kids on the planet?” Sappy? Sure. But I mean it with all my heart.
Matt ‘n Jill ‘n Amélie ‘n Jack. What a great little family. I love them all. Fiercely. Madly. Deeply.