Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Two

Margot at a few weeks old.

My Sweet Margot Joy,

Today I reflect on the day of your birth, a cold, clear morning two years ago. I started labour at around midnight, and just breathed in the quiet dark, curled up against your dad's back, until I knew it was time to call my support team.

My midwife, Leslie, lived a good hour's drive away, and I remember my profound sense of gratitude at seeing the headlights sweeping across the wall as she drove up the lane way. We'd had it ploughed that day because we knew our time was near.

This was my third labour, so I knew what my habits were: I like to be left alone, with a wet cloth to press over my eyes through each contraction...no distractions, no music, no words of encouragement. I prayed that you would be born by morning, and once Leslie had checked me out, she assured me that I would, indeed, be holding you by sunrise! She just barely caught your sister Violet, so she too knew how things go with me in labour.

By very early morning, my Doula (your aunt!) Julie arrived; the atmosphere was peaceful and calm. This was my first nighttime labour, and I understood why most animals give birth at night. We called your Nanny, and your aunt Lana, to let them know they should head out soon if they wanted to be part of this birth. Aunt Lana took this photo of the homestead as they came up the road in the dawn light:

Wisps of smoke from the chimney, house warmed to welcome a new babe.

Once I got into the bathtub, it didn't take long to reach the "pushy" stage. Violet was awake by now, and watched from the bedroom door, secure in Nanny's arms. Jude was snoozing away, in spite of the noise and activity just below him.

Then, there was you...my beautiful dark-haired girl, so different from your siblings, but decidedly MINE. I asked over and over if everything was okay, and I wonder now about mother's intuition; it would be 7 weeks before we'd realise that your tiny heart was in trouble.

But on that early morning, there was just you, in bed with your mom and dad and sister, and soon your brother; he woke up minutes after your birth. That bed was all that existed for me that morning, full of the man I chose and the children we created together. The tree outside the window stood bare, its empty arms reaching up to the late-winter sky. But were my arms full? You betcha.

Papa arrived to meet his new grandchild, then appointed himself head chef, cooking a big country breakfast for the tired support team. The sun rose, brilliant in a clear sky, and although I'd been left upstairs to rest and nestle in, I was drawn downstairs by the smells of coffee and bacon, and the lively chatter that travelled up the stairs. I settled into the wing back chair beside the wood stove, and basked in that I-just-birthed-a-baby bliss.

Tired daddy.

The weeks that followed are a blur now, of attempting to nurse while small children climbed up for a story, trying to pump to keep my milk supply up, struggling to figure out why you weren't gaining weight, and the realisation that something was, indeed wrong.

I had to record you as a presence in this family; I feared you might not live through your surgery.

Margot at exactly age one.

My Margot. Now you are two. There was a time when I wasn't sure if you'd make it here, and today I feel more than the normal joy and gratitude at milestones reached. I suppose it will always be this way, that whisper of "what if..." that casts a brief shadow over my heart.

You are aptly named, my wee wrestler, early morning song-singer, book-lover, belly-laugher, and wordsmith. You love your knitted blanket, nursery rhymes, listening to CBC in the van, other babies, and your Nanny. Your blue eyes contain so much soul and intelligence, and your curls can melt hearts.

Your love came unexpectedly, and we are so grateful for this surprise of your presence; we accepted you with joy and are thankful every single day that you chose us to parent you.

Happy, happy birthday, my girl.

Love,
Mommy

15 comments:

  1. I swear I tear up over half your posts. Happy birthday to your little girl and kudos to you and your family for getting her through her early struggles.

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  2. A beautiful post.There are no words to express the JOY she brings to all of us.Thank you for bringing this child into this world.A privilege to babysit all your children,love Nanny

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  3. The last picture is worth a thousand words. Beautiful, healthy, gorgeous Margot. Happy Birthday sweet girl. Beautiful post Stephanie. I also love the picture of the Homestead on her birth day. Great memento.

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  4. Such a beautifully poignant tribute to an effervescent little girl who has won so many hearts. Seriously, who could resist those eyes, that smile, and yes, the delicious curls?! Happy Birthday hugs and kisses, Margot. And happy birth*day mama & family.

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  5. Beautiful words to celebrate a beautiful girl. Happy birthday to sweet Margot and happy birthing day to you mama. The world is a more beautiful place with her sweet face in it!
    lots of love
    Shanti

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  6. "I believe, Fate smiled and Destiny laughed as she came to my cradle, "Oh this child will be able." Laughed as she cane to my mother, "Oh this child will not suffer." Laughed as my body she lifted. "Oh, this child will be gifted. With Love, with Patience and with Faith.....She'll make her way. She'll make her way."
    Happy Birthday my niece and Godchild, Margot.
    Love Aunt Julie

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  7. Love that Natalie Merchant song. What a beautiful child Stephanie...what a journey you have been on in these two years. May this day be a day of blessing for all of you. I love that birth story, especially the breakfast calling you down the stairs. All my homebirths have lovely afterglow memories like that. Such peace.

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  8. What a beautiful post to read on this morning of mine.
    Thank you.
    Happy Birthday little girl.

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  9. Gorgeous post...Happy Birthday Margot

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  10. Tears fall on my keyboard at work. The memories of that lovely morning are still so fresh. Thank you for sharing your births with me. I am a proud aunt and even prouder sister.
    Love and hugs to all of you this day.

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  11. Beautiful post and such a sweet grin at the bottom :) I love those two year old crinkled nose smiles!

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  12. beautiful.
    birthday love to you and your baby girl!

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  13. lovely, lovely , lovely! As a mom who homebirthed my last two babes and a doula who is extremely priviledged to be invited to enter into this holy space that is birth, you have immortalized not only for yourself but your daughter the day that was her entrance.
    Thank you for sharing that intimate place with us

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  14. Just beautiful. Your story brought tears to my eyes.
    Warm wishes, Tonya

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  15. I'm back again. Just wanted to say, that photo of ALL of you in bed? AWESOME! What a blessing to have the whole family crawl into bed to welcome the newest precious family member. A homestead birth. Perfect.

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