Margot at a few weeks old.
My Sweet Margot Joy,
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.
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.
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.
Happy, happy birthday, my girl.