A Gift to Myself.
One year ago today I shared the picture above and announced on social media the birth of our 4th child, a son. It was 2 days after his nearly 10-pound body shredded my vagina opening on his entrance into this world. There’s no way to sugarcoat the sort of trauma that my lady parts endured, and really folks, no need to (it’s what our bodies are made to do, they say). I went all natural, so I can tell you with 100%-ish certainty that is exactly what happened.
He was born the evening of a gorgeous spring day, after laboring with him for weeks. Yes, literally weeks. I had prodromal labor, or whatever. Doctors take note: A fancy technical name is no comfort to a lady who is 9-months pregnant with a broken crotch (I also had some sort of pubic symphysis dysfunction that started about the same time as conception, or maybe it was actually a month after- It was a long time). All this basically meant my body was preparing for him for a LONG time. In hindsight, at almost 10-pounds, some preparation was necessary!
The tough labor started somewhere around 3 am and I labored at home as long as I could.
It wasn’t my first rodeo. There’s no way I was riding this out in a hospital bed with my legs up in the air and my vag being checked by a new stranger in a lab coat or scrubs every 30 minutes.
At about 8 pm we headed for the hospital as I was sure if we didn’t at that very flippin’ minute we would’ve had an impromptu home birth. My husband was eating spaghetti and I gave him a few minutes to finish his bowl…You know, while it was still hot, and because he wasn’t sure when he’d get to eat again.
A home birth sounded exciting until it actually started happening. By the grace of God we arrived at the hospital safely, and a little under an hour later, so did our sweet child.
A boy! What a gift!
We had decided not to find out the gender beforehand. Well, *I* decided, and Mr. Awesome supported me like he always does (last time around he supported me by calling in miniature pony rides and doing a giant gender reveal with 100 of our closest friends). He is such a sweet blessing that complements my crazy impulsive and adventurous heart so well.
Minutes after our son’s arrival I requested a few pictures (that may never be seen by anyone ever-my post giving-birth face was ROUGH), and a phone call to our big kids, to let them know their new sibling had arrived, and remind them that we loved them.
That was it.
The phone got put away until late morning the next day and I snuggled our precious new babe to my breast, with my husband right by my side, stroking my hair and telling me how amazing I was. We recounted the details of what had just happened and stared in awe at this new little wonder.
Our big kids didn’t know if they had gained a brother or a sister. We told them they’d find out at the hospital the next day.
You guys, our boy came SO fast. He was here within just minutes of my water being broken (a new experience for me), and I didn’t even push. In fact, I resisted pushing and tried to close my legs shut, and he shot out anyway!
Ha! Que the ‘mom’ jokes…
Honestly though, isn’t that the way things go sometimes? They just keep pushing on, even when we’re scared and can’t pour an ounce of effort into what needs it, it happens anyway, and life goes on.
The next day we called our family to let them know the news, and a day later we shared our announcement on social media (we had asked our family to stay quiet so we could rest, heal, and bond- They didn’t love it, but they did respect our wishes).
Friends, you know I’m a social media consultant and blogger. Not sharing the news right away had people in such an uproar. I literally got hate mail over it (from extended family AND complete strangers).
My response? Whatev! -well, it was more of a passive-aggressive sorry NOT SORRY, to be honest.
Yeah, I’m sure that was not the best way to handle it, but I have learned these 3 worldly-terms and have found them to be the golden ticket to a happy life right now:
1. Family First.
2. Self Care isn’t Selfish.
3. Slow Down. Less is More.
With Jesus at the heart of it all, I’ve finally for the first time in my life, found peace within being a leader in my little tribe, and I take my job very seriously.
So using those principals above, the birth of our son and hospital stay was a time of bonding and a time of rest. How much more pleasant it was to not be checking my phone or hearing notification after notification coming in (like I had done with past births).
This past year I’ve continued to do the same thing, delay gratification, savor the sweet little moments, and focus on my tribe. And a whole lot of self-care in the form of spending every free minute with Jesus, reading the bible, saying NO to little things so I can say YES to big things, and sleeping when I can (which isn’t often, I’d appreciate your prayers for this).
Oh, and because self-care is NOT selfish….. I gifted myself a little something to celebrate the ONE YEAR anniversary of having my vagina busted open!
A new menstrual cup!
I’ve shared about these miracle workers before, and I’m sharing again. I’ve been a fan for 4 years now. The gentle feel of a menstrual cup trumps the rough trudge of a bulging cotton tampon any day. Also, fewer chemicals mean a healthier vag. Since it’s been 4 years that I’ve been using these, I have now tried various brands and I can tell you that they’re all just about the same. Find one within your budget and go for it!
What can you do for self-care today?
Tomorrow I think an ice cold can of Tangerine La Croix and rocking on the deck under the sun while the kids play in the yard is in order!