Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Mother's Memoir

Friday, May 29, 2009

It is early and Ian is still sleeping on the hospital pull-out sofa.

I have been wanting to take a few quiet moments to record my thoughts ever since we welcomed little Joaquin into this world on Tuesday evening. But I hadn’t gotten a chance to do so till now.

Birth is such a strange thing. One moment you are pregnant--and in a way you know there is a child in your belly--but to actually meet that child, see them, hear them cry, and touch their skin, is a completely different state of awareness. Maybe it was because we became pregnant with Joaquin so quickly after Elijah, I don’t know, but it seemed this time that I didn’t fully believe I was having another child until I met him.

This time it was different, all different. The day of delivery seemed to me more about taking care of loose ends and planning who would watch Elijah, than being focused on meeting Joaquin. I was nervous that my mom wouldn’t get down to the hospital in time for Ian to get to be in the O.R. with me during the C-Section. Since Ian was watching Elijah in the hospital lobby right up until I went into the O.R. I didn’t have anyone in the prep room with me except the nurses. It was lonely and I felt pretty scared being by myself. Even though I knew Ian and Elijah were just down the hall, it was completely different than having 3 people in the room with me at all times like when I had Elijah. I was trying to be strong but some part of the excitement and joy seemed to be missing. Once Ian was finally able to come in and be with me, everything changed for the better.

One thing that I was more aware of this time, though, was the joy I felt when Joaquin was born. I had much less medicine in me this time around and I felt fully conscious during the surgery. I wasn’t throwing up or feeling ill, so I was able to just focus on Joaquin at this point. It was so special to hear him cry and see Ian’s immediate response to his birth. Ian could see over the surgery curtain and instantly started crying tears of joy upon Joaquin's arrival. Suddenly, even without seeing Joaquin, I was filled with joyful tears. Just thinking about it now, as I write these words, makes me cry. I just remember feeling such a passionate surge of gratefulness. Words can’t describe that rush.

Dr. Michel poked Joaquin’s little face over the curtain and it made me laugh. He was covered in white vernix and blood, but he still looked precious to me. I will never forget that moment. He had such a tiny, high pitched cry and right away the doctors said “ooops, he’s peeing!!” So, apparently he was peeing all over me right when he came out! (At least it wasn’t poop!)

These few days in the hospital have been so wonderful and low key. Mom has been watching Elijah at the house, so it has pretty much just been Ian, Joaquin and I here together. It has been wonderful getting bonding time just focused on Joaquin and having time to process everything emotionally with Ian. I feel like I have been a hormonal wreck for the past few days and Ian has really been a rock for me. I forgot how close God feels during the birth of a child and the following recovery; when things are quiet and you are in a state of physical stillness. You are forced to listen to yourself and self-assess.

What a pure feeling of contentment when you look at your sleeping baby. (Right now, Joaquin is sleeping in his bassinet at the end of the bed.) They are so present and pretty much incapable of anything other than just being. Then, when you stare at them for a bit it puts you into sync with that same feeling of peace. I can’t help it, I just feel complete peace and love…like your heart lets out a profound sigh and fully releases itself.


  1. Your words have brought joy to my heart. :) Miss you.

  2. That was beautifully written, Rachel. I'm so happy for you and Ian. Watching your beautiful life unfold, even from a distance, always makes me so excited to think about what God has in store for my life. You are truly blessed. I miss you all tons!

  3. Beautiful and poignant.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. I adore you. Thanks for giving me a reason to cry ;)

  5. awww, this gets me so excited for the next time. :)
    what a beautiful memoir! so glad you took the time to record all the precious thoughts. :) love you!