A personal story, and introducing Cruz...
We couldn't have imagined how Cruz would change our lives! 2020, a year of shocking pandemic and shut down held a little silver lining. Although this is not a personal blog, I do know that witnessing to the blessings in life can encourage everyone, so feel free to read on, or be at peace with passing over this post and coming back for the decor and the fashion.
Maria Franklin of Center Peace Works gifted us this crazy cute onesie. We kinda can't get over it...
Even Cruz made a 2020 style entrance! A smooth homebirth that began with my water breaking at 1AM (a new, and EPIC, experience for me!), progressed ever so calmly - truly! By 5AM, our midwives woke the children who wanted to welcome him, and groggy littles came into our dark, excited room.
However, to everyone's distress, I almost immediately felt a shift. I remarked that baby suddenly felt "stuck" and that I was worried because pushing seemed to be less and less productive.
At around 7am, the baby's heartrate started to drop and not come back up after contractions. We had tried every position and I had pushed my heart out, and I was weary. By 7:30, with dangerous heartrate levels for baby, we made the decision to move to the hospital.
There is a moment emblazoned on my mind...
Seeing my big kids, fearful and teary on our doorstep, alone with the midwife, with my 11-year-old "babysitting" until her beloved uncle "emergency contact" (don't you kind of think you'll never really use an emergency contact?) could come watch them, as I screamed in pain one last time in our front yard as a neighbor walked his dog and looked on... Then taking the time to hug each child, look into his or her eyes, tell them all was well and we were going to get their brother and bring him home, and to be strong...not to worry about mom but to have a wonderful day full of treats, games and shows... "And when we get home, we'll have your brother!"
I am writing through tears as I recall their stricken faces. What must that be for a child to see mom and dad quietly rushing out the door, leaving them behind alone, while they go to a hospital to rescue their sibling? (Pause writing so I can go cry for a few minutes...haha...)
Our midwife fastracked us to labor and delivery, and as we pulled up to the hospital, I turned to my husband and said, "To be completely honest, Babe, something inside of me is telling me this is going to end in a c-section." He said, somberly, "Me too." "So we'll be at peace if it does," I said. He silently agreed, and we both felt it: God is with us.
A final choice.
After spending an hour and a half with the midwife and ob/gyn, we had tried everything. The doctor turned to us and said, "I've already left it an hour and a half of monitoring and heartrate is still dangerously low. If we don't do something now, I can't promise you will be leaving the hospital with a healthy baby."
At that point, what more can a parent even say or do?
We made the very well educated choice to opt for a cesarean section, to save the life of our unborn son.
Unexpected cross, victorious Cruz
While I won't go into detail here, the unexpected experience was indeed very traumatic, and yet again I felt grace. I also felt in awe of women (and husbands and healthcare professionals!). Women will literally lay down our lives for our children. I thought of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, who refused cancer treatment to save her baby in utero...and prayed to her so that she'd pray for me to have strength. I thought of women who have had repeat children after cesareans...my aunt, for example, has had 8. I never could have imagined what it was she went through each of those times. Let's just say, it's surgery, it's risky...it's crazy frightening. As I lie with my arms out on the operating table in cruciform position, I contemplated what it would be like to face heaven that day, and begged God to keep me here alive to raise my little ones. Cruz was born in *moments* and I have to weep too at the oddity it still is to me that he was born at "11:24am", because that was the time on the clock he was surgically removed from my womb, but not because I birthed him naturally. It makes my heart ache still. Yet, at least he's here and he's perfect.
The recovery itself has been its own journey, and not one we will likely forget. Without overdoing the suffering, because I know hundreds of thousands of women have gone before me, I can't minimize it either. It was very hard. I don't know that I could share more at this point just yet.
In the past weeks, our family has been adjusting to sweet little Cruz, and falling into a new rhythm of life with a newborn.
Totally unexpected blessings
I could never have imagined the unexpected blessings like this one: the intense outpouring of support and love from our local community! It brought us to our knees in prayer. That holy hour I wrote about last week? That was a thanksgiving hour for the endless stream of people who brought us meals, watched our kids, distracted our littlest ones at bedtime, prayed for us, cleaned our house, and even slept over, all while we were in the hospital. For our MIDWIFE!!! If you are local to Los Angeles, reach out if you need a recommendation...Katie Hamilton, LM, CPM, IBCLC at Mama Nurture Birth has become a friend of the heart.
Our local family was as heroic as can be, pausing their own family and work life to drop everything and come look after us, and our friends and business partners lavished us with support. Far off family and friends sent flowers, gift cards and presents. Our House of Royals partners, RINGLET Studio
, shipped us a Spoonful of Comfort care package! I don't think I've ever felt so vulnerable...nor so surrendered to others' help. They were instruments of goodness that I think I imagined existed...but at this point we desperately needed and experienced. I could never thank them enough.
Thank you all for your prayers throughout our pregnancy and support and patience while things slowed after Cruz's birth.
Has anyone else been through this type of experience before? Drop me a comment below if you're that mama. I've realized I think I need to surround myself with people who have been there, who know how it feels...and little by little I process with grace. It's definitely going to take some time.
Sending love and gratitude to all of you and prayers for a blessed Thanksgiving,
Christina (and Thomas)