Sunday, September 4, 2011

Firsts and Lasts; Births and Passings

Hello, Sweet Zora.

Time is truly flying. You will be four months old this week. A third of a year!

Te quiero. I love you! I love you, I love you, I love you. You are a delight of a little human. You have truly settled into what seems to be a Happy Baby. You could star in the film Happiest Baby on the Block. Some magical combination of your bright spirit, mine and Papa's good luck, and maybe a touch of kind and attentive parenting have resulted in weeks and weeks of sweetness these past couple months. Te quiero. You are a connected and sociable baby, impressing so many who have the pleasure of being graced by your wide and winning grin. Your smiling and laughing is abundant. And yes, you do cry, but never without good cause, and never without a fairly quick turn-around. May these first four months be a harbinger of a life of abundant laughter.

And still, I contemplate your fitful start--our laborious labor together 4 months ago. All through pregnancy I had built my committment to a labor as free from medical intervention as possible. I built this committment brick by brick, through reading, talking with other mamas, practicing yoga with doulas and midwives and mamas. I built this committment with intention through my knowledge of the risks that come with medical intervention, the fact that it has been shown that there is neurological benefit for an infant to experience the pressure of the birth canal, that there is neurological benefit to completing the biological impulse to push oneself out of the womb. I was scared of cesarean birth, not only because of the toll it would take on my body, but because of the loss it might mean for you of helping you to come into the world organized and regulated on a deep level.

And then we had labor. And it was long and hard. And you didn't get pushed out, Zora. You got lifted out. As I've said before, lifted out with love.

And so I have contemplated your fitful start. And wondered. And yes, I have worried. Would you, in some way, not be able to settle into life? Would there be some missing piece for you because of this difficult passage? So I went back to the concept of "effective worry" taken from Birthing From Within. And so, turning my worry into "effective worry",  we went to see a therapist whose specialty is perinatal work, somatic work, work around difficult births. And she was...............she was such a gift to me! And so, through that, a gift, I believe, to you, Zora. Suzanne is her name. She is trained in the same framework I am trained in--Somatic Experiencing. In our final session with her----you and I went to see her together----you laid on a soft table between me and her. We talked about the birth. We slowed the birth down to a pace that our bodies could digest. We slowed it down. We titrated the bits and pieces that had felt like too much, too soon, too fast. You chattered. You were there with us, talking it through, letting us know the parts that were frightening. I should know by now, with the many many times that I have seen this titration of stress and trauma unwind itself from people's bodies, that the Somatic Experiencing work is powerful. But here we were, you and I letting go of unfinished impulse---the impulse to give birth that got short-circuited by an emergency surgery. And when we reached the end of our recounting of the tale, you were asleep, perhaps the sweetest sleep I'd ever seen you have---and that is something, because your sleep is pretty much always sweet! And I write this all down before it slips away. I want you to know that the lifting of shadow was profound, that something moved in me and moved in you and I left Suzanne knowing that you are just fine, just fine, just fine. Happy Baby. Ready for this world. Pretty darn close to perfection in this mother's eyes! Te quiero.

And the fun of these past couple months has been the almost-daily "firsts". Your first time making certain noises, first time reaching out to grab a toy, first time laughing out loud, first time riding on an airplane, first time seeing chickens and cows on a farm, first first first! What fun! I just love watching you take in the world. It feels as if we are watching your brain grow right before us. When you first began to copy our motions to "Eensy Weensy Spider", you'd have thought that your Papa and I had seen God!! In our biased opinion, you are truly truly brilliant.

It has been a magical summer.

And it has been a summer of sadness too. Of not only firsts, but also lasts.

Zora, you will not have a clear verbal memory of our Teacup. But surely you will have an implicit memory of her sweet, smelly warmth.

Teacup, one of our two beloved four-leggeds who comprised our first family, passed away on Friday. Teacup was dear to us, Zora, as dear as a doggie companion can possibly be. She, like you, was a delightful being. We love her, we love her. Our hearts feel broken in letting her go. And as we saw her passing looming this past week, we counted many of her lasts. When I pulled her brush off  the shelf this week, I ached knowing it was probably the last time I would brush her. And her eating had become very sporadic this summer, so every time she managed to get a snack down this week, I wondered if that would be the last time we would commune with our Teacup. And on Friday,Teacup's last day on this earth,  you and Papa and I carried Teacup to the nearby pond for her last chance to put her nose into the wind and use that sniffer to soak in life the way a dog does. A week of "lasts" right beside some of your "firsts". This in itself feels so tender, so bittersweet, so non-sensical.

It feels like the beginning, or the end, no---the beginning, ------of an era. For most of the time that I've known your Papa, we have been the caretakers of dogs, Glory and Teacup. And now they have left us. And now you are here, my dear little Peach.Te quiero, te quiero, te quiero.Zora, I love you.

And I miss Teacup sorely. And there have been buckets of tears. Buckets and buckets.

Zora, will it seem strange to you when you are old enough to read (this blog???), to converse in more adult terms, to contemplate concepts and ideas and emotions, that your Papa and I will be forever grateful to two long-gone hounds for the lessons they gave us to prepare us for you? I hope you will understand. I hope that we can introduce you to your older sisters Glory and Teacup in a way that makes sense.

Today, in the raw days fresh with Teacup's passing, I don't want to have another dog. The joy of loving a dog is so tremendous----the sadness in experiencing their shorter lifespans feels manyfold! Zora, for now, my focus, my delight, is you, -----------you, who--------unlike the Teacups and Glorys of our lives---- will outlive me if all goes according to plan! I'm counting on it, Zora! Continue to smile and laugh and grow. I'll keep my loving eyes on you and continue delighting in your firsts, and all that follows.

Little Zora, here you are at Suzanne's office, sleeping away any residue of grief I might have been holding onto for you. You are peace. You are settled. You have come through this with strength. 

And here we are together. I too have come through this with strength. You and me both, sister!

And here is our Teacup, in her younger years, wearing her collar of daisies at mine and your Papa's wedding. 

No comments:

Post a Comment