"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich
Monday, August 1, 2011
The Little One, part 1: Waiting
Now that a month of quiet rest has passed, I thought that I would write a little blog series this week, in three parts, on little Lucy's arrival: the waiting, the birth story, and her first month.
Our transition to parents has been everything I could have dreamed. It has challenged me personally to integrate the different parts of my self--my body, mind and soul--as God continues to help me grow up in His image. The first step in that journey was relinquishing my control over Lucy's arrival... For Clint and I that meant 12 days of anxious anticipation after her due date.
My whole pregnancy I told myself, "Many first babies are late, many of my friends' first babies have been 10 days late, I will be patient and my baby will come when she will come." I remembered a Facebook post by a friend expecting an overdue baby, who gently reminded herself that in the past, women used to calculate a due date by season, "The baby will come in early summer." Unfortunately, that gentle, patient ideal proved impossible.
My graduation from Regent had taken place on April 29th, about two months before my due date. I spent most of May switching out my Arts Thesis library books (on autobiography and writing the self) for baby library books (on labour, breastfeeding, and baby care). I spent hours scouring Craigslist and purchased all the big items we needed (bassinet, stroller, soft carriers, diaper service, car seat) by the end of 36 weeks, so we would be ready if the baby arrived early. Then I spent a few weeks crocheting, watching Jane Austin BBC adaptations on Netflix, and waiting.
There were some indications that an early baby was a possibility. I came before my due date so many years ago. Other family members had a history of early births. I had a few symptoms and I was full out "nested." But there were no signs of labour.
My mom arrived halfway through June, a week before the due date. I rushed to show her around Vancouver, stocking up on groceries, showing her brands and stores so that she could shop and cook for me once the baby arrived. But by the end of that week, I had run out of projects to do to keep myself busy. Every morning I got up hoping maybe baby would arrive that day. Every night I went to bed a little early so I could be well rested if labour started. I tried to embrace the everyday rhythms of life. I cooked, ate and washed dishes. I did laundry and hung it out on the line to dry. I read. I rested. In the long evening twilight after dinner Clint and I went for leisurely walks around our neighborhood. I had a constant appetite to walk uphill.
Clint's parents arrived, then my sister. We ate dinner together most nights and tried to make pleasant conversation. And we waited. Everything was in a holding pattern, waiting for the curtain to rise and the star of the show to come on stage. But she was being a diva. We were star struck and completely in her power.
Day 3 past the due date, I wrote a note in my journal, "I have put my life on hold in eager expectation of your arrival this week, Lucy. All my hopes and dreams depend on your arrival, all my plans for at least six months are focused on your care." It was startling for me to realize that for the first time in my life, I didn't know what the future would look like, because everything depended on this new relationship. University degrees and career moves you can plan ahead. Babies you can't really. You just have to live it out. One line of laundry at a time.