Two days ago I got a calm & steady call from my friend of 23 years. She had begun to labor at home with her third child and wanted to let me know that they would head to the hospital in 3 or 4 hours. Her voice was serene even though small contractions & her main concern on the phone was that I still felt comfortable being at the birth. Even in labor, my friend cared for & loved her loved ones. Even in pain, she took time to be there for me.
I laughed & told her she was crazy for worrying about me. I had been looking forward to being at the birth, seeing and helping in the first moments of life with this little one, gender still unknown.
Kayla had volunteered to be my surrogate several months ago, the only problem was her current 3rd trimester pregnancy. I laughed then too & cried. She is one of the best mothers I've ever seen. I usually try not to use language like best or good, bad, etc. when I'm talking about parenting. We all do it differently & just like marriages, parenthood often looks different from the outside. Not so with Kayla. She was born to do this. She is the Joan of Arc & Mother Theresa of raising children and she's known her calling long before I was making it a priority.
Back to the birth...Nick & I stayed up all night, each hour looking at the phone, sighing, squirming, getting another cup of tea. At the hospital, my friend was earning the nickname "Kayla with the closed cervix." Hey, sometimes you just have to laugh.
She walked the halls for an hour, got accidentally locked out of the birthing ward, and after a few more adventures was finally dilated enough to stay & begin the process. Still, it wasn't until 10am the following day that I finally got a text from her saying it would be time to push in a bit. First, she needed a babysitter. Again, even in labor, she was thinking about her two other babies. (I would too, they are stinking cute).
So I went over to their apartment in the foothills of Portland & among the tall trees, rocked baby Colton, said a payer with Alyvia (pronounced Olivia), and snuggled & snuggled these children who have become part of my Portland family. Colton sacked his thumb, stole my granola, and played with my beaded bracelet until he fell asleep. I lounged there thinking that if this could be my life, I would have nothing left to wish for.
Soon, grandma came to watch the babies & I headed out to see the new one come into the world.
At the hospital, Kayla smiled, we kissed each other's cheeks, and her skin smelled just like when we were kids, playing at recess in the sunshine. Kayla was a serious ballet dancer even at a young age & sometimes I look at her & still see her twirling, jumping with so much strength, destroying her toes in the name of dance. I loved it.
This day, I held those toes, painted lavender, and felt her strength surging through my body as she pushed her child into the light. I wasn't sure if I would have the guts to actually watch the birth but in the end I was mesmerized, a beautiful, soft, sweet human making her way bravely into the home of our hearts, into the circle of people all waiting to love her, loving her already.
I have to stop writing for a second, this part overwhelms me. I need a quick cry.
I thought of our baby, soon to come, and what it would be to watch her come into the world, to be the lap she is placed on, to be her home in this world. Only for a second. There is something about a genuine friend that makes you forget your own desires & troubles.
Kayla and her husband Jake had no name picked out for their little one. This time around they wanted to meet the baby, girl or boy, and let her tell them who she is. The name they chose, the name she wears so perfectly, is Emma. Emma Love Wannamaker.
When we saw her face for the first time and even the nurses were marveling at her beauty, coming in to see her as word of her adorable little face spread through the birthing ward, I told Kayla & Jake they would have a hard time finding a name pretty & strong enough to match this little one. I needn't have worried. Emma Love, you are perfect. You are born into so much love. As I held you, your mother told me I would be a great mom & I believe her. We are only as good as the people we choose to love, we are only as good as the love we choose to give into the world and the love we let ourselves receive. I hope you grow up feeling my love. I know it is a feeling that will surround you no matter where you go and I think you will go so many places.
All my love to Emma Love and her beautiful family. Get ready for a picture barrage, her Daddy and I were snapping away for hours, her mom smiling serenely in the middle of it all. Waiting to snuggle all her babies. Waiting to have her whole family near.
Lots of Love,
I was so impressed with this process. If you are able to go to a hospital certified in these methods (it's a tough certification to get despite the silly name) I would definitely recommend it.
As always, talk with your doctor before making important choices but I hope this helps you in the decision making process and that you and your new littles are able to have the best possible experience through a Baby-Friendly lens. Love to all.
If you want to find out more about what it means to be certified Baby Friendly, click on the link below.