Wednesday, October 21, 2015

three reasons I love my C-sections.

Both of my kids are C-section babies. They came into the world after long labors, and my first peek at them was as they were held up, screaming, over a thin curtain at my chest. My first time ever in an operating room was after 30 hours of labor with Silas. I rock an awesome scar that reminds me of their arrivals each time I get dressed. While each of my C-sections had a fair amount of uncertainty, fear, and physical discomfort and pain, there was also sweet relief that the labor part of it all was over, and pure joy it was time to meet my precious babes.

I think C-sections get a pretty horrible rap in the birthing world. In every birthing book or article I read, there are only a few paragraphs dedicated to C-sections, and they're usually pretty damning and guilt-inducing. Even after discovering that my body literally cannot birth my babies naturally, I have to confess that I harbor a twinge of guilt and remorse that I can't birth a baby quite the way I'm "supposed" to. Silly, but true.

But oh gosh, you guys, I'm so thankful for C-sections. I don't care what the heck those birthing books say. As I was lying in bed the other night, my mind wandered to the days Silas and Delia arrived, and I began to think again about how our next baby will be a scheduled C-section. I felt a bit of sadness creep in, until I began to think of the reasons that I really love my C-sections. This post may be more for me than for you-- a reminder that even with all of the scary, all of the painful, and all of the unpleasantries of C-sections, there's still some goodness and sweetness in there. Crazy, I know, but let me just share with you.

[one] They saved my life... and my babies'. 

This is absolutely the #1 reason I love my C-sections. Both of my labors were long and saw very little progress. I had a 30 hour labor with Silas and barely got to 5 cm, only to go backwards. With Delia, I labored for 16 hours, and I'm not sure I even made it to four centimeters. After Delia's C-section, the surgeon told me that I have something called a prominent sacrum, where my bone structure will not allow me progress in labor and to give birth naturally. I almost sighed with relief after hearing that-- something tangible that allowed me to see that I wasn't a failure after all. There's nothing I could have done differently, my body was just made differently. 

Each time I think about my kids'  births, I get choked up at how thankful I am that we have this gift of modern medicine, and the doctors were able to deliver my babies for me. Because without C-sections, my babies and I would have died. I think of the days long ago, when this was a very real reality, and women died in childbirth with no other options available to them. And I think of the countries this very day who lose women because of this reason, and I can't help but feel a deep and profound thankfulness for this life. 

[two] More hospital time. 

After a C-section, most hospitals require you to stay 3 or so days to recover. The days and nights in the hospital after my C-sections hold some of my dearest memories of my newborns. Some people escape to home as soon as they possibly can, but I'll take all the quiet moments discovering each other, sweet time watching Chris love on our babies, and delivered meals that I can. Especially now that we have more than one kid, that quiet time in the hospital proves all the more special-- a little pocket of peace and healing before heading home to a wild and crazy house.

[three] Learning to take it slow and accept help. 

I don't know much about the recovery after a natural birth. All I know are C-section recoveries, and I'll just lay it right out-- C-section recoveries are a bitch. Sometimes I feel like a newborn myself, barely able to walk, or even roll out of bed some days. The searing pain of my incision, the inability to lift Silas, bend down to tie a shoe, or even wear Delia in a wrap. But that's the beauty of it-- I can't do anything on my own. We have been superbly and overwhelmingly blessed to have my mom come to stay with us for the ten days following Si and Delia's births. I wish I could send a clone of my mom to each of my friends after they have babies. She's an angel-- making nutritious and filling meals for us, bringing me water while I'm nursing, doing laundry, dishes and diaper changes that I wasn't even aware needed to be done. We've also been really fortunate to have friends bring us meals and come over to entertain Silas after Delia was born.

I imagine this next part pertains to anyone in the first days of their kiddo's life. The month or so after my kids' are born is one of the sweetest illustrations of God's grace in my life. I have nothing to bring to the table. I'm disheveled, weary, and practically helpless. But heaps of goodness overwhelm me. Meals, gifts for Silas, dishes washed. Babies held, clothes folded, being sent off to take a nap. Learning to just say "thank you" and accept the much needed help is a beautiful practice when most of the time, I try to reciprocate as much as I can. Resting in His grace, and soaking in the ways He loves us through our friends and family when we're a wreck is a really beautiful picture to me of the way Christ loves us, even at our worst.

The next Wilkins baby is Lord willing, not coming for a long time yet. But when he or she does arrive, it will be by scheduled C-section. Remind me to come read this post over again. I'm sure I'll need a refresher.

And if you're interested-- this post is where I share some of my favorite tips for C-section recovery, and here's Delia's birth story, and Silas' birth story.

Friday, October 2, 2015

life lately.

Life has been busy lately. The summer went by in a hot blur, filled with splash park outings, road trips big and small, and lots of playing in the kiddie pool in our back yard. And now, somehow it's October?! This is the first week that has really felt like fall, and I have mixed feelings about it. I've joked with a few friends in person that I think I may have PTSD from last winter (remember the 10 foot tall snow piles?!). So, this is the first fall season where I've really felt more dread at the coming cold than joy at enjoying the crisp air and changing leaves. Working on getting my head on straight, but last winter may have ruined me for life. 

I owe you a big blog post about our trip to Canada a few weeks ago, but let's be real-- probably not gonna happen. Long story short, we ended up falling in love with Ottawa while we were there. A complete surprise and blessing. Still a little bit apprehensive about the move up there, but feeling more peace about it after we spent a few days wandering the city, exploring parks and coffee shops and the riverside views. 

Last week, we celebrated Delia's first birthday. We went on a family hike in the woods, ate cake, and spent the whole day just hanging out enjoying our sweet kids and feeling so thankful that God chose us to raise them. Last Saturday, we had friends over for a little celebration, and feasted on curried chicken cider soup, warm beer bread and apple crisp. She took her first steps that day, but has been hesitant to really pursue that mode of transportation, and prefers crawling at lightning speed around the house. 

Chris has been brewing a lot lately. He made two wines earlier in the spring-- a delicious off-dry (I have no idea what that means, but it's slightly sweet and floraly) white wine, and an amazing red wine, that I could drink all day (which is saying a lot, because I'm normally a white wine girl). He also made a coconut stout beer last month, using real coconut that he chopped up and roasted. And then yesterday, he started a batch of hard cider using apple cider from a local farm.  It's been such a fun hobby for him for the past few years, and hopefully we'll be able to continue with that in Canada. 

We just rejoined the Y for the fall/winter, and I'm about to go meet a friend for a Zumba class. I kind of have a feeling I'm going to pull a muscle or something, since my exercise this summer has consisted of hauling around kiddos, lifting beers to my lips, or wading in the bay. Let's hope no one is Periscoping the class (that would be like a felony, right?!).