Monday, December 5, 2011

The True Knot: The Birth Of Ever Elizabeth

 One year ago, almost to the day, on December 2cd, 2010, Ever Elizabeth Ethridge Curry was brought into this world via C-Section.  Do you all remember how she had been turning, and turning...and turning? My doctor said she had never seen a baby flip like that, right up to the actual moment of her birth. Our other children were born vaginally, and Lola, our last birthing, came into this world completely naturally, in a tub, in a simple bedroom after a hard but relatively short labor. Ever wasn't having it. She turned like a ballerina, and turned like a water baby, and turned like she was determined to find a new way out, until finally our doctor gave up trying to decide what position this little girl would end up in, and scheduled a C-Section. I was overdue the date of her C-Section, enormous and swollen to 184 pounds of water, blood and baby.  My anesthesiologist wore gold chains around his neck and had a bristle mustache that moved vigorously when he talked. Your husband can be there, he said. You'll be fine. So Mr. Curry was there while the needle pierced through my tattoo into my spine, and my body went numb from breast to toe.  While the cut, Mr. Curry told me memories of our life together. I cried a little, panicked some, breathed, breathed, breathed. Feeling numb while bringing a baby into the world was completely contradictory to every experience I'd ever had or come to expect of childbirth, and it's still not something I'm happy about, but as it turns out, it was a miracle.
 I felt the great tugging, tugging, tugging, as they yanked her gently from my womb, and then waited, holding my breath, until I heard her cry- a cry I can recall with clarity and joy to this day. She sounded like an angry kitten, a scratchy, beautiful calling out that brought tears to my eyes. I kept my head up and called for her as Mr. Curry talked to her while he cut the cord, while she was weighed, and bundled, until finally, finally, they placed her next to me, and I could kiss her face, her tiny, perfect, adored face. I think the pictures tell it all.
 Mr. Curry kept his head next to mine and hers, as we all kissed each other repeatedly through tears of joy. After a moment, he kissed my cheek. Maggie, I want to tell you something, he said. The tone in his voice alarmed and confused me. How could there be any concerns? Here she was, safe and healthy in our arms! It turns out, he went on, that Ever had a knot in her cord. And the knot she had is actually rare, it's called a True Knot, because instead of a kink in the umbilical cord, or a loose gathering, she had an actual sailor's knot, tied up tight. Do you want to see?
 Look at it! A true knot! All that turning that Ever did, all that ballet, led to this amazing creation in my- our- umbilical cord. According to the nurses, it was a blessing that we had the C-Section, because labor, especially with my scar tissue ( from surgeries for Endometriosis ) would have been dangerous for Ever, and most likely would have ended in an emergency C-Section.  When deciding if we should OK a C-Section, I kept coming back to one thing the doctor had mentioned during a checkup. Sometimes it seems the baby keeps turning because something is wrong, and they know it, she said. But who knows?  Maybe this baby knows, I thought. Maybe she's trying to tell us, and we're not listening. I'm so glad I heeded that voice- her voice.
 She was brought into the world safe and sound, and her Daddy could hold her and kiss her face.
 I began nursing her immediately, and she latched on like a champ- a champ who needed a little help, but still, a champ. I wish I had known that C-Section moms often have a delay in their milk let down, because mine didn't really come in for three days! I was starting to worry about my ability to nurse Ever, when really, I just had to keep nursing and send those signals to my body, and sure enough, the milk came in.
 I felt dazed and already a bit anxious, the beginning of a long ordeal of post partum anxiety for me, but I could feel still the world shifting in my cells, the way it does when we fall in love with our children.
 This is one of my favorite pictures of the entire day, because it captures the exact first moment the kids walked in and saw their baby sister for the first time.
 Lola was immediately terrified ( by me, swollen and dazed ) and completely in love ( with Ever, tiny and perfect )
 Dakota was soft voiced and tender handed. Later he said he was surprised how emotional it was for him.
 Ian surprised me most with the depth of his tenderness. He is so, so attentive and loving with Ever.
 Suddenly, we had FOUR KIDS!!!
 My mom and her second granddaughter. Ever's middle name- Elizabeth- is after my Grandmother, my mom's mom. We miss her so much.
 My mom teaching Lola how to hold Ever. My mom took care of the kids while I was in the hospital, which  meant lots of really good food and presents!  We waited so long for Ever. We went through so much, including the loss of a baby at 13 weeks that we still all mention, love, and think about. Ever truly completes our family. Happy Birthday, baby girl!!!!

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