Beginnings

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it seems all of my children’s births have been demonstrative of the personalities they went on to reveal.

My oldest came on time, but did not come easily.  Labor started just a day past my due date, but was 36 hours long, a good length of that stalled at 8cm, and fraught with periods of dangerous drops in heart rate.  Near the end he did not recover from one such drop in HR, and we were rushed to the OR for an emergency C-section.  Before the doctor started cutting, his HR stabilized.  We all waited silently to see if it would stay that way, and finally the doctor declared that I could try pushing, since I was 10cm by then.  They took me back to the birthing room and I pushed for the next two hours.  Finally, finally, my little boy emerged, head bulbous and screaming with indignation.  He was the most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes on.

Like his birth, my oldest son has always been a worried, nervous child.  He drags his feet, heels dug in, at difficult tasks.  He is concerned about new things and what is happening next.  But in the end he stays the distance.  He’s thoughtful, sensitive, and loyal.

My daughter’s birth was a whirlwind.  Like her older brother, she too was right on time.  Prodromal labor started at 11pm the night of her due date.  Active labor started at 1am, and she was in my arms by 2.  We nearly had her in the street, and as it was, we only made it into the exam room of our birthing center, missing the gorgeous birthing suite with jacuzzi tub altogether.  She arrived ten minutes after the sleepy, harried midwife fumbled to unlock the doors in her nightgown.  My daughter is an unapologetically loud, passionate, and fearless child.  She eagerly dives into to new situations with 110% energy every time, just as she did with her birth.

My youngest too had a birth befitting his character.  It feels like some aspects of his Autism were present from in utero.  He has a very hard time with change, and a great deal of fear and anxiety in new environments.  So in retrospect it should be no surprise that he was determined not to exit the womb.  Unlike my other two who came right around their due dates, R was 11 days late, arriving at 41 weeks and 4 days.  I think he may have stayed in longer if I hadn’t tried every “natural” induction method google had to offer in the days before his birth.  We had a homebirth with midwives, so medication was not on the table.  My labor with him was extremely painful, unlike my unmedicated birth with my daughter, and the unmedicated portion of my birth with my oldest.  Having given birth twice already I was not anticipating that.  He had a very hard time descending into the birth canal until finally my midwife reached in and adjusted his position then used her hand to push my cervix aside while instructing me to push.  With her help he finally slipped into the birth canal.  When he came out he did not cry at first, though he was breathing just fine.  He was a very calm, quiet, and easy baby.  He was born in my bed and stayed there with me for several days.  When I was finally up for moving about more, we noticed that he cried whenever we took him off of our bed, but was calm and content as long as he was on that bed.  At that time his whole world was that bed, and he became upset whenever he was asked to explore beyond it.  Slowly he grew to expand his world to include the rest of the room, and eventually the rest of the house.  As he got older, we could not take him new places without having him snuggled into my breast in a carrier.  If I tried to remove him from the carrier he would wail.  We would go to fun places, like mommy & me playgroups, play spaces, and playgrounds.  I would see all the other babies his age crawling away from their mothers, interested in exploring the objects and environment around them.  R just wailed and wailed if I tried to remove him from his place against my chest in the carrier.  But as long as we were home or in a very familiar environment he was the happiest, easiest baby.

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