six weeks ago we welcomed our precious daughter Gracelyn Jean into the world. since then i’ve been living in the newborn fog…but i decided it is time to write again. even if there really are no words to describe the miracle of her birth or the way our hearts have melted with this new kind of love.
i will type as the thoughts come to me…without editing or perfecting. because that is what this chapter of motherhood is already showing me. seeing the beauty of this array of emotions that has engulfed me in the weeks since her birth. the joy that comes in accepting that we will learn as we go and we will grow together and this is how God designed family. the realization that attachment can be so instinctive and love can feel so different. the overwhelming gratitude and joy, the worry, the grief that our first child didn’t have this kind of welcome. tears flow almost daily. but our little beauty? she has changed our family for the better. she is wanted. loved. treasured.
i felt the first contractions on wednesday, february 20th. initially, i didn’t think it was really happening. we hadn’t expected her to be early! but i quickly realized that this was the real deal. i knew that our lives were about to be changed forever. i labored alone through the night, trying to relax through the ever-intensifying contractions which were hitting me like waves. i breathed and moved around and told myself that i was strong and capable. i felt ready. present. full of excitement. Troy helped me get through the morning as contractions got closer together. he did everything by the books, and i am so proud of him for how calm and focused he was. his presence helped me stay centered and peaceful. then around 11 things got really intense. i started panicking and told him i thought we should go to the hospital. we decided to wait for our doula to arrive so she could assess the situation. by the time she got to our house around noon i felt like i needed to push. i was terrified that our baby would be born at home or in the car. but we made it to the hospital somehow. i was yelling and groaning the whole way and i think Troy almost lost his mind driving me there. he kept telling me that i was going to be okay and the baby would not be born in the car. it was like a scene from a movie.
arriving at the hospital, i was suddenly overcome with emotions and fear gripped me. our doula Heidi was an incredible support, reminding me that God was with me and He would be with me the whole way. i was 10 centimeters dilated, so it was already time to push! the pushing was far more painful than i expected, and several times i doubted my body’s ability to get her out…but i used every ounce of strength i had and yelled like a warrior while i pushed. they say you forget the pain of childbirth, but i don’t think i ever will. really though, i don’t want to ever forget the feeling of my daughter making her way into the world.
Gracelyn Jean was born at 1:14pm. oh that moment of her birth! the wonder and miracle of new life. reaching my arms out so desperately and holding her to my chest. the primal love that is so unconditional, unlike any other love i have known. the instant connection. the wonder at her perfectly formed body, so complete and whole. it was almost too much for my mind to take in. i was shaken to my core and wrecked with joy and exhaustion and relief all at once.
what a privilege and honor it is to have this darling baby to love and raise. mothering Gracelyn has been such a joy! i think God knew we needed a low-maintanance child. she is an incredibly easy, laid back baby. she can sleep through anything and is very alert in between her naps. we are continually amazed at how beautiful she is! what a precious treasure we have been entrusted with.
i am thankful that i will always have these moments to look back on. when things are tough and i don’t have the answers, i can remember how easy it was to fall in love with my daughter.
honestly, the past six weeks haven’t been smooth sailing. we have been trying to figure out the unpredictable world of having a newborn while still raising our 7-year-old who needs stability and routine more than she needs food. Mikisa has handled the transition better than we expected, but she definitely is struggling with some jealousy and is generally more whiny and needy (especially around me). but it melts my heart to hear her say “can i hold baby?” and to see her try to calm Gracelyn when she cries. she is learning how to hold her and gives kisses freely. it is wonderful to see her heart softening towards her little sister.
so there it is. the beginning of Gracelyn’s story. we are so thankful she was given to our family and we pray for God’s protection and grace on her life. we look forward to seeing how her story unfolds.