One month ago this week I gave birth to my son, Shepherd. He came slow and fast all at once. Slow in the days - he was two days past his due date, which is about 90000 days too late when you are that pregnant. He came slow for the first 8 hours of labor when not much was happening. Then, he came fast -- all of a sudden I was screaming F words and he arrived 15 min after I got an epidural.
I am so glad to have him in my arms now instead of in my belly. I am not a happy pregnant person. (Sorry Kyle for 80% of the things I have said to you over the past 10 months.) I wish I was a person who said they never felt better than when they are pregnant. I wish I was one who said that birth was a beautiful experience. To me, the whole birth thing is just insanity. Complete. Insanity.
This pregnancy was hard, folks. I struggled with anxiety a lot more than I did when pregnant with Sunny. Thankfully now things are evened out again (thanks meds - no shame) and I am feeling more like myself than I have in about a year.
Also, at our 20 week ultrasound they discovered something was wrong with Shepherd's heart. The tech and doctor didn't know what exactly they were looking at, but they knew something was off. I was bawling hysterically on the table as they said things like possible heart surgery at birth, maybe Down syndrome, need more genetic tests - aka some of the most terrifying things to say to an emotional pregnant woman who just expecting show up and watch her little baby dance around for an hour. The next day we went to a pediatric cardiologist for a two hour ultrasound just on his heart, which at the time was just the size of a raisin. A RAISIN. The doctor determined that he likely had a left superior vena cava, which sounds crazy but was actually good news. It shouldn't affect anything as he grows up, no surgery would be needed birth, it was just a weird thing extra part of his heart that about 10% of the population gets. But, some other veins were still not visible so we had to come back in a couple weeks to check again and rule out other conditions. Those were very, very long weeks of not knowing what would happen. But, all went well with that second scan, and then in the hospital after he was born they scanned him again and all seems ok. One final one scan this month and we should be completely in the clear.
So with all that going on, it was a hard few months. But, like what always happens in life, I was refined in the fire. (Even though I would much prefer to be refined through wine, cheese and long vacations.) Before the heart scare, I was really grumpy about being pregnant. And yes, I do have mom guilt about that but it is the truth. After those scary two weeks I felt just immense gratitude. Not everyone gets an ok diagnosis with their kids. Just getting a small taste of what could happen opened up my eyes and heart to those families and situations more than ever before. And, not knowing for awhile what our outcome really would be, I was forced to just live by faith, day by day. Minute by minute. There was nothing I could do but wait and pray, and try and be ok in those in-between moments. Wait and pray and try and find joy between all of that is actually how we live most of our life, if you think about it. I was given a crash course on how to master the art of faith and not freaking out, which I needed.
But now, Shepherd is here and adorable and I give him 900 kisses every day. He fusses a lot because despite what Instagram pics show you, babies DO cry. He loves to be held ALL the time, but I am ok with it because I have perspective. I know now more than ever that this crazy time is a gift, and it is just a season. It is very hard but very good. Most all of life is hard and good, all at once. Rachel Hollis in the book "Girl Wash Your Face" said the people who are the happiest are not the ones who try to fight against the chaos but just accept that all of life is...chaos! And, they learn how to ride the crazy town wave with grace. So, here our little family is on our own new, nutso wave. Messing up a lot as we go but having more gratitude in our hearts along the way.