07 December 2005

Strength is a Mother

I haven't posted recently. Two events have rocked my world. Two tragedies, to people I only know online, but somehow, it really matters. First, Debra's baby Quinn went back to heaven. At just over a year of age, he went to sleep and just never woke up. I've known Debra online for just over three years. She has pushed everyone who knows her to ask the hard questions and embrace the difficult truths. She's been my inspiration, and ultimately, it was Debra's strength that allowed me to decide on homebirth VBAC for Kestrel. Because of the trials she went through over Quinn, who was born disabled, I realized that a mother's love can overcome pretty much anything. Debra walked the walk, she was handed the incredibly unfair card of a child with overwhelming disability, and she fought for him like a lion. Every single day, she fought. Fought the system that wasn't giving him everything he needed, fought the fatigue that comes with having to fight all the freaking time. Debra is strength, to me. And now, she's having to fight all over again, against loss and pain and grief and getting her legs knocked out from under her again and again and now some more. And since Quinn passed a little over a week ago, I cannot put either of my sleeping boys down without pausing to check their breathing, and being absolutely present in the moment with them, and grateful, so incredibly grateful, that I have them, that they are healthy, that we are a family. I find myself sitting by Kestrel's cosleeper or Rowan's big boy bed, and just weeping for any mother who sits by an empty bed. Then, there's Amanda. Amanda, who during a perfect homebirth, felt herself rupture, and despite making it to the hospital in under five minutes, was treated stupidly by the staff, such that her uterus ruptured in three places, she coded on the table but was resucitated, and her baby, Noah, was lost. There are no adequate words for the rage, and the grief, and the rage again, cycling around each other as my thoughts spin from detail to detail, from question to question. Mostly, I damn the doctor who did her first unnecessary cesearean. I damn the people who dare call themselves medical "professionals" who then patronize and minimize a woman's pain, and knowledge of what's going on in her own body, because she's just another hysterical birthing woman. My thoughts are only able to touch briefly on Amanda's road ahead; I sit at the keyboard with all the other women who know her and have been part of her story, and the tears roll ... Birth is as safe as life gets, and sometimes, it's just not very safe. It almost makes the heart break to think about the generations of women before us, who knew that truth and faced it and jumped back into the pool that is creation of a family, over and over. How could they bear it? How can we? And yet, as I write this, Kestrel is lying on the bed cooing and plbthing to his toy cow, and in a few moments, Rowan will wake up, and I'll hear the pitter patter of his feet come running down the hall to see me, and get his morning "hugs and kisses and hugs" as he calls them. We keep on, because we are strong.


At 12/07/2005 08:16:00 AM, Anonymous Dana said...

Wow, difficult to know what to say to all that.

And what an amazing place the internet is to put you in touch with all these wonderful mothers and their trials. Moms back then had only the support of their immediate family and friends, and we know how weak that can be.

BTW, that blog in itself, with the permission of the moms, would make a wonderful, touching essay. Hmmmmmmmm.


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