My sweet baby joined us earthside.  I can NOT believe it has been one year already, although in many ways, it seems like he’s always been with us….like they all have, really.  It feels strange to have two significant birthdays this year.  My “baby” will become a teenager soon and my youngest will no longer “officially” be a baby.  While all my children’s births have their special memories, these two births stand out as the ones that have had the most impact.  But, that is a post for another time.  Today, I want to reflect on him, his birth and the journey we’ve been on for the last year (well, if you want to get technical, it’s been almost two years).

When I think back on my pregnancy with him, I three words come to mind: fear, uncomfortable and beautiful

Fear:  Sometimes, my husband and I look at him and marvel.  We remember, all too well, how many times we wondered if he would make it here.  We remember the fear of those first couple of months, when it seemed as though he was only tenuously holding on inside me.  Every pain, every not-completely-normal (and some normal) feeling was scrutinized…whether we wanted to or not.  We chose to have not one but two ultrasounds in those early days, fearing the worst and crying with relief when we saw a little bean jumping around on the screen.  I tried so hard to let go of the fear, but it was always there, lurking just below the surface.  The naivety I had in my previous pregnancies had been wiped away and the difference was stark, unavoidable and scary.  There is no safe point anymore.  This has been the undercurrent of my journey with this babe; the knowledge that at any time, any place, he can be gone in a second.

Taking a minute from wedding prep to notice the growing baby bump (11weeks)

Uncomfortable:  This was the most physically demanding pregnancy I’ve had.  My body was tired, always complaining of this or that.  My veins pulsed, my butt hurt, my feet ached.  My nose grew with my belly.  I kept saying to my husband that it was a good thing this was our last child, as I wasn’t sure I could do it again.  I finally was able to understand the women who didn’t enjoy every second of their pregnancies!  I was UNcomfortable, but still I felt….

Beautiful:  I am lucky in this aspect.  It doesn’t matter how big I get (and this last time, I got HUGE!), or how uncomfortable I am, I enjoy being pregnant.  I feel beautiful and lush and womanly.  I feel ethereal and like a goddess.  There is nothing, for me, that compares to the art of growing a baby.  Something happens to us when we are with child, something magical that we just can not help.  It is what draws me to pregnant women and it is what makes me feel so beautiful when I am pregnant myself.  I love it.

When I think back on my labor and his birth, I feel an intense gratitude for the many people who made up my birth team.  I feel a deep sense of she-ra warrior pride in myself.  I feel humbled at the sacred miracle that is birth.

There were times this year that the days seemed long and dark, but remembering feeling his head, breathing him out and looking at him for the first time gave me strength.  I think about climbing up the mountain to meet him and coming back down with him in my arms, and I know that I can do anything.  I am womyn, hear me roar.

*The* moment

His birth was truly phenomenal.  He is truly phenomenal.

Smiling at 3 days old

Those first days, weeks, months were rough.  We spent the first week barely getting out of bed, he and I, just nursing and staying down.  After that, we took our time, moving at a much slower pace than before he came.  We were learning each other, trying to find our way back out of the labyrinth.  I got lost a few times, but he was always there.  On those days when I wondered what was wrong with me, I remembered his birth day and looked at the light in his eyes…they compelled me back.

7 weeks

We’re taking pictures this afternoon for his special day, and I hope to capture the few remaining “baby” features he has left….the fatty tops of his feet, the smiles he gives me, the look when he nurses.  They’re fading so fast now and I just want to hold on to them.

Happy Birth Day my Milo!

Enjoying his last "1st" card from Grandma

Sleeping birthday boy!