Dear Jane Alice,
Welcome to the world. You are my daughter. I am your mother. Here we go!
I started this blog when your brother was about seven months old as a way to record his childhood and all the hilarity it would entail. I never dreamed I would have YOU and get to record YOUR childhood too.
I thought my first letter to you should be your birth story. That's right, my dear. This post is not about your big brother and his potty training, or lack thereof, but rather, about the way and the day we first met.
It all started on Memorial Day, about two weeks before you were born. I just knew you were going to come a little early, like your brother, so every day for those two weeks there was some symptom, some sign - a cramp here, a contraction there - that led me to believe you were coming ANY MINUTE!
At 40 weeks you still had not come and I just knew you never would. I was going to be pregnant FOREVER. A freak of nature. And, I kept telling myself that it wouldn't be so bad. At least I wasn't nauseous anymore. I could handle this. I was a cute pregnant girl, right? Everyone said it was all in my belly. Imagine how great my hair and nails would look for the rest of my life!
But then, on Friday, June 8th - three days after my due date - I woke up with a "bloody show". That is, I peed and when I wiped, there was a little pink something.
Finally! This was the day! It had to be! My mom, your Patty Mama, had bloody shows and then had babies within a few hours. Surely, you'd be here by lunch!
I called my doula, Angela, to give her this update and told her that I'd probably have you by lunch. She asked a few questions and then gingerly told me to try to keep my daily routine as normal as possible. I was to let her know if anything changed.
Still thinking I was going to deliver you by lunch, I kept your daddy home from work and sent your brother to Grandma and Grandpa's house.
To pass the time, your daddy and I decided to run some errands, one of which was to Home Depot.
When I waddled in, the girl at the entrance asked if I was over due. Weird question, I thought, but I told her yes and that I was actually in labor. Her eyes got as big as saucers, but I reassured her that I was okay - baby wasn't coming 'til lunch!
I was okay. I was having contractions, but nothing regular and nothing I couldn't breathe through. Even talk through.
On the way home we stopped at McDonald's. It was their grand opening and I thought maybe the quality of food would get things going in my intestines, thereby inducing labor. I was wrong.
We got home and napped. Nothing changed so we decided to go for a walk. It was too hot to go for a walk outside, so we went to Opry Mills Mall. I hadn't been since they reopened. They had been closed since the Flood of 2010.
We walked the mall, but still, nothing changed. Might as well cross the street and walk Opryland Hotel!
Before leaving the hotel, I stopped to pee. It was a little after 4:00 PM and I didn't want to get stuck in rush hour traffic with a full bladder. We were heading to Grandma and Grandpa's house to eat supper and bring your brother home. Surely, as soon as we got home with him, you'd start coming! I mean, it was after lunch, and that pink something from this morning had lingered all day and was now a red something.
On my way out of the bathroom, I felt a pop and a trickle. Not sure what it was, I told your daddy and asked if he could see any wetness. Indeed, he could. I couldn't see it because of my big belly, but the front of my pants was a little wet.
Oh my! I wonder if my water just broke?!
I went back to the bathroom and tried to figure out if it was amniotic fluid or pee. Maybe I hadn't gotten all the pee out, ya know?
Everything smelled like pee, so it must have been pee. Oh well.
We drove to Grandma and Grandpa's house and had dinner with no change. After dinner we sat around talking and as I stood up to check on your brother, another pop and trickle. Uh-oh. This can't be more pee. I better call my doula.
As I stood on the front porch talking to Angela on the phone, I noticed an increase in pain during contractions and found myself leaning over the railing to get through them. I also kept leaking fluid and by the time we hung up, my pants were soaked.
Angela explained that your head was very low and was acting as a cork, keeping the fluid from gushing. I could either go to the hospital and be stuck there until you arrived, or I could go home, shower, rest, etc... and expect you to come sometime that night.
Since I had been planning on and preparing for a natural birth, your daddy and I opted for the latter and left your crying brother with Grandma and Grandpa.
Friday, September 14, 2012
I remember the first time I heard Kim at The Village Chapel pray for you. You, a tiny little image bearer.
You were still in your mother's womb, but I remember thinking that doctors don't know everything and that since I had worked with children with disabilities, including diagnoses like "incompatible with life", that not only could you survive, but thrive.
I remember praying for you every time I saw your name on the prayer list, Pearl Joy Brown. And, whenever I'd tell someone about you, I always said your whole name. Emphasizing the Joy. Still do.
Now that you're here, and thriving, I count it all joy to continue to pray for you. To rejoice in photos of you on Twitter. And to tell others about you. Pearl Joy Brown.
I pray that your life will be evidence that God still works miracles. Doctors said you were impossible.
I rejoice in your beautiful red hair and soulful big eyes. My own children have red hair, so I may be biased there. But, no one can deny the wonder in your eyes. They are convincing and convicting.
I tell others about you because, Pearl, your story is a reminder that we are not in charge. It is not up to us to decide which babies get to live and which ones to die. Which ones survive and which ones thrive.
May you and your family be blessed beyond measure. More than we could ask or imagine. And may all those who hear your story be transformed in mind and heart, with joy.
Hoping to meet you soon,