One year ago I gave birth to my third child. She she shares the same birthday as her big brother, Sage. She was born via C-section at 32 weeks due to severe IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). She lived for 53 minutes and died in my arms despite all that modern medicine could do.
This year has been a less in healing and balance, physcial, mental and spiritual. I am still not entirely healed. I'm not certain one ever can be.
Physically, I followed a fairly ordinary course of healing. The hardest pieces of this were the initial loss of core strength (which wasn't so hot to begin with), the adhesions around my scars which formed as I healed (and which were broken down through the, sometimes painful, massages by my friend, Kristin) and the persistent lack of weight loss, despite working on eating clean and moving more (turns out breastfeeding really does help shed baby weight!).
Mentally, healing is an ongoing process. I have never felt so much anger in my entire life. I still work on acceptance. Grief work is debilitating and having to go back to work as a labor nurse just six weeks after my daughter died was impossible. I left after two months and haven't gone back. For much of the last year I've felt completely divorced from my passion for birth. I'm only now just beginning to touch on it again, and I'm scheduled to take an instructor training for Dancing for Birth this coming weekend. I don't think I'm done with birthwork, but the birth and death of my daughter Ivy will always impact how I relate to birth, on some level, from here on out.
Spiritually, I'm in a state of flux. I don't have a faith tradition on which I can fall back. I've been working with Spirit in a wide variety of ways. Sex/sexuality has been a huge part of it. I've also been going somewhat regularly to a women's ritual group and that connection, as much as the rituals themselves, have been very nourishing to me. Sitting meditation continues to elude me, but I find meditative states in art and sometimes even in housework.
This entire experience is not something that can be translated into one brief blog post, Ivy's death colors and shadows my entire world now. It is woven into the fiber of our family, and though I am not at a point where I can say I am grateful for the lesson, I can say that I have already learned so much from her, and that I am grateful to call her my daughter, even though she could not stay.
Dedicated to Ivy Antrim Upekkha Jones born and returned to starlight on April 13, 2011
Dr. Marshall Klaus, Champion of the Doula
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