I have the daily epiphany, as I look into his marvelous face, that HE IS THE PERSON WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR all these last months. This thought fills me with great joy and wonder, that it was HIM floating around inside me, and now he’s with us. It is beyond words for me, truly.
Voila: Shaw Gordon Goldblatt Clark, 8lbs 9oz, 21 ½ inches long, born at 9:50am on Sunday, April 29th, 2012. Photos here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150863018022216.485284.597192215&type=3&l=984b96a160 (an album with more details of the birth and life-on-the-outside also exists. If you want to see it just let me know).
Caleb and I had a fun time scouring our families’ generations for names we loved, and Shaw Gordon was the combination that stood out to us as a boy name that was both meaningful to us and beautiful. Shaw comes from Olde English, and means “dweller in the wood” or “son of,” depending. We love being in the woods together and the natural world has been formative for both of us. It is his paternal great-grandma’s family name which can be traced back hundreds and hundreds of years, and so, has a bit of it all. Gordon is lovely and is his paternal grandma’s family name, which was altered from the original (don’t know that) when they immigrated to the US from Eastern Europe. Goldblatt and Clark for his parents. All adding up to one person’s first foot forward in life: his.
Life thus far has been relatively mellow for all its momentousness. We are counting our MANY blessings (what comes after a trillion?) and enjoying the present moments. Shaw is a tranquil, earnest, healthy boy. He is putting 200% into learning to latch on, feed from both sides, excrete, settle down, and stare with a mesmerized expression at the world within 8-12 inches of his face (Caleb quipped that for a newborn it’s as if they’ve awoken on an alien planet, surrounded by giant aliens, and have yet to figure out that…THEY’RE ONE OF US). He apparently has large hands and his right ear is shaped just like his left one except that the earlobe curves up like a shovel (if this ear thing remains so, as I hope it does since it’s the cutest pair of ears in the universe, we anticipate him feeling embarrassed about it in middle school:). Milk coming in has been our first trial, and we’re working on becoming an even better team as we practice for the many challenges that await us as parents. Betty and Larry, wonderful midwives, and a handful of exceptionally calm and capable friends have helped us hold the fort during this first week. By all outside accounts, we are doing really well. We feel fortunate and grateful, and not yet too sleep-deprived. Caleb will be on paternity leave for another week or so, and has been taking care of me and Shaw, keeping the house in order, and generally being AMAZING during this early time. I am a lucky woman and Shaw is a lucky boy.
Speaking of grateful, thanks to phone callers, texters and emailers. Messages have been hard for me to find the wherewithal to listen to and calls hard to return so far, but I DO SO APPRECIATE your interest and thoughtfulness and will joyfully get back to you when my wits are more about me!
If you have time and desire to read on, here’s my version of Shaw’s birth story. Caleb and I are working one that intertwines both of our perspectives, but it’s not done yet.
Shaw was born at our home in Brattleboro, Vermont, under the care of two outstanding CPMs (CPM: Certified Professional Midwife, who specialize in providing prenatal, birth, and postpartum care for uncomplicated, typical pregnancies and are legally allowed to attend home births). We also had the attention of a wonderful doula and, lastly, a close friend who is a neonatal intensive care nurse and blissfully soothing presence. Although I’ll never know when exactly I “went into labor,” things were brewing all day last Saturday. I went to prenatal yoga class from 9:30 – 11, and had to take my very first break towards the end. I couldn’t concentrate on much and felt generally physically incapacitated most of the day, wandering about offering moral support to Caleb as he worked on house and yard projects we’d initiated together. The final straw was that I decided, “Darn it, I’m going to get something out of this day by at least making lasagna!” I got as far as boiling the pasta before I had to go to bed (or so I thought, HA). Caleb finished up making the lasagna and brought it to me in bed.
Time suspended at this point, and apparently by 10pm I was having 60-second contractions five minutes apart. Caleb called our doula, who promptly came over to offer us support, and time entered yet another dimension. By 2am the contractions were up to 120 seconds, two to three minutes apart, and we called the midwives, who arrived at around 3am. While I coped with the doula’s help, Caleb and the midwives set up a birthing tub in an upstairs room and I hopped in there for what amounted to a break (thank goodness) before pushing contractions began at around 6am. For all that we’d done childbirth classes and I’d gotten oriented to hypnobirthing etc., pushing was what floored me, was where I hit a wall for the first time. I just had NO IDEA how intense and difficult that part would be – in most of what I’d heard, pushing would feel like a welcome (if challenging) homestretch. Well, I suppose it felt welcome but definitely like a slap in the face and a higher hurdle than I’d prepared myself to jump.
However, birthing goes on and by 9am the baby’s head was visible. The problem was, it was no longer progressing steadily outward. The midwives had been using the Doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat frequently since they’d arrived, and in what became these final minutes they didn’t like the slightly slowing trend they heard. They sprung into action, had me get into all kinds of positions, instructed me to push constantly even between the contractions, gave me oxygen through a mask, ultimately did a small episiotomy, and got him the heck out. I don’t think that part took more than five minutes. (During this period of time I remember becoming like some out-of-control screaming woman from the movies, making all kinds of noise.) Then, suddenly, there was a baby! WOW! was the reaction. That’s a big baby for you! As you can see in the very first photos, he was all covered in thick vernix, indicating that he had probably arrived a teensy bit early (which bears truth when compared with my “due” date, May 5th). We all spent the rest of the day pretty much in bed, and have been laying very low ever since.