The wintery morning you were born, I woke up crying. I was exhausted and sore from the pain of carrying my enormous belly (your home) around and fighting with my bed and my bladder for the tiniest morsels of sleep for what had felt like an eternity. The pure weight of your two bodies and all the other “stuff” it took to create you was incredible, and truth be told I was battered and worn down from all the physical challenges of twin pregnancy and best rest. It took me mustering up every single ounce of energy I could find to simply shower and blow-dry my hair, and it had been weeks since I was able to do so without needing several breaks to lie down and catch my breath.
Sissy and your brother were showering and packing up the car with your dad while I fumbled with a new playlist to play while you were born. I had spent hours assembling several playlists for the occasion already – an acoustic jazz compilation, some of my favorite Broadway shows, songs my father sang to me when I was a baby. But suddenly on this morning, nothing about those playlists was seemingly good enough. Music is my everything; and so I did what I do whenever I feel overwhelmed and out of control, I threw myself in to melodies and lyrics that move and ground me. It wasn’t long before the lyrics of one of my favorite Indigo Girls songs rendered me into a puddle of tears on the bathroom floor. I had spent countless hours laying in pools and bathtubs rubbing my belly, staring at the movement from inside of me, trying so desperately to “know you.” I was often afraid if I would be able to feel immediately connected and bonded to you when I struggled so much to process the abstract concept that you were actually people inside of me. You so often felt like strangers. Strangers that had invaded my body non the less. In some ways, I think because of my incredible adoption experiences, I struggled to bond in the “wait” the way I had with your brother. It was, and still is the most mind-blowing concept that you were both grown from inside of me and then, in a matter of minutes, were screaming from outside of me as two human beings.
Your father found me sobbing in the bathroom while the lyrics of “love will come to you,” belted out from the speakers. He proceeded to hold me, like he had spent so much time doing during my pregnancy, while I finally let it all out and let it go; all of the anxiety, anticipation, exhaustion, and sheer emotion of where we had been and what was about to take place was truly daunting. I had held on as long as I could. I had taken as much as I could bear. It was one of the most overwhelmingly emotional moments of my entire life. There was so much fear combined with so much unknown and there was no possible way to anticipate what was going to happen next. I like to think of that break down as the turning point in my entire journey. It was in that moment I left the struggle of everything we had been through behind me to open up space for the forces of love that is the two of you to enter into my life.
By the time I had climbed into the car and we were en route to the hospital, all of the anxiety and emotion had dissipated and all that was left was a crystal clear clarity and incredible peace that I was READY, in every sense of the word. By the time I checked into the labor and delivery room I was starting to experience an overwhelming sense of peace and gratitude that we were finally safe and that everything was going to be okay. All of the nerves slowly melted away and I was overcome by the presence of faith and of God that I was finally about to experience this miracle of life that I had read about and heard about so many times.
After being hooked up to the monitors and prepared to be moved back into the surgery room there was just one more thing to do before meeting you. I had put a great deal of thought and intention into how to incorporate your brother and sissy into your the birth experience. The loyalty a parent feels to their older children when they have another child is quite remarkable. I imagine it is daunting regardless of adoption or age etc., but when you combine the fact that these two relationships combined span more years than I’ve been alive, and the fact that three of us have weathered so much life together as the three amigos, than you can understand why in that moment my heart still belonged to the two of them and my focus was on letting them know just how much they both meant to me and how no one and nothing could possibly replace them or take that away from us.
Right before entering labor and delivery, I surprised your brother with a book of all the memories of our 9 years together as well as a letter thanking him for being my son and making me a mother. He read the letter out loud. Needless to say it was an incredibly moving and love filled experience and there was not a dry eye left in the house. At the very last minute Sissy was granted permission to be in the room during your C-section, which was a miracle in and of itself since additional people in the surgery room was such against regulation. It was only weeks prior to your birthday that Sissy had lost her birth mother in a hospital room after letting her off of life support, and so I like to think that was her mom looking down onto us all, and wanting there to now be life where once there was death. I also like to think that our entire journey as a family – the three amigos with our trio of maternal loss (all three of us have experienced very profound loss of our mothers) and pain from the absence of our biological ties being present in how we all fit together was such a powerful healing exercise and truly transformative in terms of how love really can heal us all.
In that moment, in that hospital room, we were such a complicated triangle of family and yet, all four of you children are all such a powerful and incredible part of what makes me who I am and I couldn’t be prouder of each of you and how we came to one another. There are truly no words to describe how powerful and connected I felt in that moment to love and to life and to being a mother. I felt pride in a way I had never once experienced prior to that moment. After walking into the surgery room, I was greeted by the most loving and caring nurses who helped insert my spinal, which numbed me for my c-section. The operating room was blindly bright, and there were a lot of crazy sounds and sensations that are truly indescribable.
*** Warning Surgical Photos Included – Graphic Content
What I remember most about your birth was how much love I felt surrounded by, the way your father looked at me, the depth of the love I felt for him, the way sissy glowed in that moment, but nothing can compare to the overwhelming love that literally waved over me the minute I heard your cries for the very first time. The moment that I saw your face was like the greatest love affair one could ever imagine. I truly wasn’t anticipating just how quickly I would fall in love and how absolutely breathtaking you both would be. The first time I saw your faces I was absolutely overtaken with emotion. It was one of the most remarkable experiences and greatest highs of my entire life. Your father was the first to hold the both of you in his arms and I will never forget the depth of my love for him and for you both in that moment.
I had to wait a little while for the doctor to finish the procedure and then I was finally allowed to hold the both of you in my arms as they wheeled me back to the recovery room. I remember holding the two of you so proudly as nurses congratulated us on your birth as your father and I both gleamed with pride and accomplishment.
Once we arrived into the recovery room, all of your family joined us and absolutely poured love over each and every one of you. You got to meet your brother and sissy, your grandparents and your uncle Shawn. Everyone was absolutely amazed at how gorgeous you both were and we were all so beyond grateful that you both arrived earth side so strong, healthy and happy
. Aveline, your nickname of “birdie” was immediate as your grandpa studied your birdie faces. As all of your family passed you around the room and held you in their arms it was as if a new chapter had begun for us as a family and suddenly we all were complete. It was as people had said, you had always just been and were always meant to be. So many years while I struggled with infertility and failure I truly had so many days, weeks, and months where I was so sure that this moment of your lives beginning would never come to pass. It is such a lesson in faith and believing in the journey as a whole and knowing that things happen in Gods time and not in ours and that our very complicated paths to something always lead us right to where we belong. We all belong to each other.