June 18, 2013
Today I met my daughter. Today I met the part of my life that was there since the beginning of time and was, up until now, simply missing from my completed self. Today i found out who I always was and every single mistake i ever made washed away as she was born to me through the love of my life, my soon to be wife and best friend, Jamie, in our bedroom in West Hollywood California.
Jamie and I started in our first couple of months of pregnancy going through health insurance and doing the regular OB/GYN appointments. One day Jamie came home crying from an appointment with a doctor who was supposed to be one of four who would deliver our baby. The doctor treated her very ignorantly and like all of our previous appointments just rushed through seeing her and offered no real support amongst other things. I decided that day I would go to any length or cost to make this experience better for Jamie. We dedicated our lives at that time to research in hopes to find another way around being just another number at the hospital. We eventually decided on home birth and a group of midwives practicing in Los Angeles called "The Sanctuary". The difference between The Sanctuary and what we had seen in our first couple of visits at Cedars Sinai hospital was drastic. We were no longer being treated like a Mcdonald's order when it came to my beloved Jamie's Perinatal care, but instead very kind and compassionate treatment made Jamie feel very empowered about her right to a natural birthing process. Jamie is a professional real estate manager. She is about as both smart and beautiful as anyone could ever be, but that is only matched by her professionalism. I say this because it is remarkable that Jamie was proud to declare to anyone along our journey that she was giving birth at home despite what the vast majority of people might think. This is a statement to show how strong and proud she felt about her decision. All I can say to add to this is that our birth experienced was even better then anything we could have imagined.
I on the other hand did not want to tell anyone. I hid the home birth from my boss and co-workers as well as family. I spent hours in birthing and child care classes and was at almost every one of Jamie's prenatal appointments, but honestly I don't expect most guys to understand that. I also didn't really need to hear anyone's opinion about the issue because i had done my research and was probably more educated than anyone on the matter so I kept it to myself. Regardless, I knew after the birth it would be easier for me to tell those who were blindly opposed to the idea of a home birth and I felt it was best for now to stay private.
Jamie went into early labor at 5 am on Tuesday June 18, 2013. She woke me to tell me but asked that I just go back to sleep and if she needed me she would let me know. She went to take a bath and began laboring. At about 7:00 She woke me up telling me the pain was so bad she wouldn't be able to take it and wanted to go to the hospital. I called our midwives at 7:13 am after counting contractions and timing intervals. The midwives decided she was quickly progressing through labor and they immediately came to our home.
Jamie had three midwives to support her and a Doula, which is like kind of a personal support in any way that makes the labor easier. Our Doula's name was Laura Garland and she stayed by our sides and comforted Jamie constantly with massage, candles, cool compresses and other support. She is a friend. Everyone at our birth truly cared about us and our baby. I know that because they love life and their calling as well as themselves and it shows in their eyes and their actions.
Once Jamie had reached the pushing phase of her labor she got into a birthing pool that we had set up in our bedroom and started to push through contractions. I got into the tub with Jamie and helped support her while she pushed against me. I was there when my baby girl's thick locks of dark hair began to emerge. I was there for my baby every step of the way.
The midwives offer a lot of support and in case of emergency have everything to hold the safety of the space, but Jamie had done it all on her own. She is and will always be a true hero to me because of her strength and courage to always go for what she feels is right, regardless of what the majority of society says is the right way to do something. Jamie is truly a person who you can always rely on and always trust.
Later that night, after i helped Jamie to bed and Ivy had been fed, I changed the baby's diaper and laid her in her bassinet. I turned out the lights and I kneeled beside her. I put my fingers in her hands and she griped me tightly. She was making little grunts and noises all along. I thought of all my family I lost as a kid. My grandmother first, she loved me more then anyone could love. I felt her and I knew she was in the room with me... holding us both... smiling.. Then I felt my Grandfather.. finally I felt my Dad. And I wasn't afraid. My dad was killed, my grandfather died of cancer, and my grandmother died of heart break from her son and husband passing, but they were all together and the love was undeniable. Everything past and present seemed to be at the same time for a time right there with my baby Ivy.
I knew my life was complete at that moment. Ivy gripped my finger again tighter then before.
I realized what paradise was in that same moment. Something I never thought could be, something I spent a lot of my life conflicted over. How could there ever be a space where people could be eternally happy?
Heaven was simpler then I had ever imagined it before and closer to me then I could ever see. Everyone I loved together in spirit, forever. It's all about parents and their children, watching over each other with the kind of love you could never understand until you become a parent. I will live the rest of my life loving my little Ivy and that's something that will never ever change. No matter what she does and no matter who she wants to be. I am forever better for her. I am forever changed, but since the beginning this was always meant to be.
Ivy Lynne Wilkens
June 18, 2013.
With all my heart I love you Ivy.