Fear creeps in at night. I hear lies whisper to me. And so it would seem that all my labors begin with my water breaking at night time. I would regularly pray, "God, please give me grace in this labor. Tay's was so intense. Don't let my water break at night, again, for the third time."
Thirty-seven weeks hit and the countdown began. Tay came at two days past 38 weeks, while V came three days before due date. And then, well, the due date came and went, like most Washington summers; and still without a name.
We had about 10 names written down, just none finalized. I couldn't help but hold off until seeing her face. I would perpetually pray, "What should we name her? What will be her story? What do you have for her?"
We had established names for the older two even though we didn't know if they were of the X or Y chromosome. Both had very thought out names long before 37 weeks. Yet, like all stories, each unique and telling in it's own cadence. This one bouncing within deserved to have some privacy & space in her name. Much like that moment when Zachariah's tongue was let loose with John as the name given to his son.
Saturday was a relatively warm summer day in Bellingham. The grandparents decided to come up with their camper and take the girls to give us some time alone. The house quiet, baby kicking inside, I knew I should finally pack some baby clothes & mine for a birth that could happen that day. I stowed them inside a box, set them in the van for the expectant.
Ben wanted to see the new Batman movie, in case it was our last chance. We ate Thai food. Five and half years ago I ate Thai food for dinner, we met our firstborn the next morning. Exhausted from the late showing, I hit the pillow rather quickly upon arriving home. I fell asleep for about 20 minutes when I felt a baby kick so hard I needed to go to the bathroom.
I wondered, "Was that my water breaking?" No, back to bed I went. Then, a kick and gush. Yes. Third time in a row. My water broke before contractions beginning. Yes, my water broke at night, just what I prayed against. With V & Tay, my heart sunk and fear cascaded in about what was to come.
Two weeks before giving birth, there was that perfect love casting out fear moment. Where the kingdom pours over into the not yet. My mother's prayer for this daughter was to know that perfect love & not fear. Her name should reflect this. I tucked it away.
I called my midwife to tell her my water broke and calmly called down to Ben, "Ben, my water broke. Again." There wasn't fear. There wasn't anxiety about what was to come. Simply a knowing. Knowing I would be meeting our daughter. Knowing God would be there as I labored and the hope to come beat any fear. Knowing we embrace pain, in order to find refinement.
I tried to go back to sleep. Ben easily slept. The minor aching resided in my lower back with in & out sleep came mixed with dreams about living in Gotham City. Around 3:00 am i could feel the contractions increasing. I called my midwife to tell her they were getting stronger, rising up and falling down. Good signs. She told me to keep trying to sleep and when I couldn't sleep through them give her a call.
It was 3:50 am and no sleep, just that rising intensity. I called her back and we would meet her at the Birthing Center in 20 minutes. I woke Ben up and told him it was time to go. He got last minute items together, while I lay on the bed falling into the waves.
We arrived at 4:30 and I immediately fell like a chalk body outlined at a crime scene. The waves were getting stronger and breathing intensified. Yet, it wasn't unbearable if I lay as still as possible. Beginning in the lower back, climbing around to my stomach, up toward the top of my uterus and cascading down forcing open the cervix. With each contraction, I knew fighting the sensation would only make it worse; rather, the need to embrace it and be.
It was around 5:30 when I was checked for the first time. I wasn't told how far along I was, simply, "I should call C to come. Would you like me to draw up the water?" This indicated two things. One, if E was calling C (the other midwife), I was close. Two, if water was suggested, then I was progressing as getting into hot water can slow down contractions if entered into too early. The water helped take the edge off. More rising, more falling and me sleeping in between contractions. Ben sat on the tub edge quiet, giving me sips of water. This is how I labor. Talkative by nature, but during intense mental & physical focus, I'm silent. I don't need cheerleaders or encouragers, simply quiet presence.
E asked if there was anything she could do to guide me or help me. "Anything to move this along," I said. She checked me and told me I only had a thin lining left, but I could begin to bear down a bit to help move it along. I tried as much as I could with cervical contractions booming. Then, those contractions came. The undeniable urge to push. The silent lion came roaring about that moment. I said, "I don't want to push in the tub. I want the birthing stool." I transferred to the birthing stool and began to push. I could feel that burn. E exclaimed, "I see the head!" Ben chimed in, "Yes, I see the head! You're doing great!" That's when the encouraging can begin as they rally me to the finish line. I ease to avoid tearing and push listening to E's guidance, "Kamille, you just pushed the head out!"
I knew it was almost over. Then the shoulders her body covered in all it's creamy vernix came right out. I looked down to see a little face that imaged V's. Cries burst forth and forth. They didn't stop for a whole hour after birth. She had a roar indeed.
This, this moment of seeing her face, forgetting the contractions and even the burning below to hold this undeserved gift placed inside me in late November. Her face wasn't an Alizah, Tiersa, or Jubilee. She was deserving of more than Eden, Mikah, or Cora.
Saturday evening sitting outside the grandparents camper, Ben was talking about the book he just finished by Bob Goff, Love Does. Goff writes about how we need more "whimsey" in our lives. My father-in-law said, "what about Whimsey?" Ben replied, "You know, I kind of like that." Me, I don't think so.
As we were waiting for Batman to begin, I typed in "whimsey name meaning." It came up with Capricia. I didn't like that, but the name Caprice served as an alternative. It means, "whimsical, playful."
There we sat on the bed, holding our third born--daughter. I said to Ben, "I don't think she looks like an Alizah or Tiersa. I have an idea for a different name. One not on the list. What about Caprice? It means, "whimsical, playful." He liked it. I knew he'd like it.
We had one name on our list that was just right for her middle name. Aria. It means "lion/lioness" in Hebrew. Those two weeks ago while sitting in the service, where I tucked away the word "fearless" was also this image of a lion. Lion's being one of the most fearless of animals. The lion of Judah. The perfect love of Jesus casts out fear. My prayer would be that one of my girls would not battle with fear and anxiety. And so, she would be called Caprice Aria, our whimsical, playful lion.
Her being here has brought that speechless joy of staring heaven on Earth in the eyes. Friends, I feel like a first time mother without the worry or neurosis that can come with a first baby. Simply enjoying & cherishing our Caprice, while watching our whole family follow suite. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes--you carried me.
You may like to read here first, The Genesis of Our Third Child