The Deep Sigh and a Jumpsuit…

He’s wearing the dark blue “daddy jumpsuit”. He’s about to become a dad for the first time. Staring at the wall in front of him, he anxiously waits for us to call him in the operating room to join his wife giving birth. 

He looks up from his phone for a brief minute as I introduce myself.  I let him know I am here to help take care of his baby. I ask all the easy questions. Is this your first baby? Is this a boy or a girl? Do you have a name picked out yet? I see his eyes dart back to his phone.  Not great reception down here, I say. Don’t worry you won’t miss anything. We’re just getting everything set up for the baby.

I stand next to the surgeons as they scrub in. I wait to sneak in and grab a pair of splash goggles, a mask, and a fingernail pick.  All three of us scrubbing up to the elbows to become sterile in order to welcome this new baby into the world as aseptically as possible.  All three of us women, mothers. 

I follow the doctors into the OR, donning our sterile gowns, gloves, and I stand near the sterile drape that covers everything except a window onto mom’s abdomen. Her husband can come in now, says the surgeon as she makes the first cut.

He sits next to her. Holds her hand. She says she’s nauseous, she can’t breathe. Her nervousness is clear now to all present in the room. He is now becoming anxious as well. The doctors use easy, clear language to remind her that this is expected, normal in fact. Almost to baby…announces the doctor.

The head is delivered first, followed by bulb suctioning of the nose and mouth, a strong tug on the head and neck and the rest of the body follows. And we’re out, I say. Time is called out.  Then the cry. 

I take the baby from the surgeon’s hands and carry him to the radiant warmer to do my job. Apgars 8/9. Which is an easy way to say I didn’t have to do much.

I ask Daddy to trim the cord. I remind him to take pictures. I point out 10 fingers, 10 toes. I answer his questions. I encourage him to touch his son. To talk to him. I wrap him up and take him over to Mom. They hold their new son together. Tears flow freely from her eyes. She is overwhelmed with joy and responsibility. He is beaming with pride.

I explain to Mom that we are going to head over to the recovery room and wait for her there. Daddy come with me, I say. He kisses his wife’s forehead and comes with me. 

As we walk out of the operating room I ask him to place his new baby into the bassinet. I remove my gown, gloves, and mask. I let him know he can pull off his mask as we walk down the corridor.  I hear a deep sigh. The sigh to say, Oh thank God it’s over. Oh thank God he’s fine. Oh thank God she’s fine. Oh thank God because that was horrible waiting! Oh thank God we’ve made it! 

The deep sigh is what every Daddy does after they take off their mask. As if it’s the end to a marathon or something. And yet, it’s just the beginning of a marathon of questioning, wondering, loving, connecting, disappointing, encouraging, serving, and teaching.

After Mom is settled into the recovery room, I nestle her baby skin to skin on her breast. I cover them with warm blankets and remind Dad to take a few more deep breaths, because after all this is just the beginning.

The stuff deep breaths are made from…

This past Saturday, my un-done self was put back together.  If I could picture myself as a stuffed gingerbread man, all my insides were leaking out, my threads bare, pieces of me falling out and apart. And this wonderful soul put me back together. She bathed me in her Light and Guidance, put the pieces back inside, and sewed me up with love, peace, and calm that I needed so badly.

My husband arranged for a massage with Erin, a Spirit Guide of sorts. I’ve had massages from her in the past, and each one tapped into my broken places and put some glue in them, but not like this.

She greeted me with the warmest of hugs and she held me by the shoulders and said, we have important work to do today. I agreed, but wasn’t exactly sure what she meant. She shared that my husband had called her urgently saying that I needed to see her, that our baby’s angelversary had passed this week.

As Erin poured the water bath, her warm spirit reminded me it’s okay to be un-done. The bible verse, “Come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest” came to mind. My heart was crying for rest and rejuvenation.

She gently placed my feet into the warm water with her special rocks and as she began her amazing healing work, we spoke of our connection. She, now childless after a drunk driver killed her only daughter 4 years ago as she was only a teenager; I grieving the son born still, also 4 years ago. Remarkable that our lives changed so much in the same year, she said. 

The light in her eyes and warmth in her touch and peacefulness in her heart would never reveal to those who did not know her, that she endures the pain that can not be described: a childless mother.

After the foot bath she lead me to the massage room. I glanced at my phone,it was 45 minutes into my supposed 1 hour appointment. She gave me time to undress and lay face down. Listening to the calming music I felt my tired soul begin to rest. 

As she came back into the room, I felt my heart settling. It felt like it was okay to be un-done. I felt okay not having all the answers. I felt okay wanting help.  I felt okay needing direction. I felt safe to be me, in all my imperfections and sadnesses and lessons learned.

During the massage we shared what we imagined our children would want for us. What they would be saying. What makes us feel they are near. She shared her deep gratitude for being her daughter’s mother, and saying that her mantra throughout the past four years has been “NO REGRETS”. 

I harnessed into her strength. Filling me with hope, love, and peace I told her what an inspiration she is to me, to so many others who have lost children.  I filled up on her crystal clear intention to live her life in a way that her daughter would be proud. She mentions she senses laughter and thinks our children are near. I imagine they would be friends. 

Then she said, I’m going to work on your tummy, if that’s okay with you. I am going to dedicate this healing session to Bailey.

I turned over and with my eyes closed, she began massaging my abdomen. With her gentle swirling motions, she said, this is where he lived. Right here in your belly. It’s so neat to think this was his home. 

And the tears began to fall. Not the hot, stinging tears, but the cool, surrendered ones. The ones that are born of peace, joy, and gratitude. 

When she finished, she said, I think it’s time you started collecting some rocks. They are healing. Powerful. They can hold heat for a long time. Withstand a lot. She placed a hot, smooth, rock in my hand.  Hold it to your chest with your hands. Now, slowly take a deep breath and move the rock to your lower part of your tummy, hold it there. Now, go ahead and exhale and slowly move the rock back up to your heart.

We repeated this together several times. I felt like I was in the presence of a Spirit Guide, an angel, a best friend, an expert at Living and Loving. I felt like I had arrived at the healing gates if only for a moment…

As Erin finished our session, she tells me, keep this rock. Make it the start to your collection.

I held the still warm rock in my hand, felt it’s smooth surface over my thumb and I realize, this was the important work we had to do today. 

I left almost 3 hours after I had arrived for a 1 hour appointment. She gave selflessly of her time, her love, her peace, her calm, her experience and I was filled to the brim.

It’s the stuff that deep breaths are made of. 

Bailey Winter Dumitru, your mama and dadda love you…