Project: Scrapbook - Empowerment~


Jacqueline is our first born & eldest daughter. If you are a parent, then you remember the way you felt about becoming a mother or father the moment your child was born. The experience of 9 months of pregnancy, plus a few weeks, did nothing to prepare me for the joy, the awe, & the beauty of bringing another human being into the world. I remember looking at the chest of drawers we bought with clothing tucked away waiting & wondering, "What will it be like to be a mother?" "What will the baby look like?" "Who will this person become?" along with the normal fears of childbirth. I prayed that our baby would be healthy and that I wouldn't have any complications during delivery.

I remember when the Braxton-Hicks contractions started occurring with regularity, I called to inform the obstetrician that evening. He was not my regular doctor & well, there was a Super Bowl game. Let's see, 1987, were the Cowboys playing that year?? Who knows -- all I know is that he must have been a football fan because I assume -- well, I'm pretty sure -- well, actually, I'm positive that he did not want me to have my baby that night! So, he conveniently prescribed medication to delay my contractions. {Looking back, I should not have gone along with this. Age makes you wiser & more in tune with people pulling the wool over your eyes. Doesn't it?} A few LONG weeks later, the contractions started once more, very early in the morning around 5:30 am-ish & she was finally delivered 7:22 a.m. the following day! Yes, I remember the exact time of her birth because her birth took it's sweet time in delivering her to us. And she was almost 9 lbs & more than likely 2 weeks overdue thanks to the doctor who delayed it all!

Our first child, Jacqueline, and Marty & I, as parents, did not experience the easiest birthing process! After several hours, I was not dilating adequately and was administered medication, Pitocin, to move labor along. What that meant for me, was increased pain & frequency of contractions. Once the Pitocin set-in, my contractions started occurring back-to-back! Not occurring once then subsiding, no, the contractions were doubling up on me! I could no longer withstand the intensity and, FINALLY, the anesthesiologist was called "pronto". I believe I said something to the effect of, "I CAN'T DO THIS!" I guess they finally got the hint and decided that natural birth & dialating to *5 cm* wasn't happenin'! {They want you to dialate to 5 prior to saddle-block; my 2nd child, my nurse believed in the *Highland Park* method, where they'll give you a saddle block at *2 cm*. I instantly adored that nurse!} Now, I am not one for discomfort, obviously, but I gladly offered my backside to the guy with the large needle just to get the pain to stop! My nerves were edgy & my body was like, "I'm NOT about to let this baby out coz it's gonna HURT!"

My husband's sister, Deb, had *natural childbirth* when both of her children were born. Mart kind of expected me to follow suit. They are part Cherokee & doing things like this *the natural way* appeals to them on an earthly-spiritual level. However, I believe the God instilled the ability & talents of physicians and scientists on earth to help folks like me out. I try to help folks out in my own way, with my natural talents & abilities. So, this seemed like a totally plausible trade! From my hubby's point of view? He wanted natural childbirth for HIS CHILD. {I'm giggling as I type that!} I felt, logically, that considering he wasn't the one enduring the pain, it was a bit, well ... *CRAZY*! The reality is childbirth hurts. And not just a little bit. It's like your belly has turned into a rock-hard basketball and has decided to wedge itself out of your body!

We had discussed options of childbirth several months prior to the due date. I still consider this debate to be our relationship's 1st serious argument! As we were walking around the block one beautiful Fall day, {we did this often in the later part of pregnancy trying to get contractions to start -- I was at the point that I could no longer shave my legs, see my toes, nor roll myself out of bed!} Marty asked, "So, have you decided whether you are going to go natural or do a saddle block?" He tried hard to ask me this in a very off-the-cuff, simple as that!, casual tone. And made "go natural" sound like it would be the easiest method of delivering our child to this earth. As easy as baking a cake!! ~Do it the Natural Way!!!~ Like, ~Fly Our Friendly Skies!!! Leave the Flying to us!~ "Uhm, honey? I really don't know.... If I can do this natural, I will! But I have no idea how bad it's going to hurt. And if I can't handle the pain, then I'll do the anesthesia." This seemed like the most logical course of action / plan. He continued, "But it's *best* for the baby not to have DRUGS!" "Well, I have never had a baby before, so, I don't know what it's going to feel like... So, how would I know?!" I was truly frustrated with him pushing me on this. I understood his concerns but he seemed to be over looking mine! Hey? I'd certainly give it a shot! However, based upon convos with my mom & friends, & watching movies from our childbirth class, I got the feeling that childbirth hurt like hell! I recognized his dismay & felt somewhat guilty for not pleasing him with my game plan. "It's not as good for the baby to do that! My sister had both her kids natural...." "Good for her! I don't know what I'm going to do! It's my body!" Yes, a little husbandly pressure for sure. He and his sis are very close, so I knew there had been phone calls discussing this. She was probably smoking some funny weed while telling him this as well! "yeaaaa maaaaan, it's eaaaaaasssy! it's GOOOOOD for the baaabyyy!" Perhaps she had access to some off the shelf kind of drugs, but I wanted the legal ones!

Marty is a great guy! He was also a wonderful uncle and adored his niece & nephew. He truly wanted the best for our baby. His opinion about anesthesia changed over the course of a single day, November 16th. After he watched the pain threshold on the computer I was plugged into practically jump off the page, endured complaints of my nausea, shivering, sweating & crying, watched me writhe in pain, and saw Jacqueline's little head ducking in and out, short of crowning, Marty softened. He helped me through it. "Breathe, breathe..." He stayed close by, soaking in the details of the birthing process, medical staff & listened to my frantic plea that "I don't think I can do this..." His concern grew more evident over time, especially once the double-whammies started taking their toll on me emotionally. As always, his patience helped me maintain a base-line of calm even though I was very scared. I believe he was more relieved that I was getting anesthesia than me, no ... I was definitely more relieved. So, after being given the epidural, my body relaxed, I relaxed & I could focus more on the birth than the pain. I thank God for the miracles of medicine. We still labored for several more hours. I remember pushing & she'd crown, then everyone would raise their eyebrows & smile, then she'd go right back up, hidden once more from the world. And there I was, my whole *world* exposed, embarrassed but foresaking my dignity in order to get the whole thing to be over with! I anxiously listened to the fetal monitor & often asked about how the baby was doing. After a long period of time, I recall the staff having a discussion about c-section. It's a good thing I played soccer which strengthened my determination because I said, "Doctor? Can I push a little longer?" "Can you?" he asked. "Yea!" Maybe I was exhausted, but with the meds the pushing seemed a heck of a lot easier than playing soccer in 110 degree weather. She was just a big baby! So, as I pushed, he gave me an episiotomy, got the clamps out & helped her along the way. I didn't like the idea of the clamps but I knew it was taking longer than it should to deliver her.

Then, we were told she was a beautiful little girl! I felt immediate excitement. The excitement dropped within a few seconds, as I curiously watched them rush off with her & awaited her cry. I sensed something was wrong since they didn't place her in our arms. The nurses tried to play it off as they were testing her response & checking her color. But I couldn't hear anything except the rustling of clothing & quietly concerned voices of the staff, as well as someone suctioning her. I felt an alert intensity & all of sudden noticed several staffers in the room with all eyes on her. I cannot even tell you where the doctor was or what was happening because my eyes locked on the people with medical uniforms clustering around her, rubbing her bloody, wet body ... seconds ticked ... I grew very concerned. "Is she okay?" "Is she okay?!" My anxiousness was escalating by the milli-second! Time actually felt like it had slowed. A few more seconds ticked, then the cloud finally burst as her tears fell like a sweet summer rain & I heard my baby's cries like a soft rumbling of the clouds. "Thank God... She's okay ..." She had passed meconium while delivering from the stress of it & they were clearing her of it. Had she not passed these fluids she would have been well over 9 lbs. She weighed in at 8 lbs., 15/16ths. Marty was gleeful & proud. I felt elated & fell instantly in love.

Nothing has felt more glorious in my lifetime than the birth of my 3 children. There is nothing quite as fulfilling to me as bringing a child into the world. And as tired as I was, I requested that her bassinet be kept in my room unless I was sleeping. The nurses were surprised because most moms want the baby in the nursery while they recover. I was so excited to have her in my life that I wanted her with me. And I wanted her to know that "Mom was close by, if she needed me."

4:30 a.m. I manage somehow to carry her from the bassinet and into bed with me. I could barely walk or do other bodily functions for a few days! It had been an all out WAR down there! I happily raised myself up & placed her on my knees, bent to hold her up, so I could look at her. Jacqueline was staring at me, as much as I was staring at her. With a tender intensity. Her eyes didn't leave mine. I think we were both relieved it was over with. We were both quietly content. She truly seemed happy to me. I certainly was. It is one of the most memorable moments of my life. Even more joyful than our wedding day, as my Dad watched me spin with happiness in my beautiful T-length wedding gown. Gleeful. Happy. Celebratory. I remember to this day what she looked like. And I whispered to her, "I will love you forever." Such a happy day for us, for me. I had a daughter. It amazed me. I was finally a mom.

Fast forward, 21 years later ... I have great kids. Truly - they all have special talents & for the most part have been great. Jacqueline is the oldest. With that comes an added responsibility within the family. I'm firstborn as well, so I understand the dynamics of this. My daughter is selfless. She is helpful. She is very intelligent. She is musical. She is athletic. She is an artist. She is kind. She is loving. She is passionate. She is beautiful. I love her.

Jacqueline still has the same intuitive nature she had at birth! I swear it to be true! My other children are not like this. If I was overloaded with work or stress, she would pitch in more around the house. She still does when she comes home. When she was younger, she would do her chores as asked. Her grades are a product of her own dedication. She'd study without prodding. Even when I coached her soccer team, early in her pre-teen years, she would listen to me & follow instructions. She is setting curves in her college classes, was named District 6 Academic Team, & she wants to pursue a doctorate in Kinesiology (physical therapy).

I love this photo of her I took! It shows the classic beauty of her style out on the field. But this is how she conducts every aspect of her life. Near perfection ... I've told her, "You don't have to be perfect, honey! Life isn't perfect!" Yet, with everything she touches, she tries to do with morality, dignity, pride, determination... She loves soccer. Even more than I did which is A WHOLE HECK OF A LOT! Soccer is a cornerstone of my life, personally. Jacqueline is a product of my love for soccer, as much as it stems from her own perseverance of the sport. I know the *freedom* she feels out on the field, sometimes the wind blowing, sun pounding or sky flooding. The inner-satisfaction of winning. The motivation to improve.

When I chose this photo to scrapbook, I asked Jacqueline to describe how she feels on the soccer field in one word. She said, "Empowerment". Soccer makes you feel strong inside. Soccer provides you with another family. Soccer connects you with nature & it's elements. Soccer challenges your weaknesses. Soccer improves your strengths.


This post captures a glimpse of Jacqueline's journey & her love for soccer. It also provides a compelling view of her Spirit. The way she drives forward on the field, gracefully with a palpable essence of inner & outer beauty, just as she does in her life. I wanted to portray her love for soccer, her accomplishment & the way it moves her to feel "Empowerment". Gracefully running with a swift, yet powerful stride, sending the soccer ball to it's destination. She's become an amazing young woman. We are very proud of her.

Materials List~

  • Basic Grey, Periphery, Sauvignon/PIP-916
  • Basic Grey, Periphery, Zinfandel/PIP-917
  • Basic Grey, Periphery, Die Shapes/PIP-923
  • Basic Grey, Periphery, Sugar Alphabet Stickers/PIP-927
  • The Robert Stanley Collection, 1 1/2" Wire Ribbon, #603431, Clr. Brown Paisley
  • American Crafts, Boutique Specialty Ribbon, Clr. Moss, 1/2" velvet
  • The Paper Studio, Spare-Parts, Embellishment Asst., #289470 (K10-MET) Metallic, Clr. Ant. Brass
  • JoAnn Craft Essentials, Metal Bookplates, #732-5434, 2" Silver
  • Dark Brown Paper
  • White Linen Paper w/ Soccer History Text
  • Family Treasures, Fleur de Lis Die-Cut {no stk info}
  • Our Stories, Mounting Corners, #OSM-402
  • JoAnn Scrap Essentials, Antique Mold Alphabet, #26550
  • Maya Road Fibers, Las Vegas Lights


CONVERSATION

1 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing all your feelings as a mother and this wonderful part of your life with us. I´m so proud when someone tells me my daughter has got my eyes. Or that my son has got my smile. After these years (my son is 18 and my daughter is 5), it still seems a miracle to me!

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