Monday, September 28, 2009

Karen Walrond's Childbirth Memory


Alex, photographed September 16, 2009.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am about Gabby's wonderful news. I've only known Gabby for a couple of years now, but in my completely unprofessional opinion, this woman is made to be a mom, isn't she? When I look at her, I always think of the mother in "Little Women" — her children are surely blessed to have her to look up to, and this little one on his (her?) way is no exception.


When Gabby asked me to share a story with you here today, I immediately thought of the day my daughter Alex was born. Alex's birth story is one of my favourite memories thus far in being her mom. It's a bit of an unusual story, since she came to us via an open adoption: in other words, we have a relationship with her birthmother. While her birthmother was pregnant, I was able to go with her to prenatal doctor's visits, and, bless her, she invited my husband and I to be present at Alex's birth. It was a really cool experience — I'd never seen a child born before — but it was actually what happened immediately after Alex was born that made the event absolutely unforgettable. And even though I suspect that most expectant mothers at the point of childbirth, are a little ...well, preoccupied, let's say, what with the whole in-the-middle-of-giving-birth-thing, I tell Alex's birth story to every expectant mother, in the hope that just maybe she might be able to catch a glimpse of what I saw, during the birth of her own child.


So anyway, to the story: the baby was born, and she was upside down in the doctor's arms, and he was cleaning all the birth gunk from her face and neck. At this point, I was sort of numb, and my first thought was that it was not possible that this little, tiny doll-like being was going to come home with us in a couple of days.


My second thought was that this baby was the most beautiful shade of cerulean blue I had ever seen in my life.

Alex's birthmother asked, "Doctor, why isn't she crying?"


The doctor replied, "I don't want her to cry just yet. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her throat. Just one second."

The doctors and nurses kept doing their thing. I wasn't nervous, because they seemed pretty calm. A few more seconds passed, and then, just as I was wondering if I should be nervous, the doctor said:

"Okay, she's going to cry ... now."


And Alex inhaled. She just took this great, big, huge, breath ...

... and she turned pink. First her arms, then her hands, and then her legs and her little face and chest. And as crazy as this may sound, I am absolutely convinced that we'd just witnessed Alex's soul, which had been waiting in the delivery room with us, flying into her body, and giving her life. Even more, I absolutely, unshakably believed, at that very moment, that this little girl was meant to be ours, and that had we not been waiting there for her — had her birthmom decided not to place her, or has there been another adoptive family in the room — a different soul would've entered her body, and she would've been a totally different person.

And then she started to bellow.


Anyway, Alex has proved me right every day since. She's just .. well, she's just like us, I suppose. She gets our senses of humour. We're such a tight-knit family. We're a team. We fit.

So, I guess the point of all of this is that when you become a parent, whether by giving birth yourself or via adoption, you have to believe that God, or Allah, or Fate, or the Universe or Whatever You May Believe In has a plan. Trust that the child you bring home is meant to be yours and yours alone. It has always been this way. It will always be this way.

Congrats, Blairs. May your family ... your team ... continue to grow as tight-knit as ever.

From Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks.

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35 Comments:

Blogger Rachel said...

This is a beautiful story, and I so appreciate you sharing it.

And now you'll have to excuse me. I need to go wipe my eyes and blow my nose.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cathe Holden said...

Great. Now I'M crying.

That was beautiful.

Thanks for sharing your story, Karen.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Monica Danna said...

karen, what an amazing story and memory! thank you for sharing this!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lin said...

What an amazing experience...and I'm definitely crying.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger helenjane said...

Aye, the tears.
This is beautiful.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Katie said...

That photo is beyond gorgeous.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Becca said...

I'm a mom through two open adoptions and I love this story. I was able to be in the delivery room when my son was born last January and it was such an incredible experience. But I'm not a story teller and I never would have been able to capture Asher's birth as amazingly as you captured Alex's. Thank you for sharing it.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Alisa said...

So beautiful. What a treasure to have it in print.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:18:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Karen for sharing your story. Yes, families are teams.

What a great vibe you're putting out here Gabrielle :)

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Crap. You made me cry. Again.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Tali said...

I'm crying! Simply beautiful.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger sara said...

Oh I love these stories!! Congratulations on #6 Gabby! When my first had just been born, I remember thinking to myself, "how soon until I get to do this again?" Of course, I'd had an epidural. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger hannah said...

What a beautiful story.

Thank you so much for sharing,

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cafe Johnsonia said...

I loved this soooo much.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger eve said...

awe some
thanks for sharing.
i totally get what you're saying, and i so believe it to. the breath of life. that is fantastic.
what a spectacular miracle and what a manifestation of gods love for (all) his children.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pink Koala said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pink Koala said...

I know that joy every day. 2 1/2 years, 3 failed IUIs, 1 failed IVF. When we got pregnant with Cam we knew he was a gift from God.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger pieface said...

That was beautiful. What a great story. I've got goosebumps.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:29:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Basically every post that went up on this blog today has made me cry. Karen, you are a force. And so is your writing. And so are the people about whom you choose to write. Thank you.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 7:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kara said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story, adoption open and closed plays a huge part in my family both giving and receiving(does that make sense) and I love hearing other adoption stories!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 7:21:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Laurie said...

I feel so lucky to know you. You shared some of this story with me a while ago and I loved hearing the whole thing. How amazing to witness your family forming in that way.

Congratulations to the Blair family too.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 7:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Courtney said...

Wow! Gabby, thanks for including an adoption story in your mama guest series. I, like Karen, am an adoptive parent and it's the most amazing journey of motherhood. Karen said it beautifully. Parenthood is divinely designed. Congrats to you and your family on baby #6! Children are the sweetest blessings!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 8:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jaime said...

You don't know me, but I have just recently started peeking in on your blog, thanks to a cousin who directed me. As a birthmother who enjoys an open adoption, I say thank you for helping spread a positive word about it. Your story is truly beautiful & inspiring.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 8:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger rookie cookie said...

Beautiful writing.

FYI, there is a blog dedicated to birthing stories. Belly to Born www.bellytoborn.blogspot.com. Women or other's in the birthing room submit their birthing story. I think you would enjoy it.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 9:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger tara said...

gulp. i can't even imagine witnessing the moment of your baby's first breath. (and i have given birth!) that doc sounds like The Calm.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 11:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Megan said...

Thank you for this wonderful guest post. I know from experience that adoption is a miracle.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 11:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Anna Liesemeyer said...

amazing. thanks for sharing that. tearing and tearing because as a mother it hits hard.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 12:16:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Petit Elefant said...

Karen,

That was beautiful, thank you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 12:50:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 1:10:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Goddess Leonie said...

this is utterly exquisite. thank you, beautiful karen, for sharing your story. i'm three and a half months pregnacious with our first sweet child, and i crave mama and birthing stories so much :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 4:31:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Marcy Tate said...

That was so beautiful, I had goosebumps and tears reading it. You write your thoughts so beautifully; such a powerful description.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 7:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Anna M said...

Karen, I actually really needed this more than I thought I ever would.

Thank you

And thank you, Gabby for asking her to share.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 10:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Pam G said...

Such a touching memory - I felt like I was there with you! Beautiful - thanks for the share.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 11:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

Oh my goodness. I am loving these posts from guest authors but this? This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Thank you, Karen, for sharing it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 11:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger sania said...

Beautiful and vivid story. I also need to step away for a tissue.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 2:55:00 PM EDT  

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