Monday, August 29, 2011

Remembering Ari...

PhotobucketDear Ari

It's almost three years since you were born, and yet it feels like it has been so much longer. You were a greatly fought for and planned for fourth child. I'm not ashamed or shy to say you were my last chance at a girl, and I went all out to try and make that happen. I'm not ashamed of that because you were always going to be you, no matter what I thought I needed or wanted at the time, and in your way, you had the last laugh, as you always do!

I was going to name you Soley Dis (pronounced sole-A deese), and call you Disa (rhymes with Lisa). You were going to be my blonde haired, blue eyed girl - just like the painting of your Amma from when she was four. Although you're a boy, with light brown hair and green eyes now, you absolutely do look like your Amma in that painting!

I went on a special diet, and took a special powdered supplement, and so did your dad. That poor man has been through a lot with me and my demands, and I think in a way, this is why you are especially cuddly with your dad, and let him put your sleep - you know what he went through for you to be born!

My pregnancy with you was different to the others (a sure sign to me that you were a girl, at least in the first few months). I only had about 4 weeks of nausea, and I craved fresh fruit and vegetables instead of the (preferably deep fried) potato products and thick shakes I'd craved with your brothers.

It was also different because for your birth I planned to stay at home. When I was pregnant with Erik, I was a wide-eyed novice for whom it was all a wondrous adventure. I had no particular hopes or expectations. When pregnant with Luey, I felt sick all the time, and I worried about having to have a caesarian because Erik had been 4.5kg and I expected Luey would be bigger. When pregnant with Bryn, I wasn't afraid of a caesarian anymore but really didn't want a tear and wanted to be left alone in labour and to be 'in control'.

But during my pregnancy with you, I knew you would be okay. Mostly I worried about money. I wanted to have you at home, but I worried that my midwife might suggest we transfer - she assured me that would only happened if necessary, but I worried about that too, that I would pay for a home birth and wouldn't have one. I worried about you being fine and me regretting paying for a home birth when there wouldn't have been any interventions at hospital anyway.

I worried about your dad possibly being at your birth. He hadn't coped so well with Erik and Luey's and so I hadn't invited him to Bryn's (which he was quite happy about - he felt more useful being at home with the big boys) - and Bryn's birth has been so calm and relaxed as a result.

I worried you might want to arrive overnight and your Dad would have to be in the house, fretting. I worried that Erik and Luey and Bryn might distract me and I might not feel as relaxed with them all there.

I shouldn't have worried. You had it all sorted!

Many weeks before you were born, my body started to prepare for your birth by having lots of prelabour. I worried you might be born early. I shouldn't have worried about that.

A few weeks before you were born I went and saw a psychic friend. She had told me, on the day you were conceived, that you would be born and would be a girl. On this day, she said you were a boy. I already knew that, but hadn't told her.

I knew you would be a boy from the moment the sonographer turned on the screen at your 12 week ultrasound. I couldn't even really see you, but instantly I knew you were a boy. I had that confirmed two months later at the mid-pregnancy scan.

My psychic friend, who knew you were due on October 17th, told me I had to do whatever I could to ensure you were born in Libra. She said Scorpios often had big life lessons and resisted learning them. I smiled when she said that because I knew - despite my worry you might be born early - that you would not be born in Libra.

You just didn't have that measured Libran feel about you.

I also knew with a father who was Aries, a mother who was Sagitarius, a brother who was Leo and two other brothers born in Cancer, you wouldn't do well being born in Libra. You really needed to be a Scorpio - the fiery water sign.

I told her we were considering the names Ari and Leo, but hadn't decided on the order. She said Leo Ari would suit you best because Leo is a gentler more artistic name and you would need that to soften your approach to life. My own instinct was to call you Ari Leo, because I felt you needed an edge in life.

Ari means Eagle in Icelandic, and I liked the idea of you soaring through life. It also means Lion in Arabic. Leo means Lion, so to me you will always be Lion Lion. Fierce but with a big heart and a keen eye. A protector, a hunter and regal!

She told me you had been my son before. That we had lived during war times and you had lost me. This piqued my interest because my most vivid dream ever is of being taken hostage during a war and being shot - I dreamt of dying. I died in my dream - it was a very life-affirming experience! She told me you had a little sister who had planned to come first, but then didn't want to come without you because you were her protector. So, you took her place and if I had a fifth child, she would follow. If I didn't have a fifth child, she would come in the next generation. One day you will have a daughter or a niece who adores you!

She said because you'd already lost me once you would fear losing me again. I want to tell you you will never lose me.

The 17th of October came and passed, as I knew it was, and soon we were in Scorpio. I held out hope you might wait until October 31st or November 1st, but you had your own birthdate in mind.

On the 25th, prelabour was intense throughout the morning, and then I found out a good friend had her son that morning and prelabour eased in the afternoon.

On the 26th it came on again in the afternoon, but the contractions were 20-40 minutes apart and I felt frustrated. Under advice from my midwife, I did some high knee stepping for an hour or so in my bedroom and got the contractions down to 6 minutes apart, though weak. I became tired and decided to rest for a 30 minutes and the contractions stopped altogether. This made me angry. I told you I was over the games and you could just come whenever the hell you wanted to, and I had a glass of wine and some soft cheese on crackers in defiance of your stubbornness!

I couldn't sleep over night. Contractions were still 20-40 minutes apart but strong enough to keep me awake, so I sat at the computer and surfed the net as I had the night Bryn was born.

I was wary of calling my midwife because I was sure contractions would just stop - as they had earlier in the week when felt sure you would be born. Besides they never got closer than 13 minutes apart before she arrived. I did call her at 7am on 27th and said I thought maybe that day would be the day and could she come and give me a check up, but not to hurry. I rang my friends who were coming to the birth as well, and told them the same thing, don't rush, but come in the next couple of hours.

When my midwife and a friend turned up an hour later and the contractions didn't stopped, but moved to about 6 minutes apart, I finally felt that you would be born that day, and that's when I mark the start of labour - 8am. Your dad left the house at that time to take your brothers to school, and I asked him to take Bryn as well so I wouldn't be distracted. I never should have worried about your Dad having to be at your birth - your timing was impeccable!

My labour with you was very smooth - that's really the only word I can use to describe it. It was painful. The contractions hurt a lot but in between them I felt great, and they weren't close together. This reminded me of Luey's birth. The contractions only got to be about 3 minutes apart except the last two or three.

When the wave of a contraction rolled over me, I would breathe deeply and slowly. I would be standing and would sway my hips and stand in a half swat and picture a lotus flower on the ocean floating towards me. It was a corny visualisation I heard about somewhere, and now it makes me laugh, but at the time it really worked! I'd sway and breathe and keep my eyes shut, and then finally the wave would pass and I'd feel fine, and I talk and joke around.

Then I felt you turn a bit, and spiral right down into my pelvis. I got down on my knees at the end of the bed we still sleep in, darling, and I reached down to see if I could feel you - I had never done that with your brothers. A little inside me I could feel your head. It was surreal, and circular. I felt you and you were a part of me, but you were already your own person. I felt the need to push, but I was waiting for something I couldn't quite remember.

Then I heard a car door slam out on the road, and I remembered. I was waiting for Jayne. I told the others Jayne was coming and to open to the door for her. They didn't register straight away - at least that's how it felt, so I said it again - they hadn't heard the car door - and I think they were surprised that I was aware of anything other than the bedroom and the happenings within.

Jayne came into the house, and was ushered into the room. I wanted her to be there the moment you were born. I wanted her to see you and to take photos of you, and she did.

When I knew she was ready, I pushed. I'd planned to breathe you out. I probably could have done that, but the burning was intense and I wanted it to end, so I pushed and you obliged and slipped out in one movement. As you passed through I knew you would be small. You felt like a long skinny rabbit.

And there you were.

You were loud. You would be Little-Big-Voice. You have always been my Little-Big-Voice. Fierce as a Lion with a heart just as big. You are stubborn. You are very, very loving. You cry whenever anyone leaves the house, anyone, even people you've just met. You don't like people to leave. You love hugs and kisses. 'I want a kiss' was one of your first sentences. You adore your brothers, but oh boy, you can yell at them louder than anyone in this house. You are still little - you're almost three but the average size of a child a year younger - but your personality is huge and you have a way with people that is unparalleled.

I'm linking up with Cherish Your Cherubs over at Seven Cherubs!


Deborah said...

Lovely letter to your son. Lovely birth story. So glad it was a beautiful birth.

Leah said...

Ahhh what a lovely walk down memory lane!! Loved it. I can't believe it's almost 3 years!

Sif Dal said...

Thanks Deborah!

Leah, I know! And now they give us 'tude and everything - but boy didn't they turn out great - our little men!

Aroha said...

Interesting! Our house is made up of the same star signs! Leo (me) Aries (hubby) Cancer (son). I had to LOL at your husband "not invited" to Bryn's birth. LOL! Beautiful story.

Daisy, Roo and Two said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of that! I love hearing stories of pregnancy right through to birth, and I love that you "knew" Ari before he was born xx

Courtney @ Nobashake said...

Wow Sif, what a great letter. Its such a great story. I'm glad you shared it with us.

Sif Dal said...

Thanks so much guys :)!

Aroha, at first it was a bit of a struggle for me to say to him, "Hey hon, I don't want you there, really. You always look worse than me after it's all said and done, so maybe it'd be better if you were somewhere else instead?" At first he felt that he should be there anyway, that it was his duty as a father to be there, but we talked about it and came to the conclusion that he would bond better with the baby if he didn't have the stress to deal with and that it really wouldn't upset me if he wasn't there. It ended up being a brilliant decision on both occasions - he still played an important role in each birth, a more productive role, by taking responsibility for the older children and keeping them motoring along smoothly. It's certainly not for everyone but as I had the excellent support of two girlfriends each time, it was perfect for us.

sevencherubs said...

What an experience you have had bringing this cherub into the world. I love how these kids teach us so much and what a beautiful birth experience you had with your little one. Thank you so much for linking up and I think other mothers are just going to love your post. N x

Crash Test Mummy said...

What a lovely memory you've recorded for your little 'Lion Lion'. One day he will really appreciate reading about his entry into this world.

Stranger Than Fiction aka Yeran said...

Oh I loved this birth story Sif!
I had to giggle at the "I had a glass of wine and some soft cheese on crackers in defiance of your stubbornness".
I loved how honest you were about wanting a girl and how Ari was going to be what he wanted to be, the Little-Big-Voice, your Lion Lion. Beautiful <3

Gemma @ My Big Nutshell said...

I couldn't read til the end without a tissue because my eyes and glasses were fogging up!

Beautiful! I love your honesty too.

Sif Dal said...

Aw, you're all so lovely! I chose to do just Ari's story because I realised that beside the inital birthstory I wrote nearly three years ago, I have told his story to many people because I no longer visit forums the way I used to, so I loved this opportunity to revisit that time :).

Becky from said...

Wow - just beautiful. What a wonderful letter to your son x

Lose one's footing said...

I really enjoyed reading your birth story - so vividly described, I almost feel like I was there. Thank you so much for sharing.

nellbe said...

Ah this is amazing! What a wonderful way you take us through your journey, he is a cutie pie. :)

Kate @ Puddles and Gumboots said...

I just adore this post! I love the way you've told it! What a gorgeous little guy :-)

Sif Dal said...

Thank you so much, everyone!

Kellie said...

This is fabulous. I love it. I enjoyed hearing about what you learnt of Ari before he was born and his and your past life. I find that all so fascinating.
It's wonderful how you've taken the reader on a journey too. Great storytelling. :)

Veronica @ Mixed Gems said...

Oh WOW! This is a beautiful, emotionally intense and deeply felt story about your son. I could almost feel it with you. I was riveted.

I can relate to the beginning about wanting a girl, because I had initial similar feelings and experiences thinking I was having a boy. I ended up with a second girl.

I love the measured and careful consideration of his name too. Not flippant or random but really meaningful.

You tell a wonderful story. I think that book of yours, if you keep true to this voice, is going to do just fine.

Kirsty@MyHomeTruths said...

I found this a really honest and empowering post - what a great memory of his birth and his place in your family.

Sif Dal said...

Kellie - i'm ambivalent about past lives, they intrigue me too, though!

Veronica - thank you, thank you. Names are incredibly important to me - I changed my entire name by deed poll because it was important to me that my name fit me, lol. What I didn't mention is how I associate Lions with my Dad. I don't know why. My two oldest boys bare two of his names, my third was due on his birthday and born on my mum's birthday (so, Bryn is a Leo like both my parents), and the meaning of Ari's name is his connection - though intangible - with my Dad.

The poorly labelled 'gender disappointment' is a blog post in itself. It's so poorly understood and stigmatised. I don't regret any of my children for a moment, i couldn't bare to lose any of them. Gender disappointment has been a great struggle for me at times, all the same.

Kirsty, thank you! Ari is an amazing presence in our family, he completes us!

Good Job!