Thursday, May 1, 2014

Birth Banner

Before Alice was born, we were doing all the "good parent" stuff to help us prep for the birth. Two and a half years doesn't seem like a terribly long time, but it was enough to make us feel a little like first-time parents again. Several people recommended having something to focus on during labor, especially during those really tough contractions (you know, the ones where you are certain your body was not made for a human to come out of and when this one tries, you are going to break into a million pieces).

At the time I was also putting together a couple of playlists to have on while laboring. Like with Grayson, we were planning a homebirth for Alice, so all of our preparations centered around what would make everything more comfortable in our own home. (Best excuse to buy new linens and ALL THE SNACKS I EVER WANTED!) 
I had a rowdier, more upbeat "energetic" playlist (Hello, Spice Girls!) for early labor and a more soothing one for when things really got going. One of the songs from the latter kept getting stuck in my head: "Handsome Girl" by Danielle Ate the Sandwich.


She's lovely and insightful and hilarious. You should check her out. She will improve your life. Or at least your day. 

"Handsome Girl" has always been one of my favorite songs, but there's a line from it that seemed to take on new significance as we prepared for our baby:

"You are wide and built like bridges held on water..."

I loved that. 

I thought of how bridges are made to sway. They move with the elements so they don't break. That's what I needed to do to give birth to this baby; I needed to move with the elements. 

So, that was the inspiration for my Birth Banner. 

I made it one afternoon, while Grayson napped, using twine and card stock. I put a couple of nails in the wall (silently apologizing to Joseph), tied the twine to them and secured it with a few dabs of hot glue. 

Like many things that are begun during a child's nap, my banner was left unfinished that day (a few letters lingered on the nightstand for a couple of weeks). When my water broke around 9:30 one Tuesday  night, I remember saying to Joseph, "Finish my sign! Finish my sign!" Which he did. He's a keeper. 

I labored at home with Alice for six and a half hours before transferring to the hospital (everything was fine, but I was a VBAC and there was some uncertain bleeding. My midwives were completely on top of things and we were prepared for the chance that this might happen). Alice was born at 6:30 Wednesday morning, we had a wonderful, completely natural, drug and intervention free birth (we were hoping for a natural birth, but also realized that the safety of myself and our baby was more important than our preferences.) We are incredibly grateful for the way our birth unfolded. We were surrounded by a wonderful, supportive and respectful group of doctors, nurses and midwives and we are thankful for every single one of them. 

And, most of all, we are grateful for this beautiful baby:

The banner still hangs above our bed. 

One day we will probably switch it out for something more...conventional. Like some framed pictures or a mirror. But right now I like seeing it when I walk into our quiet space. It is our parenting declaration: this job is challenging, but we were designed to weather the elements; real and emotional. 

Also, they're pretty cute, so that helps. 


  1. I just got it. The bunnies are Abelard and Heloise. :)

    1. They are! I voted against Heloise, I thought she should have her own identity, but Joseph thought we should have a matched pair. We stole them from the children for the purpose of this picture.

  2. For some reason our Danielle Ate the Sandwich video is not showing up. We are working on fixing this but until we do, here's the link:

    1. It shows up for me. Maybe just not on your phone?

    2. Oh, good. I wasn't seeing in the desktop or the mobile version, but it must just be some setting I need to change.