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A Family’s Birth Photo

April 19, 2010

I have been fixated for the past few days by a photo. It is the first photo ever of my daughter Corban. It was taken immediately after her birth. She is all bundled up nicely and is being handed to her older sister to hold while sitting on her Papa’s lap in a rocking chair. Both the looks on Big sister’s face and on Poppa’s clearly reflect ecstatic joy for the safe arrival of our new princess. Well the images of a father and his two daughters are the mainstay of the photo one can distinctly make out the image of a woman just entering a door in the distant background. The woman is Dr. Mary Soaper, the obstetrician who oversaw the group of midwifes that worked with me and my family in this the birth of Corban. I am mesmerized by this photo because in one small image it tells so much! I unfortunately am not in the photo I am about 2 feet to the left of the central image recovering from the birth process. Yet I am serenely ecstatic also at the arrival of our baby girl. Notably the physician is in the back ground, not distracting from the drama unfolding in this setting, as matter of fact I am sure that once she surmised that all was well she made a 180 and went back out the door. I am drawn to my knees when I review this photo recounting what it cost to achieve such an image. This birth was a VBAC and our family worked hard to achieve a family centered VBAC. We would not settle for anything less than an environment that would be supportive to VBAC, and that would allow the birth to be a family event incorporating the presence of our first daughter. The image reflects a Big sister and little sister reception, the images I have engraved on my gray matter is of Big sister Big being 3 fully present during the birth process moving through the labor and birth with me. Yes she earned the right to be the first person from our family to hold her sister as I couldn’t at the moment. She had been through the labor process herself.
Before the birth we did not know if we were having a son or a daughter, but we did know that we were having a Corban! Corbin is Hebrew for treasure, but not just any treasure at all a treasure especially designated to be God’s treasure. Oh Corban’s pregnancy was marked by both asthma and morning sickness, and between the throws of nausea and not being able to breath, I discerned a voice a special presence giving me comfort and strength the voice simply stated Don’t become discouraged you are carrying a treasure and that was that. I was carrying a treasure and the next thing I knew I was scouring the Hebrew language for treasure and found Corbin.
Another reason I am taken asunder by this photo is that we had no way of knowing or understanding that this precious treasure entrusted to us would one day before our own death be required to be given back. Corban was killed the first week of this year by a drunk driver. She was only 18. I have been pulverized by this loss. We were so thrilled to receive her and filled with such joy because she came to our family that when we lost her we lost something of ourselves. In all of this I know that birth is special. She was born in 1991 at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. She shares the same birth date as her birth attendant Beth Bose. It was 1991 and it was not easy to find a birth team supportive of VBAC then and it nearly is impossible to find one now but if you are facing the emotional hurdles of a VBAC continue persevering in order to control the aspects of birth that you can control to achieve the birth you desire. Birth is important. Nothing in my wildest dreams could have prepared me for the loss of my daughter, somehow I do find solace in the way that she was born, born into our family. Birth matters it affects all of live the life of the marriage and the life of the family. Make your families birth the best you can!

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