I have been thinking a lot these last few days about Isabel and my last race. I have come to the realization that I am so blessed, even when I think I am at my lowest. The picture on the left was taken just hours before we checked into the hospital to be induced for Isabel to be born. I was large and uncomfortable, not only because she was a big baby, but also because I had a severe case of polyhydramnios. And, despite the fact I had been having contractions for a couple of weeks, I wasn't progressing at all, so we had to start at square one when we got to the hospital, at 1 AM, after many nights of not sleeping well because I didn't know if I was doing the right thing inducing at 38 weeks. Basically, I was a big uncomfortable mess.
My labor was not easy. After the induction of cervidil and, eventually, pitocin, my labor progressed painfully slow. Despite contractions coming every minute (something that happened all 20+ hours of Addison's labor too), my body dinked around and it took 33 hours just to get to 5 cm. I was exhausted and, although I really really wanted a natural labor, I was talked into taking the epidural so I could nap. Which also didn't happen because we had a few people who wanted to talk and keep me awake (which is another reason why it was just Mark and I at Addison's birth). Finally, I was able to push and after 4 hours of pushing, and 41 hours of labor, Isabel was stillborn.
I have punished myself for a long time that she didn't survive birth. Even after I was pushed into a c-section with Addison because they were afraid she would also have a hard time getting out alive, I still beat myself up that I wasn't able to get Isabel out in time. My only wish for the whole situation was for her to leave on her terms, I feel like I robbed her of that. It is my fault.
I have thought long and hard about her birth in the almost 5 years since her passing. I still don't know how I feel about it. But I do know this, I was very blessed to be able to have a natural birth for so long so I could feel her kicking and knew she was okay. After the epidural, I never felt her again. Knowing what I know now, that I wouldn't get a nap, I wouldn't have gotten the epidural. But I still know the gift I was given to be so stubborn and such a high threshold for pain, that I made it that long, over 2 nights, with contractions that close together. Physically, I am stronger than I think.
Which takes me to the picture on the right. I am not an athlete. I will never win a race. It will take me a lot of work to break 10 minute miles. I am not coordinated nor am I graceful. But, I can still do it. I can still strap on my shoes and take myself seriously enough to head out to a start-line and finish 13.1 miles. I don't always make my race goals. I sometimes fall short. But I also know, that for those miles, I get a special time with my girlie that left me too soon.
I talk to Isabel while I run. I think about her life. The precious memories we made in such a short time run thought my mind as my feet pound the pavement. I was robbed of a lifetime with her. I feel shortchanged for missing each day with her. But I am very blessed to get a few miles here and there with her. And for that, I can never be disappointed in any race I do. Instead of being upset that I didn't get a new PR or hit a time goal, I am grateful that I got to be with her for that much longer.