All I Want for Christmas
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. They should be here… with me…with my baby. All I want for Christmas is my family.
Lane held her newborn babe in her arms, swaddled in a hospital blanket. Tears formed in her eyes, and droplets fell with every blink. Her birth experience wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t how she had envisioned it. Knowing that she didn’t even have the option of support from her loved ones, was a power she felt stripped of.
Lane had imagined her best friend by her laboring bedside humming a made up song; keeping her calm and amused. Her mother-in-law, who quite frankly broke the mold for mother-in-laws, would have brought yummy broths she had concocted that would aid in ‘this-and-that’. The labor doula would be relaying the latest developments of her laboring status, in words that would flow like a Reader’s Digest story. Her spouse sitting in the background allowing for this serene scene of womanhood to occur before his eyes.
All I wanted for Christmas…
But that wasn’t the case. Finding herself 6 weeks pregnant in April 2020 brought a world of chaos and uncertainties that one never could have imagined; leading up to Lane’s December due date. A global pandemic wasn’t a part of her birth planning exercise. For Lane, this meant a change in semantics regarding her giving birth. This meant that her bestie, mother-in-law, AND doula would not be by her side calming her fears. Instead, Lane delivered, masked up, and her husband suited in personal protection equipment; to bring their baby into the world. 9 months from that positive pregnancy test in April, they made it out together, as a family of three.
At home, discharged from the hospital with a 36-hour old tiny human being, tears welled in Lane’s ducts as she FaceTimed with her bestie, Rory. “I MISS YOU! All I want for Christmas, IS you!” Lane managed to get out before her tears fell. “I miss YOU!” Rory replied. “And listen, the FIRST sign of an ‘all clear’, I’m on the first flight out there. You hear me?” Rory continued. Lane nodded in understanding.
“I know I’m irreplaceable, but I got you a gift that I hear is not only unique, but all the rage in mommy blogs” Rory proceeded. “There’s these people called postpartum doulas that do everything that your labor doula does, except when the baby is born! We are all heartbroken that we weren’t able to attend your birth. And I don’t see any reason why you should have to endure new motherhood alone until your mother-in-law and I are able to come.”
“I booked a package of care with a postpartum doula for you and the family. Congratulations and enjoy!”
The conversation continued and moved on to the latest happenings in Rory’s life. As soon as Lane hung up the phone, it rang in her hands. “Hello?” Lane answered on the first ring. An unfamiliar and friendly voice introduced herself as Lane’s postpartum doula-to-be, hired by Lane’s best friend Rory. Lane was apprehensive of having a complete stranger enter her home amidst a pandemic, yet Rory knew her better than she even knew herself sometimes. Knowing Rory, Lane was certain that she did a comprehensive search and call for the right postpartum doula. The voice on the other end of the line continued the conversation; and walked Lane through their Covid protocol, precautions, care for their clients. Everything had been thought of! The call ended with Lane’s scheduled support the next day.
With 10 minutes to the start of her support, the doorbell rang. All I want for Christmas is my loved ones, Lane thought to herself as she answered the door. Lane’s postpartum doula stood at the door frame, masked and with a bag in hand. Lane invited the doula into the home. The doula formally introduced excused herself to proceed with her Covid protocol.
As Madelyn emerged changed and ready to support, she found Lane on the couch preparing for Dean’s feed. A fussy baby wiggled and kicked as both mom and baby tried to get in a comfortable position. Madelyn sat down on the couch adjacent to Lane and dialogue began. As the conversation flowed static at first, then freely; smiles were shared, space was held for moments of emotion and reflection, and positive energy filled the room. All of which contributed to the walls of doubt beginning to crumble within Lane.
As the shift continued through the hours, Lane turned to Madelyn.
They had relocated to the nursery for Dean’s nap, and much needed rest for Lane. “You know, 3 hours ago you were a total complete stranger! And now, you know about my family, my birth, and you’ve seen my breasts!” Lane chuckled motioning at the two large body parts that no longer felt like her own. “It feels like you were the answer to prayers I hadn’t yet spoken out loud.” Lane continued in gratitude. Madelyn chuckled, “I sort of have that effect on people.” she said with a wink and a smile.
Hours later, when the time had come for Madelyn to depart, Lane was greeted with a warm thermos of herbal tea at her bedside. With a sleeping baby in Madelyn’s arms, she placed Dean in the Bassinest next to the king-sized bed. Lane adjusted herself upright.
“Thank you for today,” Madelyn started.
“It was a pleasure to share this sacred space with you, and I am looking forward to all of our time together. I will see you at the same time tomorrow.” Madelyn finished with a squeeze on Lane’s outstretched legs.
“All I wanted for Christmas was to have my family here for the birth of our son.” Lane replied. “To create memories and family traditions together. Thank you, Madelyn,” Lane continued. “For being something I needed to help me navigate all of the big emotions and feelings that I’m going through right now. Merry Christmas.”