Rayen Carter Boyce is now eight weeks old. Her announcement was delayed because I have been emotionally depleted and have only been able to muster what it takes to care for my family after this emotionally intense year.
I am so grateful for the support I have received from friends and loved ones during my debilitating pregnancy and my mom’s short, devastating experience with brain cancer that took her life a few days before Rayen’s arrival.
I was emotionally and physically at an all time low when Ray was set to enter our world. I was very sad about this but still unable to pull myself out of the darkness when all I could think about was not being able to call my mom. Still, I wanted Ray to enter our world in a beautiful state.
One would assume that a third baby would just fly right out, but not Ray. Labor started and stopped so many times the doctor eventually decided to induce me. I was fine with it for no other reason than it was easier for me to organize childcare for my boys that way! It was a much different experience than my first birth with a midwife where I labored at home for most of the experience.
Once the induction began I asked for the epidural and waited. Let me rephrase that. Once the induction began and they inserted a balloon inside me to help things open faster, I asked for the epidural and waited. I couldn’t take any more pain. Much to the surprise of the staff, I waited over a day. Ray was not ready and I think it had everything to do with my mind not being ready. As I waited for my body to open, I spoke to some women who’s friendships I will treasure forever. It was a reminder how important it is not to let our female relationships dwindle as we become mother’s and wives. I told my friends of the trauma I experienced while next to my mom during end stage cancer, I cried about all the damage this pregnancy had done to my body that was medical, not just cosmetic. I wallowed in self pity because now I had three small children to take care of and life had sucked me dry. I didn’t know how I would possibly get it together. Honestly, I just wanted some Xanax and a hotel room to myself for a few days. Not really, but kind of.
I thank God for my friends. My friend Bernadett called me when my mind was really in the thick of it. I love her because she could have done what everyone else was doing ( feeling sorry for me) but she didn’t. She told me I could sit and tell her my sad story for days if I needed to, but at that moment my daughter needed me to be her mother. She needed me to cultivate a strong, feminine mindset to give birth into. She helped me speak to Ray about how I was going to give every ounce of my strength and spirit to welcome her into this world with loving arms. Loving arms that would hold her softly and nurture her as a mother is supposed to do.
Another friend called and reminded me that my mother and Ray were together until she decided to enter this world, so not to worry my labor was taking so long. My mom had departed and Ray was arriving, and my mom would wait with her until she was ready. This brought me some peace.
On August 15, 2018 at 10pm Rayen Carter Boyce made her entrance. We stayed in the hospital together for two more days and slept endlessly after our intense shared experience. The angel nurses helped me to honor both the joy and sadness I was feeling at the same time. The strength Ray has brought me has been a blessing, and my daughter will forever be a gift I was given at a time of tremendous loss. I’m so grateful she is here. Her brothers adore her and our family is complete.
Photos by Lauren Newman