Breathe
By Tamara Joy Patterson August 20th, 2013

Today, my 3 year old daughter jumped into my arms as I arrived home after working with clients. She says, "Eskimos." You know, the kind of kisses that you enjoy when you rub your nose against someone else's while sharing breath? Hawaiians call this kiss the "honi." They believe that you exchange breath or spirit when greeting someone in this way.

The first time I "Eskimo kissed" Gabrielle was not as simple... I was on the operating table on April 26th, 2010. They had just taken Gabrielle out of my body during a high risk cesarean birth (I had a complete placenta previa), and she was only about 35 weeks old. As the sweet nurse, Charon, brought her to me and placed her nose gently to mine I met her, and then, Gabrielle stopped breathing. Her breath became erratic, and they quickly took her to another wing of the hospital with daddy in tow.

All I wanted in that moment was to be sewn up, holding her, nursing her. Instead, my anesthesia began to wear off quite rapidly, and I was experiencing a great amount of pain. As my surgery was complete they brought me into recovery, and I had no idea what I was going to be wheeled into.

My little angel was so tiny, and lying under a "hood," something that looked like a small tent over her head. She was fighting for her life. My heart ached. I couldn't hold her. I wanted to. I couldn't breathe for her. I just surrendered. As the evening approached, things became bleaker. She turned blue, unable to receive enough oxygen, and after much deliberation and prayer, my doctor decided to transport her to the nearest NICU one hour away.

The expert nurses took her, once again, daddy in tow, and I was forced to lie in my hospital bed mourning the situation. I asked my nurse, for another pain med, she said, "We don't have anything for that kind of pain, dear." My heart was gone. Someone had taken it out of my chest. All I could do was try my best to breathe. I breathed. I inhaled imagining that I could breathe for her. Imagining I was holding her. Praying. Inhaling. Praying. Exhaling.

In moments of absolute distress, our biggest ally is our breath. When we breathe deeply we deliver oxygen to our cells, we calm our nerves, we still, and we feel our authentic emotions. Breath is the greatest gift. We do not have to consciously be aware of it in order for it work, and keep us alive, but when we do think about it with awareness, great things happen in our healing.

I was able to take my princess home 8 days later. She slept on my chest. Nose to nose. I just had to feel her breathe. I thanked heaven for her life, and mine. We slept. My healing physically came slowly. My healing emotionally, even slower, but every time I stilled my body and mind and breathed a new breakthrough would happen; most of the time in the form of tears.

Every breath we have is a gift. Life is precious. When you breathe I encourage you to do so with intention and awareness especially if you have gone through any sort of trauma, physically or emotionally. Our classes, sessions, and products will help you to do this. They induce a state of relaxation that can be hard to find in the toughest of times. In this time of stillness with breath, think of your life as a gift, say thank you for those who are the gifts in your life. Just breathe.

Gabrielle now runs, and jumps, and sings, and plays. I am so blessed. What I thought was a tragedy turned into triumph for our family, and I am sure that those few first days of life gave her an innate strength that will always be with her. There is a reason we named her "Gabrielle (God is my strength)." Now I am off to tuck her in, and as I do every night, give her "Eskimos."