Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Birth of Bodhi

photo credit: Catie McCabe

Bodhi Ty Campbell
October 18, 2016
8lbs, 9oz. 20 inches

Bodhi (pronounced BO-dee).  A Sanskrit name meaning “Awakened” or “Enlightenment.”  The Buddhist concept for Bodhi is spiritual awakening and freedom from the cycle of life.  Bodhi is also the name of the sacred tree under which Buddha sat and obtained his enlightenment/nirvana.   

We had trouble agreeing on a name for our baby boy for the longest time.  Then, after he was born, Bodhi just seemed to suit him perfectly.  Lou and I have been through our own spiritual enlightenment on so many levels, it just sounded right. 

Everyone wants this story to be beautiful.  A light at the end of the tunnel.  The rainbow after the storm.  Sadly, the birth of Bodhi was much heavier than it was happy.  It was more painful than I ever imagined.  And it has taken me 2 months to share this truth openly and honestly.

Physically, I was okay.  It is the emotional pain that has been so unbearable.  Now, eight weeks later, I can finally say I have recovered from the deep sadness that has weighed on me ever since this little soul was born.  I can finally see him for who he is, without searching for something more. 

Upon checking into the hospital early that morning, I was so lucky to walk into a very quiet maternity ward, greeted with friendly smiles, and escorted to my serene corner room where I would deliver the baby that my heart yearned for over the years.  The girl checking me in recognized my name, and we shared tears over Ty. Then my nurse came in and said she followed Ty’s story for years, and she would take the very best care of me.  I wasn’t even surprised that my angel would have arranged this for me.

“This is going to be perfect.” I thought, almost as if to convince myself, but I was already feeling like everything was all wrong.  It was wrong because this wasn’t supposed to be my life.  Nothing felt the same as it did when I was in labor with Ty and Gavin, and the flashbacks began rolling in.   With every contraction I couldn’t help but think “this is nothing compared to what Ty experienced.”  I re-lived seeing him in his hospital bed after so many painful surgeries, when he was suffering with MRSA meningitis, when he would tell me his head hurt, or his mouth “not work.” 

When Gavin was born labor was fast and intense. I was certain labor would be even faster the third time around so I didn’t hesitate to call for the epidural.  This time, however, labor was slow and steady.  Uncontrollable tears rolled down my face as my legs went numb because I couldn’t stop wondering… “Is this what it felt like for Ty when his arm suddenly slipped from around my neck that night?” In an instant, my four-year-old super hero lost his ability to walk and could barely move his arms or hold up his head.  How did that feel for him?  What was going through his mind when all of a sudden he was robbed of these most simple movements that most of us take for granted.  I couldn’t walk and my legs felt so unbearably heavy - but for me it was only temporary.  How unfair it was to think my son endured this feeling of helplessness for six months until he died. 

I tried to get comfortable in my hospital bed and wondered if Ty could feel me when I used to lay down beside him among the countless wires post-surgery.   Each time I winced in pain, I was ashamed of myself, knowing that the labor pains I was experiencing didn’t compare – not even close – to what my young son endured for 2 and-a-half years with such bravery.  These are the memories I try not to think of, but being in the hospital made it impossible to avoid.  Every procedure.  Every time his skull was opened.  Every infection.  His cries when the head pain would come and go with waves of intense pressure.  These are the thoughts that consumed my day.  I was unable to focus on the new life that was being brought into this world.  I could only think of the loss.   

Bodhi was born in the late afternoon, and I was immediately in awe of him.  I felt so light, it was almost as if it wasn’t really happening.  My first thought was that he looked so much like Gavin, but with more hair.  I looked for Ty in his face without finding much resemblance beyond a hint here and there.  Bodhi was placed on my chest and I could barely believe it.  A new soul.  A baby!  What a beautiful life I want for him. 

Over the course of the next few days, so many people came in and out of my room.  They had a lot of advice on caring for the baby, getting comfortable at the hospital,  and making sure everything the baby is exposed to is clean and sanitary (I had a kid with cancer, believe me, I get it).  None of them realized just how experienced I am with hospitals.  Nor could they imagine just how hard it was for me to be a patient there. 

Coming home I found myself even more weepy.  It’s so unfair that women go through all the pain of labor and what it does to your body, only to go home with such heightened hormones that can truly make you feel insane.  Why can’t they be happy hormones?  Couple that with the intense grief I was suffering and a newborn that cries constantly… that’s where I was at for the first six weeks.  I was an absolute wreck. We are just now finding our groove and falling in love. 

There, I said it.  We did not have a fairytale “birth story.”  Bodhi was a screamer, and it made me want to pull my hair out.  I felt fat, ugly, old, and incapable.  And it took a lot longer than I expected before I started feeling better.  I’m relieved to say that I am better now.  That this beautiful baby boy has blessed our home with new energy and excitement.  Gavin is the best big brother, too.  He’s so proud and so helpful.  I just love watching them together.

How I wish Ty was here, but I know he is watching over his brothers every second of every day.  There was a ladybug crawling on my window at the hospital – the first of many signs that he was there all along.  It’s not the same, and it will never be okay, but I am coping with this reality and I do know I am blessed. 

Be sweet, Bodhi.  This is only the beginning.  
Merry Everything to Everyone.  


  1. Always in my heart! Beautiful enrty as always Cindy! ♡♡♡

  2. God Bless you and your family.

  3. Thank you Cindy for sharing your heart and your story. Merry Everything to you and you beautiful family.

  4. Thank you Cindy for sharing your heart and your story. Merry Everything to you and you beautiful family.

  5. My how I love you Cindy! So much of what goes on in your head is a hidden secret. Even those closest to you are often unaware of your suffering but never your joy. You are such a beautiful soul, so honest and true. I am blessed this holiday season and every day to share my life with you, Lou and the boys. Ty has made us all better people and he will be forever in our hearts <3. He will be missed greatly but never, ever forgotten. Sweet Bodhi is such a blessing, it's so nice to smell the freshness and feel the softness of a little baby! Merry Christmas xoxox

  6. Thank you for sharing your birth story, Cindy! I had my second child at 44 so went through a slower recovery too. And had PPD as well... Hope that you and your family have a special holiday with the boys and the peace and joy of this season will be with you. XOXO

  7. I had my first child die from cancer in Feb 1987 and my second child born in Dec 1987. A lot of emotions!
    Enjoy your new love!! Merry Christmas too!

  8. Your honesty is relieving and you make the rest of us feel normal! Your children and family are beautiful! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year!

  9. Cindy, you are just so real. I love that you share the true thoughts of what you are going thru. You know I think everything you feel is normal. I really do see both boys in Bohdi, he is absolutely gorgeous, you guys make pretty babies! hope you have a great Christmas! Even with all the bad, we are blessed..Love The Campbells!! Terri from Illinois

  10. Congrats on your beautiful little baby boy! And what a beautiful Christmas photo of all your boys.

  11. Cindy, Merry Christmas to you. You are so honest and real. God bless you

  12. As always so poignant and heartfelt..I had a feeling that this would not be easy for you..When your due date was in October I feared it would be close..Your honesty is brave and I know you continue to help other Mothers out there feeling your pain. YOU ARE HEAVEN SENT GOD BLESS.Bodhi he is so precious and I'm sure Gavin is there to assist! Merry Christmas and a Blessed Happy Healthy New Year!! LOVE TO ALL


  13. I am glad you have found your way through to the light so you and your family can enjoy this holiday season. Many blessings to you and your family.

  14. Congratulations to you and your family. Your boys are pretty lucky to have such amazing parents who love them so dearly. Xo

  15. Congratulations on your beautiful baby and enjoy Gavin during this holiday season!
    Angela :)

  16. Congratulations on your baby Bodhi! I wish your family all the best. I also wanted to tell you that I am a preschool teacher, and every time my students play in the mud puddles, a smile crosses my face and I think of Ty. Many blessings for all of you.

  17. It has just turned midnight here in Ireland Cindy, the fireworks are going, I hugged my family and thought of you then, I am so happy to hear little Bodhi is here, he is beautiful just like his big brothers. I hope you are okay and I hope the New Year is a better one for you. I think of Ty every single dayxxxxx

  18. Cindy, It's Jon Burton here from your PwC past. I hadn't checked your blog in some time, but was so delighted to see the birth of Bodhi and send my heartfelt best wishes to you and your family.