I’m writing this on the eve of my firstborns 6th birthday. Six years ago tonight I was in early labor with her. Wow.
I was so eager to get labor going and so terribly naive about how birth really worked. My father was sick and getting treatment down in Southern California, so upon my Obstetrician stripping my membranes and informing me birth was imminent, we had my mother get on the next flight home.
…in what I NOW know as classic Labor Murphy’s Law (when you’re prepared and it’d be the perfect time- nothing short of a Cesarean would get that baby out) we waited around for a week. A week of torture in my mind. Of course, I was still only 38 weeks, but I’m not a terribly patient person by nature- add some hormones and false hope to that and you have the recipe for maternal meltdown.
I wanted to try for a natural labor. I had been given just enough information to know it was possible, and yet, had not sought out enough tools to actually see that into reality.
So, upon the second violation of my uterus (I mean stripping my membranes) and a good cry about my lack of cervical change- labor (barely) began. Ohh, hindsight. If I had been my own doula back then I’d have said, “Love. You have some time. Chill out and get some sleep.” We went and saw a movie (The Departed, if you care to know. Not the best at setting a calm, “this is a safe world to bring your baby into” tone.) and went home to contract through the night. By 7am they were strong enough (I could tell when they started and stopped) to head in.
I was 2cm. Two.
My doctor, (who is actually an incredibly person. She became my OB almost by accident. She was the OB on call when I lost my first baby and took me on. She prayed with me in the room as I continued to lose the baby we’d tried so hard for. I don’t want to in any way paint her in a negative light.) offered to break my water. Sure! Why wouldn’t I? It was like someone offering me an entire German Chocolate Cake. (My craving of choice. It was a weak moment when I ate the entire thing… even the last piece my husband threw in the garbage. I don’t want to talk about it.)
Labor took off. Intensified to something I still cant wrap my brain around. My stud of a husband was with me through it all. I didn’t know then how rare that is. To have a man step into that space where a woman is battling her greatest feat. To attempt to ease and support someone going through something he cant possibly fathom, and in all honesty is probably incredibly frightening. Little did I know how much he’d continue to amaze me through my future births.
Finally got to the point where I felt I couldn’t go further. Maybe it was exhaustion, maybe fear, maybe having my bag of waters artificially ruptured… who knows. But, I was done.
Got my epidural and was in heaven
It was at this point that the family started piling in. I don’t even know how many people were there. 20? One of these wonderful people was one of my 2 bestest friends. Who, when she found out I was in labor got in her car and drove from Portland. Like I said, I’m so blessed.
Checked me, I was complete (went from 4cm to complete in like 20 minutes. I know, right?!)
The mass exodus of family headed out into the hall. (And stayed there despite the nurses protestations.)
I pushed, and pushed, and pushed.
Somewhere around 3 hours later… she was here.
My husband cried, and I’d never seen that before. It brought me out of the exhausted haze and something clicked… she was here!
I was a mom.
We relished in her. She latched on immediately. Never struggled with breastfeeding. She just fit right in from the beginning. It was as though I’d under prepared for birth, but for her- for Addyson- I was prepared. I knew how to be her mommy.
A few hours after she was born my hubby took her into the hall and returned to the room… without her. (???) I remember telling him, “You cant just leave her!” And then, in walked my other best friend. She lived in Florida. Jumped on the first plane and surprised me. Still, 6 years later as I write this, I have tears. So incredible.
Addyson was instantly my buddy. We went everywhere together and I just eased into motherhood.
Now, six years later, it feels like yesterday and an eternity at the same time. Shes grown into this self sufficient, intelligent, driven, sassy, type A, beautiful little girl. Sometimes I struggle with how to connect with her, shes the exact opposite of me in almost every way. But, I remember that day so long ago. When I immediately became her mama and knew how to do it- and it gives me confidence for the next six years.
My beautiful daughter,
May tomorrow be amazing. May you always have true friends that would be there for you without question for the happy and the hard. May you have family that engulfs you and shares your joy. May you have random angels that remind you of Gods constant presence and plan. May you have the husband that was made for you. A man that will step into the chaos so you’re not alone. And may you do the awesome things you were created for- without hesitation, with all your heart.