MamaLady is collecting birth stories for her new carnival on November 9. I had been working on mine since Toni posted hers.
I’m posting mine early to get you in the mood to read and inspired to work on one if you have never written yours. Maybe I’ll even have time to get my son’s done now before the carnival starts.
Your body was created to do this
It knows just what to do
Women do this everyday
They’ve been doing it for thousands of years
Over and over again, I repeated these mantras during the last days of pregnancy, trying to undo a lifetime’s worth of worrying about this moment.
It’s no wonder that uncertainty ruled that day, Sunday, January 7, 2001, as I crossed the threshhold into church and felt that tiny “pop!” followed by only a drop or two of liquid. This can’t be what it’s like when your water breaks, can it? Must be A. pressing on my bladder. Must be false labor again.
We called you A. ever since you were 20 weeks old inside my womb. I needed to start getting to know you, letting myself know that you were real. A. was about the only name your father and I agreed on, and it means [I'm not telling; it's a secret!], which I was absolutely sure you would be. I had no conception of what I would be like as a mother, having always been the youngest — doted on and cared for by everyone else.
After a day spent wet and wondering, we called the doctor’s office. The one doctor I felt the least connection with (of course), after chastising us for not calling sooner, told us to come in and get checked. We loaded up the already packed bag and started the 40-minute drive to the hospital. “I’ve just gotten used to caring for this baby inside of me,” I think. I’m not sure I’m ready for you to come out.
But the doctor said you must come out — and soon, to minimize the risk of infection, since I had indeed been leaking amniotic fluid all day. Doctor M. wanted to induce in order to deliver you within 24 hours of the time my water broke. They gave me an incredibly tiny dose of Pitocin (tiny at my request), and my body went right into labor now that it had permission from someone.
I remember after about an hour of this, my water really broke like I thought it should — in one big satisfying gush. When the Pitocin-induced contractions came crashing on me in unrelenting waves, I very sensibly decided to try an epidural. (There was no chance at being ‘all natural’ once Pitocin was brought onto the scene.) I am learning to go with the flow.
Daddy played Chant for me while you made your way out of one world and into the next. Our anesthesiologist was most pleased, since he was Greek Orthodox. Your labor nurse, Tanya, said it was the most peaceful birth she had ever seen. We even napped awhile after the epidural kicked in. Tanya woke us up when it was time to push.
It took about an hour-and-a-half for me to push you out. There would be no turning back now. When your pretty head and tiny body emerged, your daddy cut the umbilical cord. You were so tiny and pretty, with your rosebud mouth and delicate little fingers. You let yourself be willingly admired by the parade of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who came to meet and hold you in the days following your birth.
When it was time to take you home, I was sure that the train we could hear from our house would wake you, but you didn’t flinch. I realized you had been listening to it for the last 40 weeks. Pow, our whippet, sniffed your tiny head, sniffed me, and curled right up beside us in snuggle dog position. He knew you too. And I settled in to begin learning to inhabit that promised land at the very edges of my own desires and my own expectations, where all the best things are.
Thank you for coming to live there with us.
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