The Birth Experience

I didn't go into this experience feeling brave.

When the nurse came into my hospital room, checked me, and said that it would be time to push soon, I started shaking so hard that my teeth clattered together. I didn't want to do it again, didn't want to think again that I might be dying, or that my child might be dying because I wasn't strong enough as a person or as a mother to get her out of my body safely.

I also didn't go into giving birth determined to have a "birth experience" like I've heard so many mothers-to-be talk about. I thought a birth experience was the domain of women who chose to go the all-natural route, who wrote out detailed moment-by-moment plans and wanted to involve things like baths and midwives and custom playlists and fancy breathing exercises. I thought that I just wanted to have the baby, have it hurt as little as possible, and be on my way so I could get to the real stuff of motherhood.


Labor Pizza

In which I journey to far-off lands the East Bay in search of a mythical labor-inducing pizza. (Not because I'm desperate to get this show on the road…just mostly because pizza sounded good, and labor pizza sounded funny, and whenever the words "funny" and "pizza" go together that can't be a bad thing.)

Here's how it went.


Not So Brave

Just thinking about this day today, and feeling emotional and excited and a little scared.

The truth: I'm feeling more than "a little scared." I'm really, really scared. More scared, in fact, than I was the first time, because now I know just how big of a thing it is to bring a baby into the world. The first time I figured, what, it hurts? Big deal. But now I know that it's not about "hurting," it's about one of the most exhausting, overwhelming and - yes - painful ordeals you can put a body through, and I know about all the stuff that can go wrong…and I'm scared. And that fear makes me disappointed in myself, because shouldn't I just be pure joy at this point, days before I meet my daughter? Shouldn't I feel like Christmas is coming?

I don't feel that way. I know that joy is on the way, of course I do…but right now I feel scared. And I guess I'm mostly scared that I won't be as brave as I want to be, because I wasn't last time.

But that's why I've been spending time every day looking at these photos: because seeing them reminds me that there's something much bigger waiting for me on the other side of the pain and the exhaustion and the everything-that-might-go-wrong, and that's that no matter what happens, I know this: I get to fall in love. Again. I almost can't believe it. I know there's "a baby" coming…but my daughter? That doesn't feel possible; it feels too big and too forever to be real.

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