I fought futilely against my own body so that giving birth to my only child would not be the thing that killed her.
No one was safe. I vomited on my husband, and then continued heaving for 45 minutes while the doctor tried to sew me up as I swore to her that I did not eat anything after the ice cream sundae I devoured at 9:30 the previous night.
Mama, you can do this. You can do this in whichever way you need to. You can accept help. You can laugh and you can cry. You simply can.
In case a C-section is in your cards... here's what I wish I knew in advance.
She couldn't eat, wouldn't eat. Lived on nothing. Never cried, never indicated hunger. Test after test, specialist after specialist, and she grew thinner and thinner. But her wide smile never wavered.
When fear is gone, it leaves a huge hole for the courage to fill. It's a space that's almost as big as my baby, I think.
I held onto the wall and the banister as I slowly made my way down the stairs. I held onto my very worried-looking mother as I walked out of the front door. Then I held onto the porch railing as another contraction rocked through me. My only thought was: Must get to car.
When I was pregnant, I tried to imagine what you'd be like. I thought you might like flowers and the color pink, so I decorated your room in violets and made you a rose-colored quilt. Today, your bedroom is covered in Star Wars posters and pictures of sharks.
My husband jokingly applies the baseball term "hitting for the cycle" to the way I delivered our three children: from scheduled surgery to drugged and finally undrugged natural. It wasn't some sport, though I was fanatical.
This visit went just like all the other visits. Until we noticed that the nurse was lingering over the ultrasound screen, moving the ultrasound paddle again and again over Peyton's swollen belly --pressing harder, issuing the sound waves from a variety of different angles.
I think it's time to talk about more of the details, not less. At least here in our corner of the world, let's start sharing our versions of birth, feelings included.