The realization hit like an epidural. I felt a joyous ache, both comforted and terrified in the knowing our relationship had and would continue to forever change. As I held you once more, I was reminded of the poem, "On Children", by ultimate truth-teller Kahlil Gibran.
As I think about my son just inches away from being born, I decide to let go of the pain. These final moments of pregnancy suddenly turn from struggle to joy.
Enlisting my team for support was the biggest gift I could have given myself during the labor and birth of my son Oliver. It felt as though all the support I've provided as a doula over the past years was shown back to me 100-fold.
Tears began streaming down my face as I quickly grieved the birth plan I was giving up. The birth plan -- that, up until that point -- had been incredibly flexible.
I revel in the stories of my mother, of all women: their birth stories, their fish stories, their perfectly unreliable testimonies.
I met my son in a stuffy government building in China. I remember everything about the day I met him. The creak of the elevator as we traveled to the second floor.
Time passed, and I was aware that -- although healing ok -- my vagina didn't have the same...form... as before.
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.