The only thing that brought me comfort was this thought: "I never have to do this again." I chanted this mantra to my husband. Announced it to the nurses who breezed in and out. And whispered it to the doctor. "I never have to do this again."
I really want to focus on the baby. But birth is so damn distracting. It's just looming there, at the end of pregnancy, like this massive Mount Doom with Sauron's fiery eye flicking vigilantly back and forth above. I am definitely Frodo in my birth story, with the wide, terrified eyes.
It's time for us to dispense with the battle lines that have marked conversations about birth for decades -- and that have led us to neglect the important task of finding and facilitating the good in cesareans and other births where technology is desired or needed.
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.
Today's hospitals offer "family birthing suites" with soothing wallpaper, aromatherapy, soft lighting, comfy tubs, pull-out beds for Dad and catered meals. While all this makes for good advertising, it does not necessarily make for good birthing.
Fortunately, I get to see Bowie all the time. She is a healthy, beautiful little girl I can hold in my arms for hours. As I look at her, my thoughts are constantly with Dalitso, across the ocean. I hope she and her mother are healthy.
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.
The earth shakes when the doctor places your firstborn in your arms. Holding your second, you become human again. Then the third arrives. And as you hold her for the first time, you notice that your hands are steady.