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Stepping Through a Door

Ok. Tre’s birth.
First of all you should know that when I was growing up my mom was a nurse in a birthing center. She’s a big believer in natural childbirth, and raised me on stories of how birth works if you let it, and how doctors will screw things up if you give them half a chance. I was indoctrinated early, so that’s how I approached birth. Some women who’ve used the drugs seem to feel that I went through natural childbirth as a judgment against them. Let me say, nuh-uh. I really don’t feel superior to any woman who’s given birth, no matter how she chose to do it. Ok, there’s that woman who killed one of her twins because she didn’t want the scar from the c-section. Between that and the fact that her babies were born with cocaine in their blood, I do feel a bit judgmental of her. But the rest of you, naaah. Do what you do; I’m on the side of mamas.
Moving on.
Tre was due on July 27. I really wanted my mom with me in the delivery room. I wanted my husband there too, but with my mom being a nurse and all, I wanted her there. So Mom and Dad were planning to come up from New Mexico (where they lived at the time) to Denver on the 25th.
On July 24 my mom drove into work, sat down and worked until noon, then turned her computer off and got up, announcing, “I’m going to Denver.” She drove home, collected Dad (who knew better than to argue too much), and they drove up to Denver. They got to our house at 10 that night, and we all went to bed.
Early the next morning I was dreaming I was riding a motorcycle. It was going faster and faster and as I rounded a curve I thought, “There is no way I can handle this.” It was scary and exhilarating, and as I reached the apex of that curve my water broke. I woke up, and lay there in the dark for a few minutes before I shook my husband awake. Once he comprehended what I was saying he leaped out of bed (with a startled look at the sheets) and started flying around the room. I went downstairs to tell Mom and Dad, who jumped up into action like something out of a cartoon. So with everyone thoroughly upset, I went and calmly took a shower.
Despite my water having broken, I still wasn’t having contractions. So I was calm all the way to the hospital, and through the admission process. I was calm getting in the room and when my midwife came in to suggest I walk a bit, to get things moving. All morning was calm, and into the afternoon. Finally my parents left to find lunch and my husband laid down on the couch for a nap. I sat in the bed, watching TV.
When the first contraction hit, I thought, “What the hell was that?” I’d been having tiny little contractions…nothing like that. Then another one came. This time I thought, “I bet this hurts because everyone left me. If they CARED this wouldn’t hurt.”
As it turned out the pain wasn’t their fault. By the time everyone was back and awake, I was in labor. After one particularly intense contraction I discovered that I throw up during labor. Um…a lot.
It’s hard to describe what labor is like, because I went away to labor-land. My eyes were closed most of the time and I held onto my husband’s hand and just…labored. After a while the back labor hit.
Oy. By my recollection, back labor lasted…four hundred years. I ended up kneeling on the bed, on all fours. My midwife gave me counter pressure on my back with each contraction. I kept telling her, “Harder. Push harder.” Eventually she was suspended by her elbows, digging into the small of my back. It was the only thing that gave me relief. The next day I had a huge bruise across my back, but it was worth it.
At one point the midwife checked me and murmured, “We’re close. I think this baby will be born within the hour.” When I heard this, I called my mom over. I gripped her hand and said quietly,
I. Cannot. Do. This. For. Another. Hour.” I don’t know what I thought she could do about that, but I was panicked. I always panicked during transition, when it was time to push. She patted my shoulder and said the only thing she could think of, “You ARE doing it. You’re doing great.”
The panic passed as soon as I was allowed to push. I barely opened my eyes from when I started until he was born. I was…elsewhere. It was nothing like the movies, when they show a woman in labor screaming and hating her husband. It was hard work, intense and overwhelming, but there was also this peace that pervaded everything. The room was quiet; people spoke in hushed tones when they spoke at all. And my husband stood next to me, brushing my hair off my face and holding my hand. I hardly spoke to him, but I was very aware of him there, and of how desperately I loved him. Once he went to the bathroom, and when a contraction hit and I realized he was gone, I grabbed my mom’s hand and hissed, “Where is he?”
“He just went to pee! He’ll be right back!” Just then he came running back, still zipping his pants. Mom says she’s never seen anyone pee so fast.
Almost two hours went by, and the midwife was starting to worry that I was getting tired. She mentioned that we were going to have to think about alternatives if the baby wasn’t born soon. I didn’t like the sound of that, and I suspect it may have been just the incentive I needed to marshal my last reserves.
In those last moments of pushing, all the doubts and fears I’d worried over during this pregnancy stilled. Every portion of my mind and heart was devoted to the task at hand, and suddenly there was the best part. The bit that’s like every other birth story, and unlike any other. He slipped free and they cut his cord and handed him to me. I looked at him, at his bright red trembling lips and squinty smushed face. All the details that had been swarming in my head, giving me anxiety attacks about how they’d all be forced into place, everything just fell into position. It all made sense.
I could see.
This was why I was born, to be a mother to this child.
Often pregnancy books will warn mothers-to-be that they shouldn’t worry if they don’t feel bonded with their baby immediately. I know some excellent mothers who felt almost shy around their newborns for a while, before that feeling dawned in them. But for me it was as complete and instantaneous as stepping through a door. On that side I was one person and on this side I was Tre’s mother. All those months I’d wept over my fate just fell away, and I looked on his face with a gratitude I’d never even imagined. Not only was I not scared to take on this job of motherhood, I was overjoyed. And I knew, I KNEW I could do it.
After a while they took Tre to the nursery to measure and thoroughly irritate him. I was sent to go pee, and a nurse helped me out of bed. She took my elbow and said, “Do you want me to help you into the bathroom?” I laughed and shook my arm free of her grip. “Are you KIDDING ME? Did you SEE WHAT I JUST DID? I can do ANYTHING.”
And off I went, hobbling with utmost confidence into my new life.



Love it! And yes, you can!!!


Awesome. :)

Heather McCutcheon

Waaaaahhhhhh you made me cry AGAIN!

That's one of the best birth stories I've ever read! How totally, incredibly wonderful! I'm training to be a Childbirth Educator and I've read a lot of stories, lol. Loved this one!



The One True Josh

"... for me it was as complete and instantaneous as stepping through a door."

Yes. Because that's who you are. That's how you step through things. You always have. I get all nervous and twitchy, but you dive right in.

You're so cool.


Thank you for sharing your story. It moved me on so many levels. I cannot wait to experience the blessing you have just described. :)

Karen Boyd

Don't forget to update your "About Me" information . . .

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