At 5:30 in the morning one year ago today I realized after nine months of anticipation (albeit a week early) it might be the day I would finally meet my baby.
After a couple of hours the contractions were fairly regular and pretty noticeable . We called the birthing center who offered to do an exam and see if we were ready. Things looked like they were progressing and by this time my contractions were definitely more noticeable. We met our delivery doctor, Dr. Babu, who shared a few tears with me as we discussed my impending anxiety about becoming a new mom. It was so sweet and a kindness I will always remember. She broke my water shortly after. I never moved from the birthing ball once I got there (this is funny to me since I had spent weeks preparing a very elaborate “birthing binder” with lots of affirmations and photos of various positions to do (thank you, Hannah). There on the birthing ball, Matt held me up and told many funny memories we had to help keep me centered. My nurses, Jean and Emily, never left my side, encouraging me, and tending to any need I had to keep us safe and comfortable.
Through Matt’s stories, Dr. Babu found that Matt and I had an appreciation for picture-taking and used my phone to photograph parts of my labor which I wouldn’t find until after Emily was born. It was a simple act but it was an incredibly special gift to find afterward.
At 5:30PM, I delivered our baby with no epidural, no medication, without the urge to push, in twenty minutes. I probably would’ve taken that epidural if I could have, it’s not about that - it’s just from the moment I truly made the decision to become a mom I was so nervous. More than average kind of nervous. I was scared of all the regular things most parents are scared of but I was also scared of everything else. I was terrified of being pregnant, terrified of labor, and found out too late that I was also terrified of newborns! When I was in the final moments of Emily’s delivery, when I really thought I was a goner, the only voice I heard, was my own.
“You did it, you did it, you’re doing it, you can do it.”
I had waited what felt like my entire life to become a mom. Although the pain was incredible, I had never in my life been more present for anything. It forced me to show up and shake hands with all the anxieties that had tried to deter me up to this point. I had no choice, perhaps that was the most freeing part of it all. I was more alive than I had ever been before.
I have Emily to thank for so much - for her life, of course, but also for the life she gave to me. Her presence has challenged me and changed me for the better. She’s taught me so much about myself and about a type of love unexplainable by words. She’s shown me that it’s okay to be scared, to feel pain (physical and mental) because it comes and goes and most often theres something to learn and a light that will come from it after all. So, I felt it all and it all felt me too.
We strapped Emily into her car seat and headed to our home now as a family of three. I will never forget the sky, the sun on the leaves, or the tepid orangey autumn air - as Matt and I felt the magnitude of the most beautiful day of our lives.