Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A birthday story

Three years ago, I walked into the Labor & Delivery ward of my local hospital with a swollen belly, an overnight bag and an prodigious amount of anticipation. It was around 6 a.m.

I was pregnant with my second child – a child whose sex was unknown – and a stewpot of emotions swirled within me: excitement, happiness, guilt (at dethroning Peanut from her 20-month reign as center of our universe), fear.

Fear because my first pregnancy ended in a c-section and I was, with my OB’s blessing, going to attempt a V-BAC (that’s vaginal birth after cesarean for those of you not in the know).

It had the potential to be a whole new experience. Would I be able to do it? Would the baby be OK? (V-BACs carry some measure of risk, but for that matter, so do c-sections). Would it hurt?

But I was determined because even back then I had a strong sense that this was our last baby and I wanted to experience birth through the body’s natural door (mind you, that does not mean “natural” birth. When it comes to birthing, I am all about the epidural. I’m in complete awe of women who go without it.) The nurses checked us in, got us settled. My doctor confirmed I was in labor and “well on my way.”

A few hours and an epidural later I was ready to push. I had the most fabulous nurse-coach. She was exactly as supportive and encouraging as she needed to be. She gave me the direction and focus I needed, even talking me into using a mirror (something I NEVER thought I’d want to do) to see the progress of my pushing.

I watched – totally transfixed - as the top of my baby’s head appeared for ever increasing moments. There was nothing else in the world that mattered than the top of that head. It gave me the strength and stamina to keep pushing, knowing that each exertion brought me closer to meeting the child who’d been wriggling around in my womb for the last nine months.

And then, suddenly the nurse woke me from my reverie with a firm, “STOP!”

My little L&D room suddenly became a bustle of activity as everyone prepared for the birth of my baby. At that moment, everyone had a job to do. Everyone but me. I was told, most clearly, to just lie back and NOT do anything, especially push. It was surreal.

My mind danced around the idea of meeting our baby – of finally knowing if it was a boy or girl. Of cradling him/her in my arms right away this time instead of only getting a glimpse before she was shuffled off while my lower half was endlessly sewn back together.

Finally, we were ready. The doctor assumed his “catcher’s position,” the mirror was repositioned and I was told to give it one more push. And with that, I got my first glimpse at our baby’s face.

“STOP!” the doctor said while he suctioned her, but before he could even finish, she just literally slid the rest of the way out.

I can still remember the nurse’s shout of, “Oh my, she just delivered herself," followed by, "it's a girl!"

And just like that, Loaf was born in a manner that was a prefect prelude to her inability to wait, her total lack of patience and her leadership.

That said, she is my snuggler. My sweet girl who nuzzles into me several times a day and still bursts into our room a couple of nights a week just to be close to us. She is tenacious and calculating – a problem solver. She has a million-watt infectious smile and gives the best sloppy kisses of anyone I know.

She’s at times an instigator (she knows how to push her big sister’s buttons and loves to do it) and at others the most fragile and sensitive girl in the world. She is Peanut’s best friend and worst enemy and I don’t think either could survive long term without the other.

She found a way to make our hearts even bigger, our family stronger and our love more complete.

Happy birthday, Loaf! We are so blessed to have you!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:58 AM  
Blogger Mayberry said...

That is wonderful -- I love hearing successful VBAC stories!

10:22 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Happy Birthday to her!

2:10 PM  
Blogger Minnesota Matron said...

Happy birthday,Loaf. And a big nod to the Mama.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Elaine A. said...

What a wonderful birthday story! Thanks for sharing it with all of us! Happy Birthday to Loaf!

10:44 PM  

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