Thursday, February 2, 2006

Happy Third Birthday, Little Guy!

Three years ago at this time, I paced the floors of DeKalb Medical Center's Labor and Delivery ward, trying to will my labor along with each step. We had been at the hospital for about three-and-a-half hours and despite the fact that my water had broken six hours before, I still was not dilated more than 1 cm. After months of one-on-one birthing classes with our doula/birth educator and countless hours of meditating, doing yoga, and practicing pain tolerance techniques, I suddenly felt very fearful about my body's ability to cooperate with my mind and my will to accomplish my goal of a drug-and-intervention-free birth.

Adding to my fears was the OB on call. My worst nightmare, Dr. Sourpuss, was the worst kind of doctor. The one who distrusts her patients and doesn't listen to them. Despite having a birthplan on hand and in the hands of the nursing staff, I feared that if she had the chance, I'd be under the knife faster than you could say lawsuit.

Thankfully, I had an incredible doula who advocated for me. Who guided both me and Scott when my contractions were coming every two minutes and lasting for two minutes but getting me no closer to holding a child in my arms. Devon, our doula, performed Reikii and massage, kept me company while I was in the tub trying to relax, and made the nurses listen when I said I needed to sleep, having only had three hours of sleep before going into labor.

Finally, one of the nurses offered me a sedative that she said was safe for my child. She promised no pain relief, but said it might let me rest for a while. I took it, though I felt it was in part a failure. I dozed off quickly. After what seemed hours, but was really only an hour-and-a-half, I woke. The first thing I was aware of was Gillian Welch singing "Time the Revelator" coming from Scott's computer. The next thing I sensed was the most incredible urge to push. Exactly as all the books described it.

Scott, Devon, and Scott's mom were all talking somewhere to my side. Before I opened my eyes, I said, "I'm ready to push." I think it took them a moment to realize what I said, so I repeated myself. Suddenly, all three of them descended upon me. Devon told me to relax and she'd get the nurse. When the nurse came in, I told her, "I'm ready to push." Her response was to give me a strange look and then to say, "Well, I can check you, but the last time I checked you were still only around 1.5 cm. I doubt you've progressed that far so quickly."

I felt elated when she checked me and came up with a look of total surprise on her face. She turned to the other nurse and said, "We need to find her doctor." Turning back to me, she said, "Hold on, Honey! You're at 8 cm. It's about time. We need to get your doctor in here."

After two hours of pushing, my perfect little angel came into the world. It didn't all work out quite as blissfully as I had envisioned it, but here he was. Finally!

Now, in the blink of an eye, three years have passed. Where did they go? He's so grown-up and funny and smart. I miss the sweet, tiny, infant who would smile sweetly up at his mama as I held him and nursed him or just stared at his pretty little face. But despite the most challenging moments with this headstrong, persistent, and oh-so-active boy, I feel so blessed.

Mothering this guy has been, and continues to be, the wildest ride I've ever been on. A roller-coaster of emotion that takes me to ever-greater heights and sinks my heart with despair. All on a daily basis.

So, to Brendan, on his third birthday, I say, "Thank you for choosing me and your dad to be the ones who guide your soul through this world." We are, I hope, better people for it. More so, I hope you will be better for it, as well.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

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