As I am typing this, Dani is on a plane headed to Italy and I am salivating with the thought of all the delicious wine she will be drinking the next few days. So. Wish. I. Was. With. Her. (I reserve the travel-buddy-spot for the next international wedding. K? K.) Instead, I am chilling at home with my newest sidekick, Jaxon. It’s hard to believe this was us three weeks ago! Time flies when you are in love! Side note – A huge thank you to everyone who left us congratulations in response to Dani’s post on the birth story; your positive words are truly appreciated.
Looking back through these photos, I can’t help but relive that day and all the emotions that come with the miracle of giving birth. And I can’t believe I’m about to say this, some will think I’m crazy, but… I love giving birth. Being pregnant – not so much. I mean, neither of my pregnancies were exactly a piece of cake. There were several weeks of bed rest (read: boring days filled with hours of TLCs A Baby Story and thoughts that I would be pregnant for well over a year. Poor elephants; I really do feel bad for them.), insanely swollen appendages including the appearance of thankles (that’s right – from the thighs straight down with no definition anywhere along the way), and all those wonderful comments about being huge and the certainty of there being multiple babies in there. Don’t get me wrong, feeling the kicks and hearing the heartbeat and all that is amazing and wonderful, but giving birth is unbelievable. It’s nothing short of amazing. A true blessing. And there is only one word that can sum up the whole experience: empowering.
Now, my first birth experience was unexpectedly empowering. I had a scheduled pitocin induction and had no expectations to actually survive without pain medicine, but that was my goal. Everything I had read and everyone I spoke to said the pitocin made the contractions horrific and delivering without pain meds was nearly impossible. My husband and I read numerous books on natural childbirth and were completely prepared with pages of techniques and tactics to battle the augmented contractions and have as “natural” an experience as possible. I went in with an open mind and, although I broke down and asked for the epidural after 3.5 hours, Jakob arrived before the anesthesiologist. To be honest, it really wasn’t that bad. I survived and went to sleep that night feeling like the pink Power Ranger, like I could conquer the world. That could be a bumper sticker: “Conquer Pitocin, Conquer the World”. Looking back, what I missed was the lack of self control, the lack of an opportunity to really see what my body could do on its own. And that is exactly what I wanted for myself this time around.
We really hoped to do a home birth after the first experience, but several factors prevented that from happening, so back to the hospital for baby 2. But I was prepared to stand up for myself and every last little detail to make this birth experience what I wanted. To remain in complete control. To listen to my body and see what it could do on its own. Well, that’s what I did. And I could not have imagined anything more perfect (except had we been at home).
From the moment my water broke, I was completely tuned in to what my body was saying. I knew when to walk, when to rest, when to sit, when to squat, when to shut my eyes, when to sleep (yes – I was actually sleeping in between contractions), when to ask for dark, when to ask for silence…and it just happened. Before I knew it, it was time to push. And even then. There were no nurses counting to ten or telling me when to start and stop. It was completely up to me and my body. How empowering! And so much more empowering than the first time. Because I hadn’t proven others wrong; I had proven myself right! I stayed focused and in control and made it happen. I listened to my body and followed my dreams and got what I wanted. I even surprised myself a little.
So here we are, three weeks later, and I am still feeling so empowered by that experience. As a mother, a wife, a career woman, a Christian – there are so many opportunities to take control of our lives and make “it” happen. I can’t help but think of how empowered Dani must feel to have followed her dreams and it landed her in ITALY!!! And I can’t help but start to dream myself; dreams of how to take every aspect of my life to a new level. To find those passions I live for, make a plan and push forward to make those passions an everyday reality.
I hope for all of you that you feel empowered today and every day. If you are having trouble, try giving birth. It’s awesome.