This time eight years ago I had an IV dripping Pitocin into my hand, and I was certain I was going to give my 85-year-old grandfather a birthday buddy.
It turns out that Vivian’s birth story (we had a code name before we revealed her real name) became a two-day event. Don’t worry. While delivering her into the world is quite a story, it’s not one I’m going to share here.
I just want to share some photos and reflect on the days that ushered in the beginning of my life as a mother.
The day before had been Easter and I opted not to go to church. I was so uncomfortable by this point that the thought of showering, dressing, singing, sitting through the service, and acknowledging that “No, she’s still not here,” and “Yes, I know I’m huge” just wore me out.
The pain of back labor took me by surprise. I sat up through the first twelve hours of unmedicated labor. I was determined to see how long I could go without an epidural. I was supported by family who took turns applying pressure to my back and he-he-hooing me through my breathing for HOURS.
Since this was my first labor, I took things in stride. I was present for the entire thing. I didn't look too far ahead. I just kept breathing and praying for more progress. The pain was searing and later became more than I could handle, but it also galvanized for me that I was strong and could endure a lot. That has been helpful to remember in the past eight years.
What stands out most to me is the determination of two particular friends to stay with me (and not always at my side - they spent hours on the floor of the waiting room reading and napping) until I brought Vivian safely into the world.
In order to keep both baby and me healthy, my doctor decided a c-section was the route to take after nearly 18 hours of labor and two hours of pushing. As they wheeled me out of my room and to the OR, my mom met me in the hallway. I was beyond exhausted and scared. I had never had surgery before.
My eyes started leaking and I said, "T and K have gone home, right?"
My mom smiled and shook her head. She said, "No, they're still here. They are waiting with us."
I cried more and whimpered, "I have the best friends."
Mom agreed, gave me a few words of encouragement, and then I was wheeled down the hall.
These women and others I love dearly have mentored me, loved me, laughed and cried with me through my mothering. I am a better mother because of their presence in my life. Today I celebrate the journey of motherhood. Tomorrow I will celebrate the young girl who made me a mother.
To be continued...