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Hello from the other end of the rainbow!
Because I'm so long-winded, and because I know that if I were a reader, I'd want every single detail, I'm going to split this into two entries: one to post on Monday, and one on Thursday. (Have I cleared this with my beloved editor? No! So here's hoping it works for her.)
Hello again! The continuation of Lena's birth story...
On the way to the hospital, my contractions got more intense. We stopped at a cafe on the way there for my "farmer's breakfast" on the orders of Michelle (my doula), and I had to stop and lean against the wall next to the organic juice. I wanted to believe this was all a great sign of progress! Dilation! Closer to the baby actually being born! But I was so boy-who-cried-wolf at that point that I didn't trust it.
On October 15 at 2:49 a.m., two days past my due date, my son, David Nelson, arrived weighing exactly 8 lbs. We're now at home resting comfortably as we get to know each other. I can't wait to write David's birth story and share it with you all, so tune in next week. For now, Nelson, the girls and I are adjusting to our new life as a family of five. We're so thrilled to have David with us. The joy I feel as his mother is overwhelming.—Shelley
Check in next week to hear more about Shelley's birth story and her precious new baby boy.
I had forgotten what it feels like when the nurse places the baby in your arms for the first time. I had forgotten that even though it's the first time you are meeting him, it also feels as though you've known him forever. I had forgotten that any doubt you ever had about loving your baby will be swept away with your baby's first gulp of air.
Though I've moved on, into a world of proud, incredulous, overwhelmed parenthood, I have to start here by saying that the birth was not in line with what I wanted, and no matter how many people point out the result—a wonderful, healthy baby—I still think that the reality of this life-altering experience should be honored, not tucked away.
I worked the loveliest labor recently. Marisol and Carlos* arrived on our unit early in my 7AM to 7PM shift, the first patients of my day. I'd woken up that morning hoping for a sweet couple with one of my favorite midwives and to steer clear of the operating room. One never knows what's going to happen on any shift. I could be assigned to anyone: the 7:30 scheduled c-section, an induction, three postpartum mother-baby couplets, the 10AM D&C for miscarriage, outpatients, or any one of a number of labor scenarios.
"I was happy to be in my own bed. But let's face it: Birth without drugs sucks." —Mardi Douglass, Seattle
Delivering a baby seems so easy on TV sitcoms: A woman announces she's in labor, rushes to the hospital (joking all the way), and pops out a perfect baby. In real life, however, deliveries don't follow a script. Giving birth can be anything from a practically spontaneous event to a medical emergency.