I read a lot of blogs. A lot. I think it’s a great way to “hone my craft” (I’ve always wanted to say that now that I’m part of the “artistic community”) and get inspired.
And I’m a huge supporter of anyone who puts herself out there. As moms, sharing our stories is an important, dare I say an essential, part of building a world where all women can stand together, hand in hand and say there is more that unites us than divides us (or is that all those mid-term advertisements talking?)
For example, the other day, a really sweet young blogger popped up in my feed with a new post. It was a touching tribute detailing her birth story to honor her son’s first year of life. She talked about how her pregnancy was completely dictated by intuition and she did not even seek a doctor’s care. She experienced every symptom with joy and trust, knowing her body could handle the task. She had a home delivery using a birthing tub and a doula. Her piece was poetically written using all sorts of beautiful phrases like blissfully intense, birthing heaven and life-giving power surges. For this sweet, strong mom, she would not change a thing, as the process from beginning to end was “an amazing and peaceful journey that ended in the priceless gift of motherhood.”
By the time I got to the end of her piece, I was convinced her vagina was a magical portal. I imagined a place with rainbows and unicorns and babies popping out from ornate tunnels into fields of flowers.
It was almost exactly how my birth experience went.
I delivered twins ten years ago. Before you ask if they were natural, they weren’t. They were completely un-natural. In fact, my husband and I weren’t even in the same room when they were conceived. He “delivered the goods” early one snowy January morning before heading out of town for a meeting. I followed two hours later and had intercourse with a tube that shot my husband’s best swimmers up to my overly ripe, hormonally-charged eggs. Just to make sure the first group of swimmers weren’t slacking off, we sent a second batch up the next morning. It’s totally possible that I got pregnant with one daughter on a Tuesday and the second on Wednesday. This beautiful process is called intrauterine insemination.
Eleven days later, a blood test — which could barely be taken because my veins were collapsed from all the prior needles used to inject drugs and check hormone levels during the “fertility” process — did indeed show that I was with-child. I wanted to trust my body, but my doctor had trust-issues, so she suggested I stick progesterone suppositories up my hoo-hoo to make sure those kids weren’t going anywhere. My husband and I were blissfully happy for about nine days. That’s when the acute morning sickness kicked in.
By about week sixteen, I started feeling great, but I had to visit the doctor regularly because I started having edema in my feet. To quote my husband, Fred Flintstone had nothing on me. By week twenty-six, it was official. I had preeclampsia and pre-term contractions. My life-giving power surges were happening a little early.
Somehow by the grace of God, bed rest and the power of off-script pharmaceuticals, I made it to thirty-five weeks with my precious cargo. Because my kids have a sense of humor, one decided to lay breech and the other transverse, which basically means she was stretched out horizontally across my belly. My doctor lovingly said, “You never had a chance of a vaginal birth anyway.”
After a very intimate experience with an anesthesiologist who placed a six-inch needle between vertebrae in my spine, I was surrounded by 18 strangers I had never met before all ready to leap into action. It was a soothing environment. As my husband held my hand and stroked my hair, I laid on a cold metal table like Jesus on the cross, and I was resurrected as soon as I heard those two little cries.
They were little, but strong. I did it. That’s when I found my zen and calmly turned to my husband and anesthesiologist and said, “I think I am going to throw up now.”
And I did. No one was safe. I vomited on my husband, and then continued to heave for forty-five minutes while the doctor tried to sew me up as I swore to her that I did not eat anything after the ice cream sundae I devoured at 9:30 the previous night.
But it didn’t stop. I threw up on my mother in law in the recovery room, which was a beautiful bonding experience. Then it was the nice nurse’s turn who checked in on me before leaving her shift. Even my sister-in-law wasn’t spared during the epic puking phase. I was so sick that I don’t even remember the first time I actually held my kids, which I only did because my husband insisted. He wheeled my magic catheter bag and IV drip and drug-induced self all the way down to the NICU so I could hold those two beautiful miracles. Or so I am told.
About two days later, I started coming around. I took a shower, changed from a hospital gown into my pajamas and met my new best friend, my industrial sized breast pump, which got more action than my husband for the next six months.
This was my journey into the priceless gift of motherhood, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I told you our birth stories were almost the same.
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