I think it was around December when I really started turning my mind toward the task that lay before me.
I didn't know anything about giving birth other than the obvious and I knew what the words epidural and induction meant and I had so often heard the word pain associated with contraction that in my mind any woman with the cajones to go through labor unaided by modern medicine was akin to Wonder Woman and need not be messed with in this life.
So, when I picked up this book on the shelves at my local B&N (totally on a whim mind you) I was not prepared to have my mindset about labor and delivery take a 180 degree turn four months before I was due, but it did, and I am so glad that it did.
First off, I hated my experience with my OB/GYN. For baby #2 I will be hunting down a midwife. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 doctors in the OB/GYN practice that I used and you are "rotated" through all of them so that whoever happens to be on call the day that you deliver is the doctor that you end up with. I saw only one doctor more than once and I NEVER saw the doctor who delivered my baby until about three hours before the pushing began. I felt like a number on a chart and each visit was like checking in to a factory to insure that the machine was up and running.
That said, by around February I knew I wanted a midwife, but I'd already swum halfway across the pool with the OB/GYN and decided to tough it out till the end.
Back to the book...
I think the things that became so important to me as I read were the author's deep explanations of the process of labor, what is actually taking place inside a woman's body, why you are feeling what you feel and the power that a woman's body has to deliver a child into this world when it is allowed to do what it was created to do naturally.
She took the fear out of childbirth for me.
I'll admit the closer I got to my due date the more I was scared of the journey that I'd have to go through to give birth to this little baby.
Understanding the process and reading the first-hand experiences of other women helped tremendously and really knowing that there was no reason to be fearful kept me focused on the goal.
The other huge help was page after page of explaining how medical intervention interferes with this process. Now, having said that, I understand that there truly are instances where medical intervention is absolutely necessary and has indeed saved the lives of precious babies and mamas that would otherwise not have been saved.
But I made a choice in December to do this the old way, to trust that what was happening to my body was not only desirable, but necessary, that it served a higher purpose and that the pain associated with each squeeze did not require the fight or flight response, but instead deep, focused breathing.
So, on the morning of Good Friday, sometime in the middle of my fifth trip to the bathroom, I was absolutely shocked when my water broke sometime around 7:30 am.
The thought ran through my mind, "I'm having a baby today."
I had packed my bag the day before, so me and hubby made our way to the hospital, my mom in tow laughing at the first baby in our family to ever arrive early.
"It's not Monday, baby girl, it's not Monday!"
I found myself bearing each contraction with my forehead leaning against one of my teammates (sister, husband, mother...whoever happened to be standing within arm's reach), a deep breath in through the nose and a low hum as I let it out. (Yes, this is a team sport.)
There were only two contractions that I thought my body would not be able to handle and those because of the uncontrollable nausea that swept over me. I could hear my sister's voice encouraging me to hold on, ever watching the monitor as the contractions peaked and slowly tapered off.
My mind was so engaged in the process and I found myself standing as each contraction rushed over me, swaying gently from side to side and trying to visualize the baby's head moving down and closer to being out.
I remembered the words I had read about working with the contraction, using the power and force to speed up the labor and I did just that, walking the halls, pacing the room, floating in a tub, and finally sitting on a medicine ball.
At 7:49 pm, roughly 12 hours to the minute from when my water broke, baby Rosa made her entrance into the world, all pink and angry. She grabbed the scissors the doc was using to cut her umbilical cord and he had to pry them from tiny fingers.
I've never done anything so absolutely draining and so absolutely rewarding all at the same time.
Suddenly the sharp jabs I'd been feeling in my ribs for two months became feet and the weight I'd carried in my belly was now lying on my chest.
I burst a ton of capillaries in my face pushing (note to self, next time don't push through face!) and looked like some kind of measles victim for a few days after.
But, oh, was it worth it.
I've been a Mama now for 11 days and that work has been almost as hard as the labor, but each day that passes becomes more rewarding.
I think of the relationship I have with my mama and I'm looking forward to the rest of my life with this little one.
Welcome to the world, baby girl.