I cannot even believe it...my sweet Genevieve Mae is almost 1 year old! Where does the time go? I know, I know...it's such a cliche to say. But truly days are long (sometimes), but years go fast!
And I think everyday about the wonderful and restoring experience I had from giving birth. And I wish every woman could know what a good birth experience could feel like. And a year later, I don't think about the long (it felt so long at the time!) early labor or the tough transition, or me repeating to my midwife and doula, "No, REALLY, I need to poop!" (Really, I needed to push a baby out!)
Instead, my mind goes to the moment, that very moment, when I looked down to discover my sweet baby I had just given birth to. The moment when she was covered up and all we knew was that she was a baby. And the moment my mom knocked on the door to ask to come in. And the moment I got to look down and see it was a girl! A year later, I remember exactly how I felt the moment Genevieve was born. I looked around at everyone hoping to see the miracle I felt reflecting on their faces. Of course, they (excluding Jason) experience this all the time. For me, though, it was still new. My heart was exploding with wonder, excitement, accomplishment, joy, praise...just all things good! Words simply do no justice to describe the feeling.
After the "process" of delivery was done, I got in bed with Genevieve for the first time. My doula encouraged me to let her initiate breast-feeding and it was amazing how she knew what to do, where to go, just knew it all. (I had seen videos of newborn babies actually moving their whole bodies to get to their mother's breast. Truly incredible!) Since Geni was born at 10:45PM, Bella was already asleep. Jason and I decided to wake her up and let her see what had been going on. She was a little out of it when she came in, but she was curious and excited at the same time. I felt like the luckiest woman alive to have my 2 girls with me.
Later on, I was in bed with Geni (Jason was in the other room with Bella) and my mom was in the bed next to me holding Geni. I think it was 1AM and I was wide awake...and this was after 2 days of early labor, 2 not so restful nights of sleep, and one full day of active labor. The best way to describe how I was feeling was the highest peak of joy I had ever experienced. I remember just looking at Geni in my mom's arms and thinking this is the most amazing miracle I have ever seen. I could not take my eyes off of her. It is absolutely amazing to me how the Lord created our (sometimes annoying) hormonal bodies to send an inrush of hormones into our bodies at the exact right time to
1. Get us through labor and
2. To feel the greatest joy ever and
3. To bond with this precious little soul whom we just met.
And now a year later, I've thought about the process of birth A LOT. Birth in a hospital, unnatural birth, and birth at home. I truly think a good labor and delivery can change a woman's life. It has mine. It unnerves me that many women trust their providers to make decisions about their bodies, their babies, and this most amazing journey of birth. I encourage women to inform themselves about all aspects of pregnancy and labor and delivery and baby care. Jason told me recently that a friend had mentioned how shocked they were just a few hours after delivery a nurse came in their room to give their brand new baby the Hepatitis B vaccine. And because they knew nothing about it, they presumed they would follow the doctors' advice and give their baby the shot. They were in no state to consider this decision and evaluate the waivers, etc. Little do they know that babies can die from this vaccine. What a scary gamble at such a critical time!
So, sure, epidurals are nice at the moment, but remember, it's a moment. Birth was created to be natural...sure it is painful, but what you remember is not the pain, but the joy and accomplishment!
(Please don't think that Bella's birth was not as memorable or as special...just a different experience. I truly think this is how birth should be, and it enrages me that sometimes the medical profession can rob women of the true miracle of labor and delivery.)