Reflections on Motherhood and Life as a Doula

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Birth Day Reminder

Today at 8:38am my son turned 3 years old.  We celebrated his birthday on Sunday with a small family and neighbor party, and we celebrated all day yesterday with just our family of four.  Mike couldn't get off work today, so we told Stephen that yesterday was his birthday. (Is that bad??)

Our party wasn't to start until 2pm on Sunday, so we had high hopes that we'd be able to finish cleaning up the yard and house before everyone arrived.  At one point Mike called me outside to observe our new honey bees.  As we watched for about 15 minutes, the bees went from a few hundred flying around the hive, to 20,000 (not an exaggeration) in a black, buzzing tornado.  They swarmed their way across our property and into our back field where they formed a tight ball at the bottom of a 4ft sappling - thank God they didn't settle at the top of a 40ft Oak tree.  What an amazing sight to see!  We immediately called my dad (who drove over in record time) and he helped Mike to cut off the branch holding the bees and put them back into the hive box.  During this whole ordeal I began to get extremely stressed, realizing that it was near impossible to make the house presentable before the guests arrived.  Luckily my mom tagged along with my dad and took the kids outside so that I could finish cleaning and get a quick shower in.

Our neighbor showed up with her 3 year old son - who Stephen claims is his best friend - and they took off playing.  One of our other neighbors showed up along with his ex-wife and 11 year old son.  His ex, Brandy, brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers in congratulations for giving birth to Stephen --- It was at this moment that I forgot about all of the party nonsense and began to remember/reminisce/reprocess the birth of my son.

The rest of my family showed up (Mike's family couldn't make it for various reasons) and the adults sat back with cocktails and good coversation while the kids ran out all of their built up energy.

As usual, we said NO GIFTS.  And as usual, no one Stephen opened them.  Lots of bubbles, trucks & tractors, and Lincoln Logs from the neighbors. 

A Sandbox from my sister's family.  A bunch of sandbox toys from my brother's family.

A fishing pole and tackle box from my parents.

And a real bike with training wheels from us - I can't believe I didn't catch the look on his face with the camera when Mike brought the bike out.

Mike lit up the grill, and dinner was phenomenal!  I pulled out my Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes for the Happy Birthday Song, and they were a hit (a post coming soon about these fantastic cupcakes).  As Stephen blew out his last candle, I looked at the clock.  It was at exactly this moment 3 years ago that my water had broken.  Emotions rushed through me.  I was quietly reliving what I look back on as a nightmare and a blessing.

Everyone began to make their way home, the kids were finally asleep, and I laid myself down to bed.

I tossed and turned and cried all night as I remembered tossing and turning that same night 3 years prior.
"Where are my contractions?"  "Why isn't labor beginning?"  "I don't want to be induced tomorrow!"  I was filled with anger at myself for being stupid enough to believe that I HAD to go into the hospital in the morning and that I HAD to be induced.  Everything I researched and learned about childbirth, and I had no idea how much safer my baby and I would have been if we would have just stayed home until active labor began - or just stayed home...period.

I awoke yesterday morning feeling like a train had hit me.  Mike cleaned up from the party and ventured out to the BMV to take care of his car.  I packed up the kids and we took a long country drive out to pick up a client's placenta.  I was imagining the 30+ minute drive to the hospital. Mike had stopped for breakfast, but I was so nervous and sick to my stomach, I didn't order anything.  I kicked myself in the butt.  Maybe if I would have eaten, I would have had the strength to push through without the epidural and I would have been able to move around to get Stephen into the anterior position to push him out.  Or maybe my body just needed those nutrients to get contractions going on their own.

Stephen's "fake" birthday went on and I thought about the anticipation, the fear, and the pain.  Strapped to those damn monitors with the evil pitocin drip.
Stephen was overtired and grumpy.  We all were.  I couldn't focus on anything but his birth.
I escaped my memories just in time to get in some good playing before bed.  But alas - my bed was waiting for me...and so were my thoughts.
Again I tossed and turned.  I watched myself in that hospital bed like an out of body experience.  I fought all night.  And then I saw myself give up.  I gave up.  How could I do that to my baby?  2am.  Epidural.
My birth story is already written down.  I don't need to recant it.

This morning at 8:38am, I hugged my son.  I kissed him.  I told him how much I loved him and how sorry I was - because 3 years ago I couldn't.  And I would take it back in a heartbeat.

Happy Birthday, Stephen.  I hope one day I can make it up to you for how I brought you into this world.  I love you more than I could ever describe.  And I truly am sorry.

1 comment:

  1. Don't beat yourself up too much! Feel your feelings, but remember -- when you know better you do better. You wouldn't be who you are today without this experience. Happy Birthday, mama!