We're turning the usual birth summary on its head. Instead of looking at the events that occurred and the sort of birth a woman experiences, we're paying closer attention to the more essential aspects. What did she learn about herself? What did she learn about her partner? What was she surprised by? How will she take these new lessons into her parenthood?
Should be delicious. Enjoy!
Please tell a little about yourself:
Summer is a Texan by birth and a Chicagoan by choice. She became a mom on Christmas Eve when Santa wasn’t the only one sliding down the chimney. Along with her husband and their two cats, she is still trying to figure out this whole parenthood thing. Her current diet consists primarily of quesadillas and earl gray tea.
When you were pregnant, what is something you wondered about birth? This can be something about yourself or about how it would go.
I wondered if I would be able to cope with my birth. I’ve always been a planner. I like to have as much information as possible when going into a situation, and with birth, I knew the only thing I could expect was the unexpected. I did wonder if I would be able to handle the pain, but more importantly I wondered if I’d be able to roll with the punches when faced with a labor that wasn’t going my way.
Thinking back through the story of your birth, how did you KNOW it was truly happening? What confirmation or event occurred that helped you be certain?
I didn’t have ANY Braxton Hicks contractions throughout my pregnancy, so when I was three days past my due date and the contractions started in the middle of the night – I knew I was having a baby that day. However, it took the baby a bit longer to figure that out. After four hours in triage, I was fully effaced but still only dilated to 2cms and thought they were going to send me home. However, due to a minor complication, the doctor didn’t want me off the monitors. I guess it really sunk when the triage nurse told me that due to them wanting to keep me monitored and break my water, I’d be having a baby that day.
If you had them, can you describe what a contraction feels like?
At first, they felt like strong cramps. By the end, they felt like my guts were being sucked into a mini black hole deep inside me. But like I was told, I don’t remember the pain anymore. Actually even between contractions I found myself drenched in sweat on my knees draped over the hospital bed thinking to myself how I’d already forgotten the intense pain of that last contraction. (However, while I couldn’t remember the pain, my brain did remember that IT SUCKED and I knew I’d have to do it again soon.)
What is one way that you coped with labor? (this can be physical comfort, emotional comfort, mental, etc)
Being loud and not giving a fuck about it. (Can I say fuck?) Once I was in the hospital and the contractions really started to get going, the only thing that got me through them was moaning it out. I started off with nice little yoga om-ing, but soon it was full on guttural cries. And guess what? No one told me that I was being too loud. In fact, my doula and the nurses would encourage me to be louder when my moans decreased as my focus started to shift to the pain. Their encouragement that I was doing a good job helped to push me through.
What were you surprised by?
Even though labor and delivery did not go as flawless as I’d hoped, everything worked out the way it needed to for me to have the best possible experience. Looking back after the birth, it was the complications and road bumps that made my labor experience exactly what it needed to be. It was not the perfect labor I'd envisioned going in, but I see myself as very lucky, because all the things I thought were negatives at the time, in retrospect set me up for exactly the labor I needed to have.
In those first few weeks/months, what are two ways you were a GOOD mother? How did you know?
I've mastered tackling so many basic tasks with one hand and/or with a baby strapped on me! (I went to the bathroom the other day while holding the baby, and I feel like I should have a plaque to commemorate the moment.) Seriously, so much emphasis is put into baby milestones, all their firsts, but there really should be more praise for parenting milestones. The first time I went out alone with the baby felt like the greatest thing I'd ever accomplished.