I’ve never felt closer to death, yet never more fully alive than during the labor and delivery of my son. It’s this crazy mystery that’s impossible for me to wrap my ahead around, and I believe I never will. The pain – oh the pain! – is like nothing I’d ever felt before, but the joy of meeting my child for the first time was like nothing I’d ever felt before either.
Almost two years later, I had those same feelings the second time around. We were exiting the freeway after a short, but painful drive, when my husband decided to give me a bit of advice.
“I think you should tell the doctor you can talk through your contractions.”
Oh how I love my husband, but that was the wrong thing to say to a wife in labor.
“I think we can be a bit more honest at this point!” I replied. It was 1:30 p.m., but we had been in contact with my doctor since about 8:30 a.m., letting him know how my labor was progressing. However, we had been downplaying the situation, determined not to go to the hospital too soon.
“You’re seven centimeters with a bulging bag of waters,” he said. “You should probably go to the hospital!” It was “go time.”
We arrived at the hospital and made our way to the third floor. The receptionist started freaking out when I told her how far along I was.
“I’m going to get you a room right now!” she said. “You can’t have your baby right here! I’m not trained for that!”
Once in the room, all I wanted to do was get into the jacuzzi tub to help me relax during the contractions. The water felt so good, but after half an hour my husband, Adam, encouraged me to get out.
“Just 10 more minutes, please,” I pleaded with him.
He reminded me that with my first birth I spent a bit too much time in the water, which ultimately slowed things down, and that I could get back in later. That never happened. Once I was out, it only took one more contraction for my water to break.
For the next hour and a half Adam helped me labor with encouragement, wisdom and physical help, making sure I drank enough fluids between every contraction. One of my favorite parts of birth is being on a “team” with my husband and how the end result is a deeper bond between us. I couldn’t have done it without him.
Finally, my doctor walked in and I thought it was time that I get checked. I was right, it was time to push.
Fifteen minutes later at 5:30 p.m. on November 18, 2013, my daughter Cecilia was born. She was 9 lbs., 12 oz., and 21 inches long with a full head of dark hair. Perfect in every way.
Both times I’ve given birth it’s changed me – changed how I view the world, changed how I view myself and changed how I view my husband. The world is new again, I realize just how strong I really am and I fall in love with my husband all over again as I watch him fall in love with our child. This time it also amazing to watch our son fall in love with his new little sister.
In no way would I say that I’d like to give birth every day of the year (I’m not that crazy!), but when it does happen, I would say that I definitely look forward to it. There’s nothing on earth that can quite compare. It truly is a labor of love.