Yesterday I hit a new low. I was driving alone, coming home from Walmart. I reached for my cell phone to call Jennifer, my midwife. Ring, ring, ring. No answer. I hung up and began to cry. Seconds later the phone rang and it was her. I tried to say hello in a chipper tone, through the tears. Why do I do that? Jennifer's calm voice asked if I'd like to come see her. It was the question I wanted to hear.
Three hours later I was in her home office; a bedroom/bathroom on the first floor of her 100 year old home in Fayetteville. The bedroom windows were up, and the simple sheet curtians billowed every few seconds. I sat in an oversized rocker and attempted to smile. I began talking. The conversation lasted a hour and a half even though she had a pregnant patient waiting in the living room for the last thirty minutes. I asked a lot of questions about my birth.
Are all births as intense and painful as mine?
What was I like in the midst of it?
How do women decide to have another unmedicated birth after such a traumatizing experience? (She has done it three times.)
She mainly listened to me, cried a little herself, told me her own stories, and gave me hope. I am still not ready to blog the whole birth story, but I can say that I feel I was tricked. I read many natural birth stories that gave me the impression that if I did the right exercises, ate the right foods, prepared with Chad, breathed enough, and had positive thoughts, my labor would be easy. This was not the case. It was hard. It hurt a lot. I thought my legs were going to twist off during the second stage contractions. I was NOT able to relax like I thought I "should" be. The first tme I held Melody I felt no joy or miracle. I only felt intense relief. The biggest relief I've ever known. It was over. That is all I cared about. These feelings blind-sided me. What happened to the "beautiful experience" I had heard and read so much about? Where were the wonderful feelings? In the following week I'd look at Melody's head and cry at the memory of pushing her out. People would say, "She is so little!" and I would think, "You are crazy. She is HUGE."
Yesterday Jennifer helped me understand that my experience and feelings are common and normal. She said only 3 births out of the 170 she has delivered have been "easy" for the mother. Hearing these things makes me feel like the books I read and the lessons I was taught were largely propaganda. How dare they tell me it was going to be easy!!
Another thing we talked about was my weight and my body. I have been tall and thin my whole life. I gained 55 pounds during the pregnancy and am still 25 pounds above the pre-pregnancy weight. I've only lost 10 pounds in the past 10 weeks! Jennifer didn't give me answers about the weight-loss. She did something better. She told me I was beautiful right now. I drove to her house thinking 2005 was going to be my "fat year." I left her house feeling GOOD about the way I looked!! The belly pooch, the round butt, the gimormous boobs.... it didn't bother me anymore. Instead I held my head high and told myself, "You just had a baby and you are a beautiful mommy."
I feel lighter today than I have in two weeks.