I am going to birth my blog by writing about the thing that made me a mommy: the birth of my children. Since I have seven of them, that is a long, long story, so I am going to hit the highlights only for the sanity of anyone who really wants to hang till the end.
Having your first baby when you are nineteen and your last at forty three is sort of a weird experience. Really. A lot changes in that span of time. But a lot stays the same, too. What I went through with each of my labors has really shaped me as a woman as well as marked something about where I was emotionally and spiritually at the time.
As I said, I was nineteen and having my first baby. I wanted to have it naturally, and wanted to breastfeed. There was not a load of information available twenty five years ago, nor was it the "in" thing to do at the time where I lived. But I felt determined and stubborn. I went into labor about midnight ten days early with my first baby, and had my little girl four and a half hours later. It was fast and hard and crazy. Nothing I read or studied or learned in Lamaze classes prepared me for the force and strength or the pain of labor. I didn't imagine it correctly beforehand. I didn't think it would BE what is was. And after it was over I didn't know how I could ever do it again. I ended up with an enema, a shave, an IV, delivering flat on my back with my feet in stirrups and received an episiotomy that turned into a third degree tear for a 6 lb 13 oz baby, even though I had not expressly not wanted or needed it AT ALL. I held my baby briefly (about a minute) after she was wrapped up in sterile blankets and I received my extensive stitches, and I didn’t see her again for four hours. They catheterized me in recovery because I couldn’t pee on demand. About 24 hours later, I delivered a large lobe of the placenta, but the OB told me not to worry about it, it was nothing, it was normal. Right. However, I remember looking at my little baby girl later that day, and just being amazed that there had been a BABY inside of me all that time. She was named Anna, which means full of grace. Thankfully, I was able to successfully nurse her, despite all the very wrong information and real discouragement I received from almost everybody, including the nurses at the hospital. There was one woman in my church who was radical for her time and nursed all of her babies past six months. I am so grateful to her for telling me it was okay to nurse whenever the baby wanted. A side note: my episiotomy took almost a year to heal completely. The experience I had in the hospital really gave me the impression that childbirth was all about panic, pain, doctors and nurses being in charge of everything no matter how the mom felt/communicated about it, and again I will mention PAIN. But healing came, as you will see in the next parts of the story.