When the nurses came in and started talking about pain management options for the second time I didn’t mention anything else about my natural birth plan. We briefly talked through options and when I found out an epidural might be another thirty minutes out, the despair set back in (it sounds dramatic, but pain like that is dramatic). But when Jeff showed up just minutes later, needle in hand, I could have kissed him (except that I couldn’t talk and could barely move).
Jeff needed me sitting still on the bed, and in true ex-dancer form, I managed to get into a wide straddle, still working through long and frequent contractions. I remember there were questions about where I was from that I couldn’t answer.
I didn’t think twice about the needle and I don’t remember any pain (I guess pain is relative). I do remember the hope and relief that set in long before the medication kicked in. The contractions still hurt, but there was an end in sight, a light at the end of the tunnel.
We were all giddy smiles and laughter for the next hour or so. I couldn’t stop grinning. I was having a baby. I could do this. I thought I wanted a natural birth because it would be empowering (and for the next one, I think I still do), but in that moment, being able to make a decision to take away such a huge amount of pain, I felt pretty empowered.
It is something miraculous to look into a tiny face and think that quite literally, your love made this. Ben and I made this little baby, this perfect little baby. Birth was hard (although it was actually much easier than I’d spent the past twenty years building it up to be), but loving this little life, that is easy.
A few more pictures – I’m grateful Ben snapped some right after baby was born even though at that point the last thing on my mind was a picture. The one’s with Lincoln dressed are from the day we left the hospital.
^It was so hard to listen to this baby cry those first few hours whenever they took him to the other side of the room to weigh him or wash him or change his diaper. Often, I cried right along with him.
^all of this hair and those perfect little ears
^a note on hospital food: other than the first night after giving birth (when everything sounded gross and it was hard to keep even liquids down), I swear it was the best food I’ve ever eaten.
^just to document where I lived for two days (oh so convenient to be able to push buttons and have your bed turn into a chair)
^right before we brought him home from the hospital
^a favorite of mine – the “Mom – be DONE taking pictures and pick me up!”