Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ella's story. Part 1: BL (before labor)

Dear Ella Grace,

This is the story of your birth. The first part I wrote before you were due. I stopped abruptly probably because it was bedtime or I was getting emotional. I’m going to finish it now, with the whole thing.

It starts in October 2009, when we decided to make you... but really it started in 1986 when I first met your dad in 6th grade at the district spelling bee. His funny personality, intelligence and beautiful blue eyes captured my heart then just like now. All the girls swooned over your dad but I’ve no doubt I did the most. It took us until we were 35 years old to finally be together but how worth the wait it was...

Part 1:

You are due in two weeks and 4 days. That’s 18 days. Of course that doesn’t mean you’ll be born in 18 days. You could be born any time really. And that’s what we are waiting for...

While we are waiting i, your momma, am doing some important work dealing with my birth “tigers” as our wonderful midwife calls them. But first things first:

My own story of birth starts 16 years ago. Well it really starts when I was a little girl. Watching cats and dogs have babies and being fascinated by life. My favorite book was the Better Homes and Gardens Baby Book which I read cover to cover to cover to cover constantly, from the time I could first read until I had memorized it. I probed and asked people about having babies. Did it hurt? What was it like? My sweet old Granny, a 12+ pound baby born at home herself, would entertain my constant inquisition and answer usually “Does it hurt? Well honey, people DIE.” Ouch. Scary news to an excited 8 year old. But I wouldn’t be dissuaded. I played house and I was always having babies. Twins. One. Girls. Boys. You name it. I was hooked. So no surprise I wanted have a baby as soon as I got married. And that’s what I did. I read voraciously and educated myself in every way I could. I wanted it to be just right. I wrote a birth plan and drove my OB crazy with questions. When I was pregnant with your sister I knew really wanted to birth naturally. I truly did trust my body to do what it should. I didn’t want a medicated delivery of any kind. I wanted a pulsing cord. No episiotomy. Nothing. Lave it alone was my mantra. I wanted to keep my babies with me after they were born. I wanted to nurse right away. I was into attachment parenting before it had a name. However, I also wanted healthy babies and sometimes it seemed like the professionals felt that the best way to get that result was to take matters in to their own hands.

I knew then, and I know now, that wasn’t necessary.

Fast forward to 2009. You father and I fell in love. When we decided to make you we talked and thought about it. We were still just new in our relationship and weren’t sure if having a baby was the right or best thing. We knew we wanted you but weren’t sure when would be the “right” time. The clock was was ticking though I was getting older and being older means certain risks and often more difficulty in conceiving. Statistics said we could expect to take 7 months to conceive. So once we decided that we’d make a baby, we got started. I stopped taking my birth control pill and started counting days.

I hoped we’d get pregnant right away. The first month I felt kind of suspicious and symptomatic and i took a test. It was negative and the next day I started my heavy and painful period. I wondered if itwas an early miscarriage. I suspect it was.

The next month was December. I used an ovulation predictor to make sure I was ovulating. Honesty I wasn’t sure. I’d had a lot of irregular bleeding and of course again with the being older thing. But the test said I was and we were trying diligently to have you. Your dad proposed to me on December 14. We made love that night and made you. As Christmas approached I wasn’t feeling particularly pregnant but I wasn’t feeling normally premenstrual either. I took a test on Christmas morning hoping it would be positive so I could surprise your dad even though my period wasn’t during for several days still. But the test was negative and I put the book on becoming a father that I’d bought him away. After we finished with gifts and your brother’s and sister went to their dad’s house, your dad and I left for San Diego. We spent that day driving and then the evening with the Edelman’s. I was cautious and let your dad finish my wine, hoping no one noticed. The next morning we got up early and got ready to go have breakfast. Once your dad was occupied I quickly took the test. Then I stashed it under my bag. In the event it was negative I didn’t want us to start the day that way. A couple of minutes passed and I peeked at it and saw the very faint line. I told your dad I had taken a test the day before hoping to surprise him but that it was negative, he looked sad. I quickly followed that with “but the one today wasn’t” and he looked at me, shocked. Then happy. And tearful. We hugged and kissed and looked at each other in disbelief. I don't think either of expected it would happen so quickly. He took a video of our hotel room saying he wanted to remember that moment forever. We rode down in the elevator quietly, both taking in the news. We spent the rest of the trip giddy with our secret and stole moments away to talk about you.

To talk about the pregnancy really would require whole other entry so I won’t try to do that now. But I’ll say this... It was a time of love, planning and hope for your dad and I. We enjoyed talking about your birth and our future with you and your brother's and sister. We picked our midwife carefully. We felt you kick and photographed my growing belly. We laughed and we cried. We bought a house and painted your room. We planned our wedding. We got married. We talked about our hopes for you and decided how we wanted to welcome you into the world, at home...


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