There was something wrong. Ten years ago this morning, my nine-month pregnant self and husband, Dave, were peacefully pacing our neighborhood, in spite of our fear.
My pregnancy had been uneventful if you don’t count, constant “morning” sickness for the first four months, weight gain so great you stop looking at the scale, and being crazy old according to clinical wisdom. But birthing has been eventful for me three out of four times, to include this birth.
When my water broke early that morning and contractions didn’t begin, from past experience I knew something was wrong. I called my midwife, Mary, who came to our home right away. She told us a litany of possible problems from benign to serious. Serious is frightening even when it hasn’t been realized. Together we drew up a plan and timeline for how long we would labor at home and at what point we would transfer to the hospital, if needed.
And so we paced.
Our three children slept, awoke, ate breakfast, did chores, brought me water, played, applied pressure to my back, and took turns pacing with me. When I retreated to my bedroom closer to the time of birth, I posted this construction paper wisdom on my door for my children. Be not afraid 🙂 .
Thirteen-year-old daughter, Devin, made what would be the most delicious chocolate cake of my life. I could smell the cake cooking and hear my children laughing as I stared down my fear. My husband’s strong arms gave me strength.
The rest is a blur, as it usually is, but what isn’t a blur is this. I held John Paul in my arms and all was well. The problem was his positioning, which needed time and care to finesse his entry. Time and care not impeded by fear.
John Paul’s entry into the world was extraordinarily ordinary. It was as if he had been with our family all along. Within minutes of his birth he was greeted by his siblings as if they were all old friends. My husband, for the fourth time in our marriage, beamed his happiest smile, one of fatherly pride and husband relief. As for me, shortly I would be sitting on my couch, nursing my sweet baby, watching Lord of the Rings, and eating chocolate cake in an extraordinarily happy state.
Fast forward to now. The “Be not afraid 🙂 ” reminder still hangs on my door. John Paul is still sleeping. I’m struggling to enjoy this fleeting and bittersweet moment. He’ll awake soon and the birthday festivities will begin.
Tonight, as every night, the last thing that John Paul will tell me is, “I love you more than the world.” Son, I love you more than the world, the moon, the stars, and the infinite love beyond. Thank you for your love, for forging my bravery, and for making the world a better place, Little Man.
What events have challenged you to stare down fear? What were you doing ten years ago? What are your favorite birthing or birthday memories?
Happy birthing anniversary to me ❤ ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc