Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Shoddy Birth Story

In June of 2003 I wrote my first birth story. At the time I didn’t realize birth stories were a thing. I also didn’t realize that having written one for my first child, I’d be compelled to write one for my second, third and fourth children as well. What a pain in the ass.
My first child’s birth story was all but written by the time I left the hospital. I had it drafted in my head, focusing on every detail and committing them to memory. Her birth story is also ten pages long. I was nervous that I’d forget something about that day, and was also paranoid that I was going to drop dead from some mysterious post-partum ailment (besides sleep deprivation). My fear was that there would be no one to explain to her how magical that day had been. Yes, her Dad could try…but when I made him write his version of her birth story (cause I’m cruel like that), I realized he got it almost all wrong. Especially when it came to documenting how much it frigging h-u-r-t.
In August of 2005 I gave birth to my second child, and while I jumped on his birth story pretty quickly, it took me some time to get it together.  I was more sleep deprived than ever. His birth story is lengthy simply because I repeat myself over and over again. I think I wrote his story with my eyes half closed. To this day I do not remember most of his first few months home.
When my third arrived on a beautiful stormy day in July 2009, I was over birth story writing. Sadly I saw it as something I had to do; more of a chore than an opportunity to record (what I thought would be) my last baby’s grueling entrance into this maddening and glorious world. 
Plus, she was my favorite and I savored every single moment with her. I held her while she napped. I held her at night. I picked her up just to smell her. I picked her up just to run my cheek over her amazing head of hair. I held her all the time; my third baby…the peace keeper, my mood stabilizer, the bringer of pure joy. I had long since become the queen of multi-tasking, but I hadn’t quite mastered typing one handed, and her birth story took months to compile and complete.
Now it is seven-plus months since the birth of my fourth child. And I can come up with very little for his birth story, one tiny little stack of post-it notes on a shelf in my closet. But never fear, my dear baby. You are now my favorite, because there is no way a four year old, an eight year old, or a ten year old could ever endear themselves to me as much as you do, with all of your baby giggles, squish, folds, rolls and snuggles.
I loved you from the moment I knew you were. But you terrified the hell out of me. I was silly to be scared of you. Because…well…I have a four, eight and ten year old, and they are far more menacing. Right now they are yelling at each other. Arguing over you. So please know that even though your birth story in no way compares to theirs, it is not for lack of love. It is from lack of energy, time, and brain cells. I am done, sweetie. I love you, but my birth story writing days are over. I will do your birth the honor of this though, the best I can do right now:
I walked around for many weeks feeling like you were clawing your way out. Then you were due and you didn’t want to come out. I really, REALLY wanted you to come out. My doctor was a turd and refused to take you out. I waited three extra days, and finally it was time to encourage you to come out with Pitocin.
I was 3cm on Monday night, without a contraction in sight, and so relieved when I was admitted to the hospital. There was a playoff hockey game on. The doctor sat on my bed and watched the game with your Dad. I sat on the edge of the birth tub, looking out the window, too lazy to suggest we fill the tub with water and use it. So I walked. The Bruins won. I walked. Finally I asked for drugs. Finally they whipped out the water-breaking-crochet-hooky-type thing. 29 minutes later you were born and I barked “get the camera and take a damn picture” to your Dad. True love right there. No drugs; things moved so incredibly quickly that the anesthesiologist could do nothing but fidget in a corner.
You were out. Your Dad and I ate lots of take-out from downtown restaurants we haven’t frequented in years. We drank lots of coffee and sent lots of texts. And we savored every last second in that tiny hospital room. We took the long way home. We were wise to the chaos that awaited us at home.
We love you baby boy. You are amazing, and we couldn’t imagine life without you. Sorry about the sloppy story…I’ll make it up to you by loving you forever. And always. And forever more.

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