When I had Margaret I was fairly uneducated about the whole birthing process. I had heard there were women that had their babies at home while a shaman chanted and the husband, children, household pets, in-laws and gardener watched. All of it followed by a hearty meal of placenta and self-righteousness. I had also heard of women that scheduled c-sections around pedicures and work meetings. Hey Doc, could you hurry it up? I think I just broke a nail. In my infinite wisdom, (hear that sarcasm?) I decided both groups of women were overthinking the whole thing. Let's face it. Placenta tacos sound a bit exotic for me, my nails are always a mess, and I have never been able to stick to a schedule in my life. Women have been birthing babies since Eve went east of eden. Couldn't I just show up and push the thing out?
Which is exactly what I did. I went into labor while Riley was at school...in a basement...out of cell service. So, with my contractions 5 minutes apart, I drove myself to the hospital. Please picture how pathetic I must have looked crawling alone into hospital admitting. Now multiply that by ten. Yep. You got it. A worried Riley got to the delivery room as I was being given the epidural. Just an hour later I had a nearly nine pound baby. The birth had been quick, chaotic and damaging. My family came in and cried over the little girl's loveliness and I stared at the ceiling wanting to be anywhere but there. I kept staring at ceilings for another three months. I won't argue that the labor made my postpartum worse, but it was certainly a difficult beginning.The next time things would be different.
And they were.
I chose my doctors carefully. Told them what I wanted and needed. I took the hospital tour and packed my overnight bag three weeks before the baby was due. Preparation, hello, my name is Megan. Nice to meet you. On September 10th, I went to my nephew's first birthday party. The food was good, the company was nice and my back hurt. By eleven pm my back still hurt and I had had two, count them two, contractions. Not exactly the stuff rushing to the hospital is made of. My mom was positive I was in the throes of labor. I was positive she was in the throes of crazy. For not the first time, Riley took my mom's advice over mine. So we left Margaret at Gamy and Papa's and went to the hospital. This time I got to walk into admitting with my best friend.
The next bit was quick, painful and lovely. Dilated to a six. Broken water. Contractions. Waiting for the epidural. Contractions. Waiting for the epidural. Contractions. Where the $#%& is the epidural? Oh. There it is. Much. Better. We had been in the hospital for two hours and it was time. The doctor and nurses bustled around the room setting up. Riley held my hand and we laughed. Laughed because life is consistently scary and new and bright and hopeful and inconsi stent. Laughed because we are still just kids. Laughed because there was no turning back. And because we didn't want to. Laughed because everything is just so damn much better when he is holding my hand.
And then she was here. Didn't push once. Just laughed that little Viola Honey right out.
She was tiny and black haired and quiet. I held her and I knew that this is one thing women can't overthink. The women with the shaman and the women with the schedule had understood something that I had not. Perhaps they approach birth in an extreme way because it is an extreme thing. It is the future and the past. It is blood and spirit. For just a moment heaven meets earth and we get to be there. What a profound blessing.
By 6am Riley was asleep and Viola breathed steadily on my chest. I was tired and sore and just a little scared. And happy. I was happy.