The New Birth Story (Part 1)

**I wrote this post, as you’ll quickly see, before my son was born. I wanted to capture how I was feeling at that moment, but didn’t want to publish it until the story had an ending. So without further ado…**

I am more of a doer than a planner. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very important to me to know what it is I should be doing, and I often put a great deal of thought and research into the hows and whys of my actions. But when it comes down to it, I get stressed out by planning that isn’t followed up pretty much immediately by doing. Once I figure out what the right course of action is, I really want to just get to it. It’s caused me (and by extension the people around me) stress in various church and other settings over the years.

My friend JJ. pointed out to me once that I work the best with a plan. I need to know what my ‘job’ is and then I am okay emotionally, whether or not it’s really hard.

But childbirth isn’t a ‘plan and do’ kind of event. At least, not unless you’re one of those hollywood moms who schedules a c-section or induction so they can go on vacation. But that’s not really my style.

This labor and this boy have been very good for me so far. I have almost gone to the hospital once, and have called the midwife a couple of times saying ‘I don’t think the baby’s coming right this second, but I’m having contractions fairly regularly and just thought you should know.’ I’ve been having contractions approximately every 10 minutes for over a week now. Does that sound exhausting? It is.

But it also allows me to enter into the experience in a way that feels really important and good. I need to feel like I am doing the best that I can from moment to moment to keep myself from thinking unhelpful thoughts. After we’d made our decision about where to birth (and with whom) and signed the forms stating our wishes about circumcision, IV fluids and a host of other medical interventions, there wasn’t enough to keep my brain busy. So my thoughts wander and end up in a terrible neighborhood, where I keep imagining worst case scenarios (it gets much worse than what happened to me…I know. I’ve watched that horror movie in my head a few times this pregnancy). People have asked me a few times if it is frustrating to have contractions that don’t do anything (another wise friend helpfully pointed out that this isn’t strictly true…while they aren’t labor contractions by hospital textbook standards, even if I’m not dilating centimeters at a time, each one strengthens and tones the uterus and prepares me and the baby for what’s to come).

Either way, through all these contractions I have learned that I do in fact have something to do. It is my job to be calm and present in this moment, and to love this baby. I have decided to trust my body and trust that God is ‘next to me’ (as E. is fond of saying) to take care of me. So each time I have a contraction it feels like a new chance to temper the resolve of my decision. Am I really going to trust? It seems like it’s happening in slow motion, which gives me a great chance to truly think through how I am processing it, and for that I am really grateful.

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