Some things I know I can do: I can pitch a softball game with a broken arm. I can ace calculus without ever taking my book home. I can move to a big city where I know no one and own nothing. I can organize events (trips to foreign countries even) for hundreds of people, on a shoestring budget, with no experience. I can march in the heat and take a stand for what’s right, even when no one is listening. I can bounce back from failed efforts. I can run a half marathon up a mountain and through a dessert. I can turn nothing into something. I can stand up to tremendous pressure. And as my dad reminds me, when the bases are loaded and there are no outs…I never, ever walk in a run.
When friends asked me about my birth plan, I’d tell them I wished for a natural birth. “Because I think I can do it,” I would say, and they’d smile and say, “You probably can.” Even after 42 weeks of pregnancy, when I was scheduled to be induced into labor, a midwife in my OB practice reassured me, “This does not mean you have to give up on your plan for a natural birth.”
Several hours into labor, I found myself attached to an antibiotic drip, pitocin, and fetal heart monitors. I was flanked by Jim and my best friend Emily, but floating in a sea of wires and beeping sounds. The nurses changed shifts, again, and I greeted Melissa, part 3 with a loud, disturbing groan. (Would you believe that all my labor nurses were named Melissa?) My contractions were not getting longer and stronger. They were intense and splitting but totally unproductive. I was told I was experiencing back labor.
Jim and Em rubbed my back and encouraged me and kept me balanced on my birthing ball. Even still, labor was not progressing. During contractions I would totally zone out. Nothing existed but me and this pain. Hours passed with no progress and, confused, I wondered what to do next. I looked up at Jim who I had been leaning on – I couldn’t stand on my own – and I looked over at Emily, and they both gave me a look that told me they were there for me unconditionally. Between those glances and with their support, I felt sure. Then I did something I have never done before: I surrendered to the notion that “I can’t.” “I’m going to get an epidural.” I told them. “This is not natural. I have nothing to prove. I just want to have this baby.”
They nodded and asked for the nurse. An anesthesiologist soon followed and in my regular controlling way I told her “not to f— it up.” Many hours later, after sleep and some laughs with one of the Melissas, it was time to push and then suddenly…after all that…there was my baby. There was my girl. And as I held her I realized that nothing else mattered in the world.
I birthed a baby that day and I birthed a new self – a woman who can lean on her loved ones, trust her instincts, acknowledge her limits, and ask for help. I became a mom.
Happy Mother’s Day! Today I’m more grateful than ever for my beautiful mom and for the indescribable gift of motherhood.
Can get Rachel to ride the swings (when I can’t).
Is more stubborn and strong-willed and intelligent than I am.
Yet is different from me in so many ways.
Loves maps as much as he hates traffic,
Says, “It’s 8 minutes away- I’ll get us there in 5.”
Takes an undiscovered route each time.
Is wrapped around his little girl’s finger.
And the other way around (see above).
Will mock anything remotely sentimental.
But says the sweetest things when least expected.
Works much, much harder than he lets on.
Does not have a “game face” but delivers in the clutch.
Wins Man of the Year every year in my book.
Is adaptable and adventurous and so many things I wish to be.
I’m so lucky you’ve chosen to bring me along on this ride.
xx00 (and prepared to be mocked),
your better half
As much as I believe in change, I hate making transitions. I’ve said it before, but it’s a true story. Confession: When I know I’m getting near the end of a notebook, I’ll subconsciously stop writing in it, just to delay that moment when I’ve filled the last page and have to figure out what to do next. And it’s just a notebook, people. I know. I know.
But even if I have a new notebook waiting, a plan (!) I still delay the inevitable, because it can’t be as easy as closing one notebook and opening another…can it!?
Jim just got a new job. A permanent job. Which is awesome, because it’s permanent And all of my stress over our changing childcare plan and all the other logistical details (come to think of it, there aren’t that many), have probably made it seem as though I’m not extremely proud of him. I am. I just had to buck up and sort some things out, and you know, crack open another notebook.
Rachel will start daycare soon and this time, I’m not so stressed out about it. Actually, I’m excited for her to make some friends that aren’t just my friends’ kids. And finding a daycare spot wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, it was just as easy as asking for a favor (which I might hate doing just a little bit more than making transitions. I’m never one to leave things to chance.) But you know what? When you’re sort of in a pinch and you really need a favor, then hey- the first thing you should do is ASK FOR IT. It may just work out for you. (This was my positive self-talk before asking for the favor…it worked!)
Happy Friday. I hope you have exciting things planned this weekend!
I figure I might live until I’m 90, right? So I’ve just made it through my first third of life. Some things I learned in that short time: I can throw a ball really fast, I can dream really big, I can read a lot of books, I can help people sort through pain, and luckily, I can love. I have been so lucky to travel all over the country and a few parts of this world, but I haven’t focused enough on what keeps me grounded. Some things I was good at during that first third may not matter anymore. And in the next phase, I hope to learn so much more.
I had such a phenomenal birthday weekend, (and thanks to my sister I’ll be eating cake for days!)
It’s amazing. My sister is coming to visit this weekend and my to-do list looks like this:
- Buy or rent The Wizard of Oz.
- Watch it at least once a day.
- Find/buy something cute to wear to the theater on Sunday when we go to see The Wizard of Oz on stage.
My list should include “scrub the tub” and “disinfect the kitchen,” but you know…those things can wait.
Hello my little silly pie. In the last month, Rachel, you have become so chatty. You retain every episode of every day, it seems, and of course you love to retell each one. Your vocabulary and your memory amaze me. Lately one of my favorite moments of the day is when we lay in bed after we’ve washed up and read our stories: there’s nothing left to do but go to sleep. You roll over to face me and you whisper, “Conversation?” I know you’re stalling, but I think you’re also completely sincere. You really want to fall asleep talking with me. So I ask you what you want to have a conversation about and we proceed to lay there and chat. Some nights we chat about colors of the rainbow, some nights we chat about movies, some nights we just chat about/list all the people who we love. It is such a treasured time. And on good nights, rather than finish the conversation, we both close our eyes and breathe a little more deeply, and wander into dreamland, together.
You are so sweet and loving. This month you’ve had a chance to see a few of your family members, which has been a real treat. Thanks to Face Time, you’ve seen your cousin Anabelle several times in the last few weeks. Seriously, to hear her say, “Hi Rachel,” and hear you reply, “Hey Anabelle,” is so heart melting. You both say it shyly and with a smile. It’s so cool to see your love grow for each other.
You also got to see your Tia Sarah (dad’s cousin Sarah, actually), and your Uncle Shelly. You had so much fun running up and down the hall and then telling Uncle Shelly, “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!” (Thanks to Tia Sarah for incorporating that phrase into your repertoire!)
You are silly, and smart, and it’s tough for me to stay ahead of you sometimes. You are the greatest challenge and joy of my life. I love you, baby pie.
We had the best time at our community garden kickoff party this weekend. We expected it to be fun, but we did not expect there to be a live band, an artist doing live painting, free food for lunching and snacking, and 4 other two and a half year olds to run around with and enjoy the whole thing. Oh, AND a lady bug release! Have you ever seen such a thing? Truly, truly cool. They’re the good bugs that keep the bad, plant-killing bugs at bay and several thousand of them are now living in our garden, ready to get to work. (You’ll notice all the little boys hands outstretched to launch lady bugs out into the air…but not Rachel’s. She was just fine with watching. It was pretty fascinating!)
I’m sprinkling some metaphorical lady bugs on the week ahead. How about you?