Tuesday, July 29, 2008
We spent the weekend in Central New York visiting my husband's family. Here are some photos from a beautiful spot called Watkins Glenn. I loved it there!! (especially because we got a ride to the top and only had to climb the 800 steps down the falls!)
Thursday, July 24, 2008
My husband and I have a discussion the other day. Why does childbirth hurt so much? Why is it so painful? There must be a reason. And no, we don't think it has anything to do with Eve and an apple.
When I look back at my life and think about the experiences that have been most painful, I realize it is these moments that have shaped me. Pain has given me strength. Pride. Perspective. Character. So if this is going to be the most painful experience of them all, just think about how much I'll gain from it. And I'm not even talking about the baby. I'm just talking about the experience of childbirth itself.
And the most painful of pain followed by the most joyful of joy?!?! What a ride. No roller coaster could beat that.
Maybe the pain's purpose is to fully invest me. How could I endure all of that pain and then not love and care for that miracle more than I've ever loved or cared for anything before in my life. The pain makes sense to me. And I'm not scared of it. Don't get me wrong. I do respect that it's not for everybody. But believe it or not, I am actually looking forward to it.
A few years back I did a mountaineering trip in the High Sierra with Outward Bound. It was 22 days long and it was hard-core. We hiked over 100 miles and most of that was climbing straight up or climbing straight down. Everything about that trip was intense. I cried every day -- multiple times a day. The trip was a whole series of intense moments but there is one that has stuck with me all these years.
We had been climbing a 13,000-footer and were close to reaching the summit. The last part of the climb was technical and we needed to be roped in. We basically had to climb the face of a cliff to reach the top of the mountain. And I got stuck. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I just couldn't make my leg reach the next hold. It just wasn't possible. And every time I slipped, all of my weight would be caught in my left shoulder, which was the only part of me that felt securely connected to the mountain. The rest of me was a dangling useless mess. After 10 or 12 tries, my shoulder was completely pulled out of its socket. And there I was hanging off the top of a cliff -- exhausted beyond belief, pulsating with pain, crying my eyes out -- the final goal within my sight but out of my reach. I couldn't stand it. The instructor asked if I wanted to be let down. I remember that moment clearly. Do or die. Sink or swim. Now or never.
To this day I don't know how it happened. But I made it to the summit of that mountain. I broke down sobbing and hugged the ground under me. I did it. I survived.
Was I strong enough to achieve the impossible? Yes. I was. And what was my reward? An incredible view? The wind blowing in my face on the top of the world? A lunch of trail mix and crackers? A chunk of chocolate?
Yes. But there was more. I took away with me a strength I never knew I had. I learned to trust myself -- the deepest part of my being -- even when my body appeared to be failing. And I discovered that pain is temporary. And what lies just on the other side is always worth it.
We had a saying on that trip -- "tough don't rub off." It's a mantra I've spoken to myself a million times since. The pain goes away but the strength is yours to keep and use forever.
How does this relate to childbirth? Well, I don't know because I haven't experienced it yet. But I just have a feeling it might be like reaching the summit of that mountain. Only better.
You know when you have one of those moments when you just know you've made the right decision? When your gut has been struggling through something and you come to a place where it suddenly just screams YES! I am in that place. I've decided to switch from my OB practice to a midwife.
If you asked me 8 months ago if I even knew the difference, I would have laughed it off. I had absolutely no interest in this topic whatsoever. As long as she can get this thing out of me, what do I care?
Turns out I care a lot. Because although a healthy baby is still the top priority and the ultimate goal here (and I have full confidence my OB could have delivered that) there really is a lot more to consider -- like being treated with warmth and respect and being given a voice during this process, and most importantly being given a voice during my labor and delivery.
It's only going to be the most important day of my life, right? Shouldn't I have a voice?
Anyway I could go on and on and give you all the details of this decision process but you get the idea. I've made the right choice and I'm happy.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
In the beginning of this pregnancy, I was so focused on just staying pregnant. Terrified of enduring another miscarriage, I crawled along one day at a time, one appointment at a time, breathing a sigh of relief with every passing milestone. But I never actually considered the end result. BIRTH.
I find it funny that it never really crossed my mind. It seemed so far off, so irrelevant at the time. September seemed forever away, like maybe it would never really come.
But it's coming. I am in the last leg of my pregnancy and this thing is really in me. I can see it and feel it and I know that it is very much alive. And I'm just beginning to realize that I have to get it out!!!
There are so many childbirth stories and books and documentaries and shows on TLC. I've been spending my time studying diligently, my nose in a book or my eyes glued to the TV, as if this were the hugest final exam of my life. I suppose it is. Some of the stories scare me to death and other ones leave me feeling empowered and excited. But mostly I just feel confused and overwhelmed and unprepared.
Because how can I prepare for something I've never experienced? I can learn the facts but I can't ever know the experience until I have it for myself. It's like preparing for sex when you're a virgin. You can't. The only thing you can do is know that it will be different than anything you've ever experienced before.
So this I am open to. And what I do know is that I want to feel it. I want this experience. And I want it fully. Even with its pain, I want it. I want to feel what millions of women before me have also felt. I want to understand it on a level deeper than reading it or watching it. It is a rite of passage and I feel blessed that I have been given this opportunity to reach it. Completely blessed.
In my whole however many years of life, this may just be my biggest moment. And I don't want to miss it. Not any of it.
I knew a woman in grad school who had three grown children. She was not a particularly gorgeous woman, nor was she very outgoing or extraordinary really in any way. Simon Cowell may have called her "forgettable." But she was strong. And she had an inner confidence and beauty that struck me and stuck with me. She had delivered each of her children with no drugs or medical interventions. I remember her telling me (as I shook my head in awe and swore that she was crazy) that no pain could ever match that. She knew if she could get through the birth of her children, she could get through ANYTHING.
I don't know if I want a doula or a birthing ball or a labor tub.
But I know I want this.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Our nursery is coming along!! The shelf is a project I know my husband cares never to repeat again. As he puts it, "It sure was a project alright!"
But it was made
with love and that's all
The photo frames are another project that take on a life of its own. I can't wait to fill that third frame!! Will this little one have Daddy's straight blonde locks or a black mop like mine? I guess we will have to wait and see!
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Well, it's our last vacation as a family of two. We spend 4th of July weekend up in Burlington, VT, where I lived for 9 years before meeting my husband. It is a wonderful trip and we relish in the luxuries of our deluxe suite with its killer view, our daily naps, catching up with old friends, incredible sunsets, fireworks on the water, great food, frozen cocktails (virgin for me) and of course Ben & Jerry's ice cream! We even spend one morning hiking -- yes, 7 months pregnant and still hiking!! I should have written across my belly, "This baby climbed Mt. Philo!" Because even though it is our last official trip as a two-some, we very much feel the presence of our beautiful #3.