This is a long post, so hold onto your butts.
I started writing this blog post when Iris was just 3 weeks old while she was momentarily sleeping in her pack-n-play and while I was trying to take 5 seconds to pee. I got all the way through “I’ve been hoping to document the arrival of Iris for the past 3 weeks…” before she woke up, decided that if I wasn’t where she could touch me then she would die, and started wailing.
Luckily, speed wiping is a thing (also, “TMI” is no longer a thing).
Originally, I wanted to write something profound about her birth. I wanted to discuss how, for a process that has been around since the dawn of time, crosses all species, and is required for every single person to arrive on the planet, it’s amazing how unique every single birth story turns out. But since then, I’ve learned that as uniquely beautiful and profound motherhood is, you’ve got to have a sense of humor if you’re going to survive.
Now, my sweet, perfect little pumpkin is 3, almost 4 months old ( … technically 15 weeks. Weeks are still a thing at this point) and happily in daycare, which means I now have two free hands with which to type (and eat my meals), so I thought I’d pick back up where I left off.
You know, BIRTH.
There’s a reason I want to share this story. You see, long before Daniel and I had a kid, we knew people who had kids (go figure). Nearly all (if not all) of them, had either scheduled their induction date, delivered via scheduled c-section, or used an epidural to vaginally deliver, and as a result, my thoughts on childbirth were, quite simply, why the eff wouldn’t you want an epidural? Delivering a baby is the single worst thing that could happen to a woman, the least you could do is take the edge off.
Then, my friend Tess delivered her son (12/1/2015), and my whole world changed.
When she posted his birth story, detailing the pain free, meditative and astonishingly quick hypnobirth their family experienced, I realized that there was an alternative birth option which I’d never considered. There was a story of a birth that was a positive experience, rather than one in which the wife is screaming, crushing her baby-daddy’s hand with mad fury, and yelling obscenities at him between contractions (see: every movie ever).
Talk about a game changer. At the time, I was in the middle of trying to naturally recover from my herniated discs. Children weren’t really on our radar, but I silently applied the idea to my training, mentally committed to “preparing” for a natural delivery through my lifestyle and exercise (as well as meditation game) for when that day finally came. So when we found out we were pregnant that following October, I was excited to start the natural delivery journey and had my coach, Zach Greenwald of StrengthRatio, adjust my programming so that I could maintain a decently high level of activity throughout my pregnancy. As a result, I was able to keep many of the traditional aches and pains of pregnancy at bay and enjoy a high quality of life until the very end!
When it came to preparing for delivery, however, reading the Hypnobirthing book and listening to hours upon hours of The Birth Hour podcasts had me feeling like I had a good idea of what to expect, but I was still hoping to find a natural childbirth class that Daniel and I could take together. My friend, Allie, recommended Village Birth and Motherhood‘s Lamaze class here in Bartlesville and since we didn’t feel like driving to Tulsa (and Nicki Ingram offered flexible class times/scheduling… which was AMAZING since we were working on opening the new gym location at the time), I signed us up!
Not only did Nicki’s course provide Daniel and me with incredibly thorough information, she also helped to set our expectations around natural childbirth and pain management techniques while also preparing us for the potential of a birth that did not meet our initial ‘birth plan.’ This was huge, ya’ll. Birth is a wild ride no matter how you get there, and her insistence that we could turn any birth experience into a positive one was critical once it was finally game time!
We enjoyed the course so much that we bugged Nicki incessantly until she agreed to serve as our doula for the hospital birth. To be honest, I was a little worried that having a doula might be awkward and somehow take away from Daniel’s and my experience, and I occasionally worried that inviting someone else into the process was a bad idea. Daniel, who this entire time was completely supportive of my desire to have a natural delivery, helped to remind me that we didn’t know what we didn’t know, and as first-time birthers, it might be nice to have a spare professional handy.
Now keep your eyes peeled for Pt. 2 … THE ACTUAL BIRTH.
Painting Credit: Zandra McGraw