This week is my 5 year anniversary of being married to my awesome husband. It is also L2's 1st birthday. It is a week filled with contemplation and reflection.
My first son was born 2 years after my husband and I got married. We had great plans to forgo interventions and have a natural birth in the hospital. Circumstances kept us from taking the birth class we wanted to prepare ourselves, and events of my labour took us further from the path. Straight to the operating table and my cesarean. Most people know the story. And that when we were expecting again, did everything possible to keep from repeating that horrible experience.
So, L2 was born at home. Attended by a midwife and a doula. But mostly, it was my husband and I focused on the labor and the process of bringing our child into the world.
I labored for over a day. I spent much of that time trying to forget the pain. Ignore it, not let it have control of me. It wasn't until 24 hours in, when I realized that L1 was about to spend his first night away from us, that I knew I needed to stop trying to not feel pain. It wasn't a pain. This was my body doing what I had looked forward to, expected, needed it to do since my first "failed" labor. Until that point, my body had always failed me. I was always too fat, too slow, too ugly...too whatever. It was that moment that it was MY BODY. Mine. And I could make it what I wanted it to be. All while sitting on the toilet wishing this baby would just come already! I know many women had to learn to let go, I had to learn that I am responsible for me. So, I would tell myself it was time for a contraction, and then picture myself opening, my baby being born. This was my turning point. Things finally took off, and L2 was born a few hours later. It was amazing.
L2 continued to be a driving force in recreating myself. He was dairy intolerant, and because we breastfed, I cut dairy. A few months later the symptoms still hadn't cleared up, and had gotten worse. Not only was there a rash, but he stopped smiling, laughing, reacting. So, we (by which I mean "I", as we were of course still exclusively breastfeeding) cut soy and gluten. And low and behold, we had our happy boy again! The side affect for me: loosing weight, fast. I realized that though I had gone down in weight each pregnancy (eating better for baby!) that all of a sudden, I was loosing more. And I LIKED It. So for the first time ever, I felt like moving. I hate the E word.
So, I slowly started asking around. I found a Zumba instructor willing to let me participate with my chunky +20lb boy. I never needed to take him, but having it be a possibility broke down my last excuse. So goes that story.
I write all this to tell you that I cried today. During our cool down. I though about being in labor last year.. 2 years before that, I was expecting my first child. 2 years earlier even, I was preparing for my wedding day. And today I was caring for myself as I never had before. I stretched further, knowing I had grown much more than just my baby turning one tomorrow. I was a new person. I am a wife, a mother. More than that, I am me, and only I can decide what that means.
I had so much more I wanted to say, but just don't know how to put it all into words. You know what? I forgot to thank the academy. And by that, I mean every person who has touched my life and helped make me who I am. Husband, kids, dad, mom, sister, friends. Even the OB's that attended my first pregnancy (hey, who knows if I would have learned so much if we hadn't had such a bad time?) or the first person who ever made fun of me. Ok, not her. She can stay in the lost corners of my memory.