Everything was scheduled. Thursday, the twelfth of November, I would welcome my daughter into the world. It wouldn’t be the eleventh, because that year, it happened to be Veteran’s Day. Superstitious or not, there is no way I would be volunteering my first born for Friday the thirteenth. Thursday the twelfth it was.
I woke up early that day. Before five am. I felt it necessary to put on my makeup and curl my hair. I laughed when my husband came down stairs in a button down and a tie. His outfit was business formal, not Netflix and chill. Dress comfortable I urged. But he insisted on making a good first impression when Daddy’s girl entered the world.
After getting settled in the hospital room and waiting for the Pitocin to kick in, I was remarkably relaxed. The lights were off and rain music was playing in the background. It matched the weather outside, though there were no windows in my room.
As I lay there in meditation, the real fun began. I attended the birthing classes. I watched the live birth videos. I even read the blogs. One blogger went as far as to give a description of the sensation as the baby is making an entrance into the world; burning ring of fire. To experience the sensation, put an index finger in the corner in each side of your mouth and pull, she explained.
Nothing prepares you for the anticipation of meeting your child. Nothing prepares you for the physical pain you experience during that anticipation. The cramping began about 1PM.
The cramping felt more like really bad food poisoning. The kind you get when you are miles from home and don’t know if you are going to make it. Then there is light at the end of the tunnel. You’re on your street, but it’s like your body knows. It sends your cramps into overdrive. Just as you drop and roll out of your car, thinking you won’t be able to get your key in the door fast enough it hits. Ahhh, the epidural. Thank goodness for modern medicine.
I continue to relax until the nurse tells me it’s time to push. I push and I push. For four hours. All the while I hear Johnny Cash’s “Burning Ring of Fire” on repeat in my head. The only word’s I know: “And it burns, burns, burns, like a burning ring of fire.”
The nurse tells me she won’t make me push all night. But I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. I had hours left in me. Many hours. The doctor made an appearance to check in on my progress. I was surprised how little the doctor was in the room, and how much of my experience up until that point had been with my fabulous nurses.
When he did come in, it was time to get down to business. Real business. I had no idea that in the 20 minutes he was in the room, my child would also be in my arms.
While my daughter was being cleaned up and measured, the nurse turned to me and asked, “How’s mom doing?” I looked across the room at my mom to check how she was. Then it hit me, “Oh, I’m mom.”
Through the birth of my daughter, I knew some changes would be obvious. Life would have new meaning. Love at first sight does exist. Nothing would hold more value than her wellbeing.
But something else happened. I transitioned. Not only was a child was born. A new woman was born: a mother. Dealing with the uncertainty of the birthing process teaches you perseverance. A perseverance I would have not otherwise found. Because despite the uncertainty of when that baby will enter the world, that baby will enter the world. Coming in through a blazing, burning, ring of fire. The birth of my daughter taught me to never give up. I knew I would be learning a lot as a new mom. I knew I would be teaching her a lot. I had no idea that this tiny soul I met at the end of my birthing journey, so small, so helpless, would teach me so much, and so quickly, starting with perseverance.
Perhaps learning perseverance is all part of mother nature’s plans. Preparing us for the long sleepless nights, the meltdowns, and power struggles soon to come. Though the days may be tiresome, at the end of each, is a new lesson and a new gift. Another day with our children. Another day a mother. Another day a new woman.