Last week, I got the happy email news that a close friend had delivered a healthy baby boy.
To say she's had a challenging pregnancy would be an understatement, so her news brought great relief as well as joy. In addition to a range of craziness at home -- caring for her toddler, listing and selling her home, and working with her husband through a job change -- the last nine months included the following:
- 18 weeks of all day and night "morning" sickness
- 1 bout with the stomach flu
- 1 second trimester hospitalization and surgery for a kidney/bladder blockage
- 12 inches of a coil stent to open the blockage for the remainder of the pregnancy
- 3.5 months of pain and contractions
- 16 weeks of partial bed-rest
- 7 ultrasounds
- 7 days of home quarantine with attack of the H1N1 flu
- 11 hours of induced labor
- 1 epidural that came out and stopped working between the 4 to 10 cm dilation
- 7 pushes
Despite those painful numbers, she still got some beautiful results: 6 lbs. 4 oz. of perfect baby boy. And even though that baby has caused her an awful lot of pain over the past few months, she's already in love with him.
Unlike my friend, I'm really good at being pregnant -- I get enormous and round, but I had it so easy both times (until about week 39). Turns out I'm not so good at the delivery part -- both babies required c-sections to make their entrance into the world (see photo of Junius, fresh after his arrival). I still struggle at times with the fact that my babies' beginnings didn't match up with my Hollywood vision of what delivery would look like -- that dramatic moment when I squeeze my husband's hand, push the baby out, and immediately get to hold him close and love him. (And in that vision, of course, I'm wearing make-up, looking flushed but lovely. And the baby is all clean and beautiful, with no cone-head. And I instantly lose 40 pounds so I can wear my regular jeans home from the hospital. But I digress.)
I know it's a cliche, but my friend's experience reminded me that it doesn't matter how you become a mama, as long as you get to love the baby that makes you one. Whether through c-section or induction or adoption or marriage or fertility treatments or a drug-free birth, those babies arrive in our lives and they love us and they make us love them back. And it's a damn good thing they're so cute -- they have the power to make us forget everything else.