“I’ve done it once before, accidentally almost at home. Figured I would do it at home this time on purpose!” I remember saying something to this effect to anyone who asked me why I was planning to have a home birth with my second daughter. These particular people always asked this question with a concerned, “wow, didn’t realize she was crazy” kind of look on their faces.
My experience with birth the first go around was simply amazing and breathtaking. When I was pregnant the second time, I felt incredibly more prepared and confident about what to expect during the process of labor and delivery. Choosing to have a home birth was an easy decision fully supported by my husband (who was born at home too!).
Thursday, April 2, 2009 is crystal clear in my memory. I had just put Lily down for a nap and was laying on the couch watching America’s Next Top Model when my water broke. It suddenly hit me a couple of hours later – I was going to have this baby today! I was excited and nervous, of course, but also felt strong, healthy and ready. What unfolded next was again, amazing and breathtaking. Everyone present at her birth filled the room with encouragement and strength and love that carried me through labor.
Breathe a little, push a little; this is how my midwife coached me through the final stages of pushing. Looking back, I realize this mantra rings also true to surviving the past year. Lying in bed that first night after Vivienne was born, I felt lucky and blessed for all the things in my life. I was grateful to be surrounded by an immense amount of love and for being a mom to two perfect little girls. While I most certainly still feel this way today, I also think it is appropriate to celebrate my family’s journey in the past year right alongside with the birth of my beautiful daughter.
When things were rough, when we were oh-so-exhausted, when the tears just wouldn’t stop, it was hard to gain perspective about our situation. Stepping back and breathing a little in order to push through whatever we were experiencing helped. I definitely underestimated the adjustment that going from one to two would be, but then again, you can’t really understand what it will be like until you are living it. The past year has been filled with sleeplessness, joy, resentment, laughter, anger, understanding, mis-communication and lots of love. Hours turned into days, then weeks and months, and somehow, we have graduated to the one year milestone.
Today, I say Happy Birthday to all of us – I wouldn’t trade my life for the world.