Wednesday, August 5, 2009

same chair, different mommy

I had been in labor for several hours, with contractions every two minutes at 100% strength. Luckily, I had re-claimed my sanity early on and asked for an epidural, so for the most part, I just watched my contractions peaking on the screen. I didn't so much feel them. However, as the afternoon progressed, I suddenly began to feel pain. Lots of it. It seems that Miss Annabelle was ready to get out (and oh how I was ready for her to come out), but I wasn't dilated enough. To hasten the process, she wedged her feet in my ribs and pushed with all her might. And the pain of her pushing was as excruciating as the contractions, only the epidural didn't numb this pain.

I screamed and I cried. The pain was awful. Just as I did when the contractions began, I clung to the plastic side rails of my bed, the bed shaking with my body. I thought I would surely crush the rails. At about this time, the nurse came in, saw my pain, and began shifting my body in a way that the baby couldn't kick me so hard. And as I laid there on my side, I opened my eyes long enough to see my mom, standing at the foot of my bed, eyes wide with concern and love. I knew that if she could have, she would've traded me places. I knew she was worried, and I knew that she just wanted to make my pain go away. As the pain subsided, I took comfort in knowing she was there. The epidural made me sleepy, but even in my drug-induced haze, I knew she was there and for that reason, I wasn't afraid. I knew I could do it. I knew I could do the most important thing I had ever done. Because she had done it for me.

A few hours later, Annabelle was born. And in an instant, a single moment that will be forever frozen in my mind, I knew exactly what she felt. A wave of love crashed down on me. It was almost tangible, the force of this love, these emotions, and I knew that my life was changed forever, that from this moment on, I would live for her. I would do anything for her.

My mom is one of the only people who I trust implicitly with my baby. I don't mean to be so choosy, but I think that I trust her because I know that I am so much like her. We do things the same way. I've become my mom. I'm sure that I prefer holding my baby in my left arm (as opposed to the right as most right-handed people would prefer) because she does. I wrap my baby in her blanket the way my mom wraps her because I learned how as I watched her bundle my sisters. I'm still learning, but as I do, I realize that the way I love, the decisions I make, I do so because of her, because she taught me.

The firstborn has given birth to her firstborn. And in this beautiful circle of life, someday my firstborn will do the same. With all my heart, I hope that I can be the kind of mom for her that mine has been for me, that when she is in the depths of labor, reaching into the deepest parts of her soul for strength to bring new life into this world, that she will know I'm there. That she will open her eyes and see me there, that she will know that she can do what I did for her, what my mom did for me.

When my mom gave me life, she gave me the chance to do the same. And only now am I realizing that among her many gifts to me, the most valuable one she gave was the first.

1 comment:

Riss said...

Is Mom holding little Greaser in that picture?


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