In the end, though, I pushed for two and a half hours and out came Milo, beautiful and healthy. Most women don't really want to dwell on their birth experiences. You get this amazing gift of the baby. You're on a high and whatever happened in the hospital just seems to fade away. Even if it didn't go as planned, it was a pretty amazing experience. I feel blessed that, considering it all, I had a vaginal birth for my first child. And although Rob and I are now divorced, the memory of how he was on that day is one of the things I can draw on when I need a little encouragement to get over one of our postmarital spats.
When the mommy-bonding hormones stopped coursing through my veins, I started to think about the birth, not just the baby. How quickly everything had changed direction. At the hospital, I felt like a problem. I wasn't progressing fast enough, they said, even though my baby was never in distress. I remembered how when my mom came to see us at the hospital, I introduced her to my midwife saying, "Mom, here's the woman who delivered my baby!" Sandy corrected me, "Ricki, you're the one who delivered that baby." Why couldn't I shake this feeling that my body had betrayed me?
Hadn't this crazy system betrayed me? Keeping my prenatal appointments, eating my green, leafy vegetables, the vitamins, the yoga, the visualizations--all of it built a sense that this would be a birth of my own creation. After so many months of preparation, in the end I never had a chance to surrender except to the hospital's schedule. I was never in control. I had wanted to feel everything, but all I remembered of labor was fear and panic. I had blocked out the glory of pushing my baby into the world so much that I gave Sandy credit for delivering Milo. Why the big disconnect? Suddenly I was very interested in birth.