A birth as it should be
My dear Mishki,
I wrote this soon after you were born. It is the typical self-centred convoluted sort of thought process and reaction I’ve had to most setbacks in life. And I thought some more and decided that you deserve better. You deserve a mother who is a role model. If you watched a beauty paegent (please don’t) you’d think this is most natural and obvious – your mother being your role model. Life sometimes works differently. Relationships emerge differently. One thing I know from my own life is that while I appreciate the spontaneity and natural evolution of parent-child bonds, setting a foundation is paramount. I dare say I lacked it in my own upbringing. But there I go again – this is not about me. This is a story for you. It begins with you and ends with you.
Your (now) father and I spawned you quickly. When people ask how long we “tried” (a phrase that makes your father cringe), I usually say 20 minutes. They look at me mouth agape and I say “OK, 10. I was sleepy.” Needless to say these very words will make you cringe. Hah too bad. When I learned we were pregnant I didn’t think much about birth experiences. I had read enough mommy blogs to know many women had c-sections, that they were on the rise and there was a lot of conflict about why this was an unpleasant phenomenon. Around my 4th month I started getting interested in natural birth. Since you will be growing up in close proximity to your parents you will soon see why this was not a stretch for us. We even considered a home birth, crunchy couple that we are. We read, we took classes, we were prepped for everything au natural.
My fondest memories of you are from when you were in my belly. Your drum-like rhythmic kicks and the way you swam around making my whole tummy contort, especially during weekly status meetings at work. My favorite by far though are the many miles we walked together. You and me. To and fro from prenatal yoga. To and from from bus stops to the subway. To the grocery store and to movies. Out in the open but a completely private time. Sometimes you made it known you were awake and ready for the ride, sometimes you snoozed, the rhythmic movement of my steps comforting you. When I got down on all fours in yoga and rocked, I imagined rocking you. When the room reverberated with Ommmmmmmm, I thought of you soothed by the vibrations. And then that fine day when you decided it was time, I was still walking. Walking with your grandmother towards the museum, past central park. What a little New Yorker baby you are. What a little woman of the world!
My sweet Mishki , you worked so hard. You worked with Amma to come down. All 9 lbs of you. Yes you big baby. You stretched amma’s uterus to its fullest. You challenged my body and mind. My body obliged achingly, my mind had trouble grappling with the vast expanse that was you. Still, we tried. Valiantly we moaned through contractions. We breathed with our stomachs the way we learned at yoga. You were (are) so long, even while you were descending into my cervix, I could still feel your feet at my ribs. You made your Amma work for you and she doesn’t regret it. When the dreaded c-section happened I knew there was one thing I dreaded more. Yes I’ll say it now – I dreaded a son. But no! You sneaky little thing were the girl I wanted all along. When the doctor pulled your fat head out she gasped at the “big baby”. Your father however, said the 3 words I’d been waiting to hear all my life – “It’s a girl.”
You came out screaming bloody murder. I know crying when you’re born is a good sign but jeez did you make your point. I, well, I sobbed like a baby. The tears flowed freely and I wailed. We both looked at you in wonder – how did this child fit inside me was our first thought. When I finally had sensation in my arms and they gave you to me, you searched for food and assured me with your strong suckle. Even now when you feed, you suckle like an efficient machine. With big noisy gulps like “6 pigs eating” as your grandma says.
I won’t forget my birth experience Mishki. And I won’t stop feeling that I wanted something entirely different. But never confuse that with you or your entry into this world. You came in strong and screaming, ready to take on whatever was in store. Even now we call you “the beast”. Yes, we’re sweet that way. Somehow I know you’ll fit in with us, your green parents with our irreverent sense of humor and lack of sense of grandiose. And if you don’t, too bad, we’ll keep you anyway.
Sometimes when I succumb to those feelings that engulfed me the first 2 weeks I recall what Appa said and it gives me solace “You still birthed this baby.” I still birthed you. And you’re all mine.