Friday, May 10, 2013

this is labor

Last May 10th, on a warm, sunny day much like today, I went into labor thus commencing an incredible three-day journey that changed me in countless ways. And lately, I've been revisiting every form of documentation I have from before, during and after that time—photos, blog posts, baby book entries, videos. It's as if I have to replay it all a thousand times before it finally sinks in. Before it finally feels real. Before I can understand how this all happened so quickly. This whole year it has felt like I just gave birth….like, last week maybe. But, in going back and watching the SIX video tapes we recorded throughout the actual labor and birth, I finally get how long ago it actually was. For the first time, I saw the divide. I saw the transformation take place on camera, so clearly, before my now slightly seasoned motherly eyes. 

The video footage I watched begins with me waiting to go into labor (though that part is not included here). I am 40-weeks pregnant, not knowing I have another three weeks (on account of my due date being changed when I was 41-weeks…..the worst). And that girl—yes, I would call her a "girl"—has such a different presence about her. She looks younger. Much younger. Though it was only a year ago, giving birth and mothering a babe have aged me. It's not just physical though. My voice, my demeanor, and my energy look different, too. I wasn't fully a mother yet. I wasn't fully a woman yet. And then there is the way Alex and I talk to one another….it's so different than it is now. We were gentle and quiet, overly loving in every interaction. You can see that it is just the two of us. Now, we get to the point. We are blunt and communicate rapid-fire style in an attempt to get as much out in the five-minute window our child has allotted us each day. We are in love, but still in the trenches of the most challenging upheaval to our lives that we've ever known. We are there, helping one another survive and feel supported rather than making out every five minutes.

But, back to the video. I attempted to put together a montage of my 51-hour, three-day-long labor. That was a tall task, let me tell you. Be forewarned, the video quality is pretty awful most of the time (it gets better part way through). I have yet to figure out how to get the footage off of my ancient video camera and onto my computer so I had improvise (read: horrible method). Also, it was nighttime during a lot of this footage so it's rather dark. 

ANYWAY, you don't care about any of this, do you? No. Because you are just curious as hell to see me in labor. Right? I know I would be. I'm so fascinated by birth! I'd watch a video of any one of you in labor. But, this we already know. SO. Most of what you see is taken out of context. I think it's not so important to understand all the stories or jokes—it's really just to give you a sense of what it actually looked like. FYI- I did not include any of the footage after I was transferred to the hospital. It gets naked-y and graphic, people. What IS included is dancing, contracting, booty shaking, eating lots of buttery toast, the baby's heart beating inside my contracting belly, me in hysterics telling stories in between contractions (a story about Alex dancing with me in a drum circle at my favorite yoga retreat center….where coincidentally all the hippies fart at will….if you were wondering while watching the video), the mood shifting to a more calm, subdued mama bear, the contractions getting stronger….and stronger. Yes, this is labor: joy, excitement, humor, strength, courage, persistence…and yes, some pain. It's the most amazing experience ever. Enjoy!

P.S. If you haven't read my six-part birth story, here are the links: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI

**This is a 7.5 minute video so you might want to let it load before you hit play

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