I wasn't one of those moms who just couldn't wait to "get the baby out." While I was pregnant I was well aware of how good I had it, relatively speaking. All I had to do to be the perfect mom was take my vitamins, eat well, rest and get a breath of fresh air now and again. That was it. However, as my time approached I felt increasingly restless. Here I was nearly forty pounds heavier than usual and unable to sit still, as I buzzed around doing a bit of this and a bit of that, then this again, and then that again.
"Amy, just sit down!" I'd hear.
I was generally in good spirits and unafraid for the most part. Towards the end of my first pregnancy, I was getting anxious about how much pain would be involved. Then during a phone conversation my friend Carmen said, "Amy, it's just a day. You just have to do one day and it's over and you'll have your baby."
Quantifying the duration as she did, erased my anxiety. I can tolerate anything for a just a day. My first experience ended up lasting two days; but the spirit of the advice is that it's there, and then gone. And it was, and was.
I also had great faith in my obstetrician and St. Vincent's hospital. So long as I could just get there, (and stay there—they do love to send 1st time mommies home) I knew that the baby and I were in good hands. I have never felt like as much like a VIP as I have during my two deliveries there. The nurses are compassionate and attentive and the doctors are amazing. I thought that if I was ever to work in health care, I'd want to be involved in this side of things. Everyone just seemed to be happy. It must be uplifting working with life coming into the world instead of the majority of medicine which deals with life going out of the world; the yang to the birthing yin.
If the birthing process were a musical composition played by a symphony, it would start slow and quiet, staying that way long enough to make you wonder if you're really hearing anything. Then just as doubts would surface, here come the bass, brass, then the strings. Then cymbals and tympani come in and the music starts to crescendo, crescendo, then, then, then.... nothing. Back to the quiet music, layered under with intensity that wasn't there before. Sweat is pouring down the conductor at this point as the lights burn into her shoulders. She frantically motions for the brass, strings, percussion, which join in turn then crescendo, crescendo, crescendo the pressure building, she loses a button, the member of the symphony are showing obvious signs of great fatigue, crescendo, hold, hold, HOLD!! then cut. The conductor collapses in a heap as a baby's tiny cry pierces the stunned quiet of the auditorium.
All this great symphonic composition and as my angel is being brought to me and laid on my chest, do I spout the poetry with meter that keeps time with the pounding of our united hearts? What sonnets burst forth as she goes from crying to peaceful upon contact with the skin of her mother? My fingers explore her features, my eyes drink her in, I absorb her through my breath and touch of her skin. What words come forth to articulate this eruption of emotion??? "Hi, Baby!"
After Gabrielle's birth, my very next thought was, "I'm not pregnant anymore. I'm never going to be pregnant again."
It is a bitter sweet phase of life to see come to a close, as it will be with the baby phase, then the toddler phase. I'm sure I'll even miss the teen years when they come and go. So with the conclusion of this article I can put this phase in a pretty box, tie a ribbon around it and tuck it away in the annals of my mind and get myself ready for all the fun of toddlerhood, bigkiddome and the challenges of sibling rivalry.