A lot of things have happened since last I blogged, and we will get to those in due time. But first, a blurb to supplement my birth story post:
After I posted Eli's birth story, I realized that I left out a very important part of our experience on October 11, 2012. This is, quite possibly, the most surprising and impressive part of our birth story outside of our son's entrance into the world. I do not think that either Ryan or myself expected just how much of Eli's birth would be about us.
There is something very interesting that happens to people who are thrust into difficult situations together. Some something, some desperation to get through the day in one piece and be able to see the other side forces people to band together in a way that almost makes them one unit. I believe that when those individuals are already very much of a unit, (read: marriage), this bonding generates unfathomable strength. I had no idea about this phenomenon before my labor began because, frankly, I had never been placed into a difficult situation.
I knew that Ryan and I were going to have to be a team to get through labor and delivery naturally. I had even feared that Ryan didn't realize just how active a participant he would have to be in labor in order for me to not need an epidural. I knew that physically, I would lean on him to get through the pain. I did not realize how much I would lean on him mentally and spiritually.
As the day went on and the pain of labor began to intensify, Ryan stepped up his game. At first, he somehow knew that his role was Comedian. Before labor turned the corner into pain, Ryan distracted me from my contractions by making me laugh. We walked the halls, and he made jokes, and I laughed despite my discomfort. But as the hours went by, there was a shift in Ryan's role. When I could no longer walk and laugh through my contractions, Ryan stood behind me, helping me keep my body as relaxed as possible when each wave came. When tightening turned to pain, Ryan stood in front of me, squeezing my hands so that I didn't have to squeeze his and letting me push all of the tension onto him. And when a contraction threatened to pull me under and force me to lose control of my labor, Ryan looked me in the eye and reminded me that I was in control. For hours and hours, Ryan took a beating with every contraction, letting me push down on his hands with all of my strength over and over again. In the days following Eli's birthday, both of our arms were sore from laboring this way.
There were moments when I thought that I couldn't do it. I would shake my head at him in the middle of the worst contractions, forgetting to breathe, absolutely sure that this was as much as I could take and that I was done. But before even that single contraction was over, Ryan had pulled me back up out of that doubt and focused me again on maintaining control. When it was finally time to push, Ryan was in my ear, telling me how close we were to meeting our precious boy. There were a lot of voices in the operating room, loudly directing me to keep pushing or relax, but the one that I heard was the whisper that was meant only for me.
Going through labor and delivery together galvanized our marriage in a way that I could never have anticipated. I knew
that I was going to fall in love with our tiny little boy that day, but I
had no idea that I was also going to fall in love all over again with