One year ago today you came into our lives. I had never seen your little face, or held your little hand. I wasn’t expecting you to be early because everyone told me to expect you late. You were born on a Sunday morning at 4am. I went to work that Friday before your birth feeling huge, bloated and tired. I was determined to work until the end because I didn’t want to lay around the house feeling huge. I showed up for work and my students took great care of me. If I dropped something or needed something, they waited on me hand and foot. My ankles were swollen to the point that I could only wear crocs and it was very hard for me to walk any sort of distances. That night your dad and I relaxed at home and I kept my legs elevated. The next morning we woke up early (I had trouble sleeping because of how big I was) and I felt a pop. It was a strange pop, but it felt just like my birth instructor said it would feel. I thought “that felt like my water breaking” but I didn’t feel any water so I just laid in bed. Your dad was in the shower and I was going to hop in after him, so I laid in bed waiting. When I could tell he was almost done, I sat up and I felt wetness. I went to stand and it gushed out. Needless to say I soaked a comforter, the sheets, your dad’s robe and I ran into the bathroom with a towel between my legs and I said “HONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and he said “what?” and I said “my water just broke”- and he jumped out and had a crazy look of panic. I said “I feel fine, I am going to get in the shower and hopefully this will stop” and needless to say, it didn’t. When your water breaks, it breaks and doesn’t stop. Your body keeps making more water, and you keep on leaking.
Your dad asked me what to do. I told him to call the midwife and your grandma Hope. We had to go down to the birth center because I was Strep Type B positive and needed an antibiotic injection. I felt fine. I kept expecting to start feeling contractions and go into labor, but I didn’t. Honestly Eliza, I was feeling 100% fine, and it was making people nervous. By the time your grandma arrived from California, your mom still hadn’t gone into labor. We had taken the dogs for a walk, gone to the grocery store, gotten 3 injections of antibiotics, and then the dreaded “if you don’t progress by tomorrow at 7am, we have to transfer you to a hospital. I am so sorry, but its policy” I was terrified of birthing in a hospital, and I would have had you on the side of the road in a ditch before I let you be born into a hospital, so I did what I had to… Castor Oil. I drank 6 oz. of castor oil. I won’t go into details, but needless to say your grandma and your dad are assholes for laughing at me. That was still the single worst part of giving birth.
Once I had that oil down, the labor started almost immediately. I had a few contractions and they were fine. I actually laughed through them in the beginning. I started to feel really strong contractions around 11pm, and your dad decided it was time to take me in for a shot of antibiotics and to see the midwife. Rachel, your midwife, said that we should plan on staying. I got there, and the contractions were increasing rapidly. I jumped into the water birth tub and tried to relax. I dilated from a 3 to a 9 in less than an hour. Transition hit me hard. I had a contraction last for about a minute, then another hit on top of the other one. I would have about 5-10 hit at once giving me a 2 minute break in between. At one point I couldn’t handle the water splashing me, so I got out and labored on the floor on my hands and knees. I was coerced up on the bed and I was able to rest my head on a birth ball. During this, your dad gave me sips of Gatorade and wiped my face. The nurse Megan was telling me that I was doing a good job, but I was frustrated because you were nowhere near. I remember the urge to push happened and I couldn’t control it. It took all of my energy to push. Eliza, I pushed for over 2 hours. Had I birthed in a hospital, they would have ordered me to have a c-section because they limit the time they allow you to push. You were born 2 hours and 15 minutes after I started pushing. I felt you coming and Rachel told me to give you a push. Your head came out and I got so excited I pushed for as long and as hard as I could until you came out and landed in Rachel’s arms. I remember collapsing on the bed and asking if you were a girl. I rolled over and they stuck this tiny, wet, sticky little thing on my lap. I still can’t believe that was you. I looked at your dad, and he was teary. We just sat with you and took it all in. The moment you came out, my body went back to normal and I felt great. We cuddled together in that bed as a family for an hour uninterrupted. Your dad leaned down and kissed you. We let your umbilical cord stop pulsing and turn white. Your dad proudly cut the cord. You nursed about 20 minutes into life, and never looked back. You were a true champion and fighter. We did this together. I can’t imagine having to do things according to other people’s rules and regulations. I can’t imagine someone telling me that I wasn’t doing it right. I can’t imagine someone standing by and waiting to put drugs in to my system to make you come out faster, or to take away part of that experience. I remember being in the midst of transition and being uncomfortable and thinking “I can’t imagine someone taking me right now and offering to jab me in the spine with a needle to get rid of this” – I wanted you to have the most natural, amazing, pain-free birth that you could possibly have. This was your birth, and your day. We we’re put on this earth to support each other and to be as one at those moments. If it wasn’t supposed to be intense and uncomfortable, then it wouldn’t be. Eliza, I would do it all over again for you 100x. You had no monitors, no ivs, no nurses rushing to prick you with injections or measure you before you and I got to bond. You came into this world and sat immediately upon my chest. We sat there to love each other as long as we wanted.
This year has been a tremendous year for us as a family. You have been all over the place, and seen many different things. You spent a horrible month away from your daddy, and I am so sorry for that. It will never happen again, I promise. You are truly the greatest thing that life has ever given me. Your smiling face, your amazing demeanor, the fact that you look like your dad are a few of the amazing things about you.
A year ago today, you became a person and I became a mother. I will never stop being your mother, and I will never stop loving you. I will continue to sacrifice for you, advocate for you, and do things that others don’t agree with for you. I make choices for you because I feel they are best, and though others may not agree, honestly, I don’t give a damn. You got your first adjustment at just hours old. You never had an ear infection in your first year of life. You are such a healthy and happy little girl. I truly hope that when you have children, you get a pleasant birth experience, no forced vaccinations and people telling you that you’re irresponsible for the choices you make. I have a feeling you’ll be fighting the same fight, but I hope that my choices open some doors for you to make your own decisions.
I love you so much. Thank you so much for being you! Happy birthday!