25 Apr Two Beautiful Births in February
“February is my birth month. It’s not the month in which I was born, but rather the month in which I gave birth to my two sons, six years apart. February, the tail end of the cold, unending winter. The month where slumber seems the only way out until Spring arrives, where human hibernation
seems at its highest as we slow down post holidays and New Year’s gallivanting. It is a good month in which to give birth.
Baby #1: I have just turned 35 years old and I tell my husband in the darkness of our one bedroom apartment, “let’s have a baby”. Silence. We have been together for 12 years total and we never really talked about committing to having kids. Something literally shifted in me when I turned 35. I think my body knew it was time. My husband agreed.
My body did pregnancy well, aside from some early nausea. I felt strong and fit. Baby came fast and furious. My water broke at home in the darkness of our bedroom in our new house that we purchased for baby. We were totally unprepared, even though we took birth preparation classes. I didn’t have a bag packed. I screamed in the dead of night as my husband went to pull our car around front, as I tried to dress myself, huddled over a chair. I thought baby would be born right then and there in the passenger seat. I said I was scared. We made it to the birth center where I wept softly and told the midwife what had transpired so far. She informed me that baby was coming and she called the nurse on call on the phone. She used the words “as soon as possible”.
Nurse and midwife are the most confident and strong women I ever witness. They tell me I can do this. Whirlwind, squeezing hands, pushing open thighs, and in the dead of night, a baby boy arrives. He is pink and perfect. My body is destroyed and strong at the very same time. We bring him home on an unusually warm day for February.
Baby #2: I am 41 years old. Here we are again. I say “let’s try one more time”, and we do. My body wants one more chance at this. I am older and realize it will be harder this time. And it was. I feel sick most of my pregnancy. I feel like I spend life on the sofa. Food is gross but I feel constantly hungry. Baby is due in March, but he comes a little bit early…February. I’m not feeling “right” so I visit midwife. She thinks I should “stay close” and come back later that day to check things out again. She notices that I am swollen like a goat that is about to go into labor. Funny, I am a Capricorn and really swollen “down there”.
I come home and husband is working at the dining table. I start to pack and get anxious. I am not prepared again. I slip down basement stairs and cut my foot. Later that day we go to birth center. Me, husband and kiddo who is six years old. We stay. I am glad they are there with me to nestle into my room. We rest and are together as a trio one last evening. I am ready but scared. I know what all of this requires of me and my body. We wait for another midwife to arrive since there is another momma next door also in labor. I can hear her moaning. I know that moaning. It is one of pain and strength all at the same time. The nurse hops from room to room to check in on us. She is an angel. Labor pains make me scream out. Things progress. Midwife arrives and suggests I roll on my side to break my waters. I do, and it does. She is a calming presence and reminds me that I can do this again. Everyone is waiting calmly. I lose focus. I want to curse and the nurse says “let it rip”, and I do. I bite my husband’s hand. I stare at a painting of a mother and child and remember my breath. My breath. I yell to “get him out” and midwife says in the most calming voice, “only you can do that dear”. And I do. A baby boy arrives. He is pink and perfect.
My body is depleted and ecstatic. I learned to give birth on those two February nights and into the early mornings. I learned to become a nursing mom, a nurturer, a protector. Once we were home I hoped for February midday sun to shine into my sons’ bedroom and give us some warmth and light as I held their tiny bodies and learned to feed them. I accessed the most primal thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life… just like the many women before me and the many women who will follow. I learned to embrace February as I nestled down those first few weeks in the tail end of two winters. It is now my birthing month, a month of arrivals.”