This was written last year shortly after Elliott was born. I'll be posting Part Dos soon so wanted to re-post this one as a refresher before you hear more details of my awesomeness as a mom over the last year :)
I would say that I threw away all my parenting books, but the fact is I never bought them to begin with.
I didn't even crack the pages of What to Expect When You're Expecting and not once did I step foot into a Lamaze class. My only experience with children was the few times I'd held my out-of-town cousins when they were babies and I had been quick to pass them off at the slightest grunt or stinky diaper discovery.
I was destined to be a bad mom.
I got off on the wrong foot from the beginning when I gained ** lbs (yea, you wish you knew ;) during the pregnancy because I gave into my cravings for sugar and Taco Bell bean burritos and found it difficult to exercise with a growing waistline and waining energy level. I didn't take my multi-vitamins religiously and I was known to drink some coffee on more than one occasion.
Never once did I read to my child en utero and didn't bother to put headphones over my belly to fill his ears with Beethoven's 9th.
Surely my child was doomed.
I ate lunch meat without heating it and I'm certain I consumed some Crystal Light at some point during that 9 month stretch. I travelled out of the country twice and even did a 2,000 mile road trip at eight and a half months.
Someone should have called Child Protective Services and had them standing by.
As the delivery date approached, I was suddenly confronted with the controversy of hospital deliveries vs. birthing centers and didn't even know there was a dispute over epidurals.
Immediately I began filling my mind with all the things I had to do in order to be a "good mom" and ensure my child didn't become scarred for life in the first few moments after his delivery when he was surrounded by beeping machines and didn't make immediate contact with his mother's skin. I was convinced my child would arrive with only 7 fingers and possibly no toes at all given my lack of attention to what made for a "healthy" pregnancy.
Stories of superwomen who endured the hard labor pains like champs and didn't think twice--make that once--about anything to ease the pain consumed me as I convinced myself if I didn't do it that way, I was an indisputable failure as a woman. After all, we were "made to do this"!
You can then imagine my dilemma when my doctor suggested I be induced because my hips hadn't shifted. "Induction" is almost a curse word these days. The controversy is merciless. I nearly gave myself an ulcer before deciding to heed my doctors advice. After scheduling my induction I beat myself up wondering if I had done the right thing. My reasoning seemed to fall on skeptical ears when I would suggest that God had given doctors wisdom and my doctor had certainly gained more experience in this than I had.
This poor child.
So, I had made my decision but thought I would suffice those critics by going "all natural". Bring it on labor pain! After all, women had done it for hundreds of years and that pain was nothing for my steel resolve!
Until I hit 6cm, the contractions where a minute long every two minutes and I was told it'd likely be another 5-6 hours followed by 2 hours of pushing. At that point, I was on the verge of cussing if they didn't do something quick!
So an epidural it was and to make matters worse, I didn't feel a twinge of guilt as I lay there within moments of getting my "happy juice" free of the torment that I had endured only moments before.
What was wrong with me? I should have been guilt-ridden!
To top it all off, my son was stubborn as a horse and refused to drop. After 13 hours of labor came the dreaded words. The words that everyone had said would happened if I weas induced. The words that would "deprive me of my birthing experience". The words that would no doubt make my son a rebellious, D-student one day because his mother had failed to do what women were made to do.
I would have a cesarean section.
So they wheeled me to the OR, prepped me for surgery, and asked if I was ready. "Ready as I'll ever be," I thought to myself. Just minutes later I was staring at my little boy for the first time as the doctor held him in front of me. But within seconds he was taken to a little table to be examined, poked, and prodded. This child would no doubt be scarred. After all, he wasn't held by his mother for at least the first 45 minutes and who knows what was going through his mind. He probably thought he wasn't loved and immediately got a complex that was irreversible and.........................
Those were my thoughts.
But the moment I held that boy in my arms, those thoughts were out the window. Every one of them. He was perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes. His heart was good. His lungs were strong. He had survived and arrived a healthy baby despite my lack of following "the rules". Despite my lack of reading and class taking. Despite my worries and doubts. He had made it.
That's when it hit me. It wasn't me who was making this baby. It wasn't me who was calling the shots and forming his little body. It wasn't up to me how he arrived. There was a much Higher Power at work and no book reading or rule following could alter that.
I didn't go wrong with not following the modern day idea of the ideal pregnancy. Women had healthy babies long before these ideas and rules surfaced and the human race is proof of that. But where I went wrong was not having faith in the hands of the Almighty God. I doubted HIS ability to give us a healthy baby boy when I doubted my ability to carry him.
Sure there are important precautions that we should take. God did give us brains. But I learned a lot about pregnancy and being a mom and it didn't come from the experts. It came from holding that boy in my arms and realizing he was God's.
I just get the privilege of loving him as his Mama. And no expert mom or book can change that.