You wait the better part of a year and finally, in a dramatic burst of blood, sweat, and tears, it happens: you give birth. Once the dust settles and everyone is confirmed healthy, the adrenaline that has been pumping through your system redirects from determination to euphoria. In that moment, you feel like a star and, like a star at an awards ceremony, you're filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I immediately wanted to thank people after I gave birth, and not just the people directly responsible for a happy outcome. I mean, like, a very wide, extended circle.
I feel like the gratitude I felt after birth was equal parts euphoric and macabre. I was absolutely on cloud nine and in love with my little ones, but I feel like a lot of that gratitude was born of the fact that I was so scared before giving birth, and almost convinced that something "bad" was going to happen. I don't think I ever allowed myself to fully explore that fear, but it evaporated after my children were in my arms and its absence made me feel so light (of course expelling enormous babies with accompanying placentas probably contributed to that lightness as well).
Of course, that pre-birth fear was quickly replaced by other fears (SIDS, kidnapping, failure to thrive, etc.) but that's another story for another day. Today's story is all about that amazing feeling so many of us get following birth. Gratitude! Appreciation! Love of humanity! I wanted to share all that with everyone who had helped me get to this point, including:
This dude did awesome. He was an incredible and invaluable source of comfort, love, and support throughout my entire pregnancy. During my first labor he walked five blocks to go to my favorite bagel place because I needed a pumpernickel bagel with veggie cream cheese "but not from the place across the street but from the really good place." During my second delivery he held my right leg so I could more effectively push. The guy was a champ. He was also responsible for half of the genetic material required to make our two beautiful babies so credit where credit's due.
Full disclosure: I was already fangirling pretty hard on them, but after they helped to squeeze out an 8 and 9 pound baby it went from fangirl to full-on worship. What other reaction can you possibly have to such heroic women? Like, my OB-GYN? She got my stubborn, sunny-side-up, distressed son out of my uterus. Five years later and I still have difficulty making him leave somewhere when he doesn't want to go. Then there was my midwife. There was a baby's head sticking out of my vagina and she helped there not be a baby's head sticking out of my vagina. That's unbelievable.
Specifically the nurse who attended my second birth. I don't mean to be salty, but the nurses at my first birth were not my favorite. But for baby number two? This woman was so damn charismatic and capable and encouraging. I love the hell out of that woman to this day.
In so many ways, these dudes were my favorites, because I really, really, really liked not feeling powerful contractions ever two minutes after I got my epidural (which was administered without a hitch both times). Anesthesiologists are basically mighty wizards: their magical powers fill me with a sense of awe and sweet, sweet relief.
Ben & Jerry
I couldn't really indulge during my second pregnancy — *shakes fist in air* damn you gestational diabetes! — but during my first pregnancy? Oh. Ben, Jerry, and I were in a very happy poly relationship. They were my rich and creamy paramours and I ravaged them every single night.
You know what? I have no regrets, because obviously it was the loads of ice cream that made for such an adorable, chubby, and robust baby boy.
My Family And Friends
Honestly, I wanted to thank them for staying the hell away. Fun fact about me: under normal circumstances, if I am not the center of attention I become surly and resentful. I require, like, all the attention. The only time I have found this is not true is when I am giving birth. If I could just sneak off and do it all on my own, I would be so ridiculously happy. Sadly, however, that is not an option. I have heard horror stories about the well-meaning, over-eager friends and family of laboring mothers flooding the hospital and bursting the delivery room doors down and I was determined that wouldn't happen to me. Fortunately, everyone kept their distance until summoned, and for that I was sincerely grateful.
President Barack Obama
Everyone else seems to thank him, but in a really sarcastic way. So I feel like I'd just want to thank him sincerely. I feel like he'd appreciate it.
Being born is a big deal for everyone involved. I can only imagine it's no picnic for the tiny, cognitively underdeveloped person who is being squeezed out into an unknown world. So it's like, "Thank you, baby, for going along with all this."
Granted, my daughter was way more cooperative than my son (as indicated above) but, hey, in this instance I think I'm OK with a participation trophy.
Everyone else does it, so why not?
Whoever Encouraged Me To Do Kegels
Because no matter how they come out, babies entering the world vaginally does a damn number on your pelvic floor. Thanks to regular kegels I'm pleased to inform you all that my "down there muscles" are healthy and spry.
My Sense Of Embarrassment, Shame, And Modesty
Not technically a person, but I'm going to humanize those feelings just a little bit for the purposes of this list. Pretend they're like one of the characters from Inside Out or something.
Anyway, I don't know if Embarrassment, Shame, and Modesty are actually one person or three, but they all took the day off. Because, folks, I made noises I have never heard from a human before. I shrieked updates about my butt hole. I literally ripped of my clothes and if someone tried to put them back on me I ripped them off again. I pooped on a woman. IDNGAF. Not a single one. So thank you, Embarrassment, Shame, and Modesty, for letting me just do what I needed to do.
The Hospital Kitchen Staff
Those angels crafted the most amazing carb and sugar feast I have ever ingested, which was welcomed and required after months of gestational diabetes.
My Fellow Moms
Had it not been for a close clutch of fabulous mothers and mothers-to-be (not going to lie, largely via social media) I would not have felt nearly as confident going into the delivery room as I did. They gave me a wonderful community in which to I could express my fears, concerns, and questions without judgment.
My Mom, Grandma, And Great Grandma
Because having a child, in my experience, makes you appreciate what your foremothers went through to bring you into the world.
I also want to thank them for my genetically capable pelvis and ample hips.
Because, listen guys: you're all great, but I'm not going to let you take too much credit for my glorious accomplishments.