I had a lot of baggage from my first birth. Prior to Myles, giving birth to Simone was simultaneously the best day and the worst day of my entire life. I had this 'terrible' birth. She came five weeks early, before my baby shower, before my birth plan, before I bought a single diaper. I said yes to induction (cytotec) which I now regret, my water was broken without my permission, the epidural was coerced, my doctor said she was going to give me an episiotomy no matter what (when I was 5cm). She was right about that. In addition to my 3rd degree episiotomy, my DD was born with forceps in a room off a NICU and she was whisked away. I didn't see her for an hour, didn't attempt nursing for four hours.
In hindsight, it was not any one intervention that upset me. It was the way I was treated; like an object. I was made to feel ashamed and scared and out of control. It was awful. As soon as it was over and I had my darling baby, it was pure love at first sight, but my initial reaction to the actual birth was that I wanted another try. I wanted to do it again, right that day (isn't that insane?).
It took me months to physically heal, I had lots of pain, and some problems with my stitches. Afterwards I was scared to death of my yearly physical (PTSD), so much so that I didn't go back for one for over two years after her birth. I was emotionally scarred, scars only another birth could heal.
This was my baggage. And when I went to my midwife (not the bitch OBGYN I had with Simone) for the first time after learning about my pregnancy with Myles, I bawled and unloaded all of it. I thought I had a lot, and I wanted to let it go. I had something to prove, to me, to myself, with his birth. Some might think that childbirth is just one day, and it is, but it is a day that you will never forget. A positive birth experience is a powerful thing, and a negative one, well, mine haunted me for years. Thus, I instantly saw my pregnancy with Myles as my second chance, perhaps my last chance, to get it right.
That dream was almost shattered when I went into preterm labor with Myles at 28 weeks. I didn't think there was anything worse than a premature birth, my son in the hospital for 10 weeks. My vision of a natural water birth was gone. My worst case scenario for Myles was premature birth, I never imagined anything worse was out there. I was so naive. But after many weeks of bed rest, battling depression, I achieved my dream. I made it to term. My water birth was once again in sight, and I was SO EXCITED to give birth to my dear son. I did hypnobirthing, and a big part of preparation was imagining and visualizing your perfect birth experience. Imagine I did.
Never did I imagine at 37 weeks to the day, that I would lose my son. Never did I imagine that his heartbeat would be there on a Tuesday and gone on a Friday. But Myles didn't leave without giving me a gift. I got my water birth, except for the most important piece (my sweet boy), it was everything I had ever dreamed and more. It hurt (there is no word adequate to describe the pain of childbirth) but I was surrounded by my loved ones; my caregivers were AMAZING, they wanted whatever I wanted. And I gave birth to my son in an hour, completely naturally, with everyone listening to me and honoring my body and my wishes.
So, Myles gave me the gift of healing. I was able to let go of the fears and worries and questions that haunted me from four long years before. But I didn't just drop off some baggage that day. I picked up some new baggage, baggage I never wanted to carry, baggage that no one should ever have to carry. It's a heavy load, though I've had some help here and there, it is for the most part my burden alone. And it is overwhelming. But the experience; to be simultaneously healed and scarred on the same day, to have my dream birth, and lose my dream baby. Well, it was the worst day and the best day of my entire life. It was the day I met and lost my son. It was the day I dropped off what I thought was some major baggage only to find out life had a much greater load waiting for me to haul around this world.
And now I realize, to be pregnant, to give birth, to have a child, is an amazing journey. It is an experience that takes place in that gray area between birth and death; it brings not only fear and immense heartache, but also love and healing and strength. I don't know if I will have another pregnancy, another birth, another baby. But I do know that it is all worth it. This is life, and it's cruel AND beautiful, and I'm not going to give up on the beautiful in order to avoid the cruel. So I want another baby, a hundred babies, because they are worth it a million times over. And I'll carry this baggage forever, losing my son will hurt me every day for the rest of my life, but maybe my next baby will help ease my load a little, and maybe (s)he'll have a new lesson for me as well.