Wednesday, May 2, 2007

First Time Motherhood

I was born yearning to become a mother. I remember continuing to play with dolls late into my childhood, imagining so intensely that they were my real little babies. As the oldest and only girl in the family, I was privileged to participate in the joys of nurturing real babies starting with my first brother, 18 months younger than me, down to my fifth brother, 17 years my junior. In our family, breastfeeding was the only way to feed a baby. My mother tandem nursed my brother and me side by side, I observed my mother breastfeeding my twin brothers past their second birthdays, and, in my teen years, I had a more mature view as my youngest brothers, born 16 months apart, were breastfed. My mother had a natural attitude and manner about breastfeeding. Her availability to each of her children was pronounced in so many ways, beginning at the breast when we were young and developing into so much more as we grew.

For 25 years, I dreamt of becoming a mother. My first, A., was born in 2001 and weighed 9 lbs. She was a 43 week baby and I was induced. That was rough. I didn't have the dream 100% natural birth I'd wanted because labor did not progress at first and they kept cranking up the pitocin! Finally after 12 hours I caved in and took the epidural... everything happened after that - I relaxed, I dilated and I was able to push her out in a *mere* 3 hours even with a fairly liberal episiotomy! I remember not feeling the contractions and having to fake it – pushing according to the monitors. She was obviously "overcooked", peeling, super-long finger/toe nails, scrawny.... the placenta was calcified and looked like one side was covered in bone! All of the staff on the OB floor came into my room to stare at it! I hemorrhaged which was pretty scary. The medical staff pumped me full of fluids, packed me with ice and kept pushing on my abdomen until the bleeding was under control and they could stitch me up.

After the long and tedious labor, my daughter, A., latched onto me with vigor and only stopped suckling when the midwives took her to be examined while I recovered from the hemorrhage. Our breastfeeding relationship continued strong and we co-slept.

She is now a beautiful 5 and a half year old kindergardner believe it or not. She is the epitome of girly-girl! Pink and purple are her favorite colors and playing with dolls, making beaded jewelry, and drawing princesses are some of her favorite activities. Being a girly-girl doesn’t stop her from collecting snails and bugs in the garden as my firstborn daughter is also a nature enthusiast. She spends hours outdoors speaking with the butterflies and plucking flowers.

She is the one who made me a mother. We spent a full 17 months enjoying each other. She only left my arms to explore the world and rarely sat in a stroller and always wanted to be in the sling. When she was eight months old I became pregnant again....

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