December 19, 2008


There's a funny phenomenon when women, particularly mommies, get together. We begin the discussion with politics, maybe some local news. Then we get into how our day was, and how the kids are doing and what are you getting the teacher for Christmas? Then the conversation shifts, and it turns to birth stories.

I love birth stories. I love hearing about natural vs. medicated vs. c-section vs. however else you chose to do things. LOVE IT.

And every now and then I'll offer up my own experiences and get, well,

What I'm realizing is MY normal, is NOT normal. at all.

In my opinion, my pregnancies weren't all that bad. That being said, none of them were all that good. They were not easy. I'm still dealing with the repercussions of having 4 babies in 4 years.

I can't tell you which of my pregnancies was the easiest. They were all pretty wretched. I think my best delivery was Blayne. The most painful was Daniel. Thaddeus, phew. I honestly don't remember what happened in that room; all the sudden, I was drugged and people were flying in and out and teams were being called, and then I woke up to a nurse who said "Honey, you have a GOOD. STORY."

I had no idea what that meant at the time. Now I do.

But what amazes me is how simple the birth process can be.

I'm amazed that women can have a natural childbirth, without complications.

I'm amazed that women can carry a baby for a full 40 weeks. I've never done that, and I never will.

I'm amazed that people don't get admitted to the hospital after giving birth, and that they don't need any additional surgeries, or procedures.

I'm awed by their stories. Envious of their experience.

Envious that they had a baby, and didn't tear to kingdom come, get sewn up, only to discover that a vein had burst, have the stitches taken back out, and then put back in again.

Envious that they only bled for a couple weeks afterwards, and not a couple months.

Envious that they were able to call their own shots. That they could have the kind of experience they wanted.

Envious that their bodies were able to heal; that they were able to figure out how to work again.

With the surgery date looming over me, I'm experiencing a whole range of emotions. I mean, hysterectomy at age 26 wasn't exactly in my life plan.

So I grieve. I say good bye.

I say good bye to the crib that will never be at the end of my bed again.

I say good bye to the burp cloths, and the receiving blankets, because we'll never be that small again.

Last week when Taylor's shoes no longer fit, I said good bye to size 5 double wide.

And when she turned 18 months, and was old enough for the Nursery class at church, I had to say good bye to the foyer club. Do you know that I haven't been to an actual Sunday School class in 5 years? I've always had a baby to take care of, that was just a little bit too loud, a little bit too wriggly, to let me sit in the adult class and listen.

I try and remember the way those first kicks felt, how they advanced from fluttering to deadly assault seemingly overnight.

I try and remember all the moments, all the firsts.

I smile because it's changed the way I live.

I smile because amidst all the chaos, and all the crazy, I see four bright, shining, beautiful faces smiling back at me.

I smile because even though I'm wiping crayon off the wall, I know that all too soon, there will be no more crayon to wipe.

Soon there will be no more diapers, no more naps, no more tiny hands holding my fingers, no more high pitched voices begging for a "na na na NAAAA na na."

So I smile.

I smile because I'm grateful for my experiences; because I've learned and relearned, and learned again how to STOP rushing, how to SAVOR every moment, how to ENJOY my life, how to JUST. BE.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.