Arabella has arrived! It is exactly one month since the birth of my baby girl and finally I am able to sit down and share our story with you. The past month has been one of the best, maybe the best, of my entire life… but as seems to be the case for this entire journey, the road was not a particularly easy one.
It was July 19 when I first started feeling minor contractions that were different than the Braxton Hicks I had been feeling for months, the pain was mainly in my back and something just didn’t seem right. I went to labor and delivery on the 20th and they said it was too early and were about to send me home when a gush of fluid (like the kind you see in a movie) came out. I was quickly moved to a birthing room and the process started. The pain in my back began to intensify and then I began having full blown back labor. The pain in my back was so intense that I could not even feel contractions in my stomach, just my back. It turns out baby girl was facing backwards and her head was resting on my spine. She was unable to drop into my pelvis and so I could not dilate properly- I was given pitocin to try to rectify the situation, but it just wasn’t working. After about 8 hours of this, the doctor suggested they preform a cesarean section, this was the absolute last thing I wanted to happen. However, as soon as it was explained that it was not only best for me, but for my child, I consented to the procedure. The spinal block was administered and the procedure began. I remember while being in a twilight like state and looking into Rich’s eyes, that it was astounding that I had such options. Once baby was safely out of my abdomen they began to put me back together. I was not able to hold baby immediately, so her first skin-to-skin was with Rich. I was still on the table in a similar position as you typically see with Jesus on the cross. Within 20 minutes I was back in my room and breast feeding- and that has been her favorite activity ever since.
I was surprised at how many people seemed saddened by my situation. I received many apologies, some going as far as to say it was a shame I was unable to “give birth”. For the record, that is a bunch of b.s. . Sure, natural birth was not an option but I am thankful that medical science was there to intervene. I still feel that I birthed a child that day and no one will ever convince me otherwise.
Since my Atheism was not known by the nurses, residents and physicians I received many comments about my “little angel” who is “such a blessing”. I did not use this as an opportunity to chastise them for disrespecting me and my lack-of belief. Anyone who has read my blogs will already know that is not my style. Instead I thanked them and thought, she may not be a gift from God but she is a gift from the medical community. From the moment I conceived to the moment I delivered medical science was involved. I could not have done it without the perseverance of doctors, researchers and scientists. So I thank you all for my baby girl- you have changed my life.
As Arabella grows I hope to pass on to her the secular values that I hold so dear. I want to show her that just because someone may feel differently than you do, it doesn’t make them a bad person or a stupid person, it just means that they have had a different journey than we have. I want her to know that bashing those who believe is never the answer, but taking the time to hear them out and educate them is likely to go a long way. People always ask what we will do if she decides to take a different path than we have and chooses to believe. Well the answer is that I will respect her, I will love her, and I will only expect the same in return.