MOMS I Love Giving Birth! Sarah Sophie Flicker

I love giving birth! I really do. If I could give birth everyday without having to be pregnant, I would. Okay, that’s an overstatement, but the two times I’ve done it have been the best two days of my life.

That said, I’ve had two “easy” pregnancies and two “natural” births that went off without much of a hitch. I know that had things been different, I might feel differently. People give you all sorts of crazy advice when you are pregnant. Truly unsolicited, wacky, forthright advice. I want to write more about this later, but I think a lot of this free flowing advice/judgment/pregnant lady juju that you get has a lot to do with the high stakes that we, especially women, feel surrounding anything to do with parenting and child rearing.

Really, there’s nothing I will ever do that will be more important to me than my children. Most mothers feel this way. So it makes sense that we will want our choices to be the right ones. The seriousness and intensity of being a parent makes us all a little know it all-y because we need to feel that we have done right by our kids. I tried to keep this in mind when I had someone telling me that I HAD to have an epidural or that I HAD to have water birth or a home birth or a hospital birth or a scheduled c-section or whatever their preference was. We all just want to feel that we did the right thing, and this begins with how we bring our child into the world in the moment of their birth.

All this passionate advice really leads a girl to think she has to make a choice about how her birth will be. I felt the pressure that first time around. A few arguments had me thinking that I definitely would want a drug-free, natural birth. At other times I was convinced I should march right in and get an epidural immediately. Then, as my daughter’s due date become closer, I really began to feel like it was most important to be present in the moment and just listen to the signals my body was sending me! I am so thankful that this idea dawned on me and stuck with me. We tend to forget whilst pregnant that every single human on this planet got here the same way that my kids will. Millions of women have done this before me and millions will do it after. Our bodies are built for this. Why not lean back and enjoy as much of it as possible, let our bodies to the work and get our heads out of the way for once?

So, when my water broke two weeks early (Both times! Weird, right?), I took my time, showered, washed and styled my hair (yep, and I was so glad I did!), thoughtfully packed my hospital bag and moseyed on down to the hospital. Somehow it was in my head that this event was out of my jurisdiction and it felt sort of nice to have a day that was entirely not in my control! I really felt very relaxed but also conscious of the fact that something amazing was happening. My life, my husband’s life and what we had built together were all about to change.

That first time, I sucked it up and dealt with the bitter pain for 12 hours and then got the epidural. I ended up getting an epidural both times. The pain can only be described as a bitter acid coursing through your body and singeing your nerves. It really, really does deeply suck as much as they say. The epidural is a big, big, big relief. I went from writhing in pain to watching Chris Mathews and dozing, only to wake to find that it was time to push! This is an exciting moment; the energy in the room lights up in a flame of movement, technology, hustling nurses, but I just felt calm in the eye of the storm.

With my daughter’s delivery, we had an intern come in and ask if he could  “participate in our birth”. My husband and I were so elated already that we said sure, the more the merrier! This kid internist played a special role – while pushing, if I was losing my finesse, he would say, “Come on, Sarah, finish strong, finish strong!” My husband Jesse and I love that and we still say it each other all the time. It’s a good one – we all should finish strong in general. Why not? It’s patently lame to finish weak, so I say, “Nice going kid internist! Good slogan!”

Back to pushing – this is an important piece of advice. I was feeling a little stuck, pun intended, and the nurse told me to close my eyes and imagine that I was in woods, constipated and trying to poop in a hole in the ground, which was what my goal should be. Find those desperately constipated muscles and use them! And you know what? It worked! A few moments later I had pushed my daughter out and she was laying in my arms as my husband and I cried over the miracle of it, the beauty of her, the instant love we felt, the kind of love neither of us had felt before. Deep, deep, gut-crushing soul love. That moment is the best, her skin on my skin, our eyes locked, she’s shimmying up to my boob (because they instinctually know where to go) and I’m feeding my daughter! I instinctually know what do, too! Holy smokes, who woulda thunk it? That’s not to say that breastfeeding is easy – it’s not for me at least. But all in all, it is a miracle and the best moment I’ve had.

With my son, it was just the same. I thought it couldn’t be as magical and momentous as the first time but it truly was. Granted, he came out a little faster and I knew which constipated butt muscles to engage but when he was placed on my chest, all warm and gooey and gorgeous and needing me, again my heart swelled and made more room for my little boyoyoy (that’s what we call him, “the boyoyoy”. My husband and I stared and stared and felt near exploding with awe at the wonder of loving this hard again.

This is good stuff, right? My heart just took a big breath remembering it all. I guess my only point is to not have a plan. Do whatever feels right to you in that moment because only your body can tell you what it needs and how things are going to go down. There’s all sorts of other super gross stuff that happens after anyway, just enjoy the moment of glory. The gross stuff isn’t really that bad anyhow, if you can get someone to level with you. I’ll just say this: the placenta looks like the sea monster they dreg up at the end of La Dolce Vita, gross, and it comes out of your body, double gross. Ahem, I will also tell you, because I am a good friend, that your vagina takes on another zip code. Things get really big down there but all goes right back to normal after a day or two. Just enjoy sitting on some ice packs and regular business will resume shortly.

None of this stuff really matters though. The real importance lies in the fact that you just did something amazing! More amazing than running in a marathon or winning Olympic Gold, more amazing than any career success you could make up in your wildest dreams, you have made a life! And it came out of you, you weird pod person! Isn’t that just the craziest thing you’ve ever heard???? I still look at my kids and my eyes start crossing when I remember that I cooked them in my tummy for 9 months.

I’m just leaving you with the thought that it’s great to focus on your pregnancy, it’s great to use the 9 months to be good to yourself and it’s great to focus on your birth and prepare for it the best you can. But your pregnancy lasts just nine months and your birth lasts just one day. Your child will be with you for the rest of your life. Sometimes I wish that we focused more on that! There’s no one perfect way to have a baby. I think that whatever the route you take, walk away from it feeling empowered and proud. Enjoy your birth, it will be over before you know it, and the pain disappears the second you hold your child. Do whatever way feels best to you and don’t forget to have the best day of your life! Whatever that means to you. There is so much fear surrounding childbirth. My hope is to open up the dialogue and get ladies – and gentlemen – talking about it. It’s something we don’t do nearly enough!

I’d love to hear some birth stories up in this blog! Thanks for reading mine!

Love,
Sarah Sophie

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  1. I love this article. I myself loved giving birth. I loved the feeling of being in labor. All the excitment surrounding me. The anxiety of my little one about to be in my arms. August 2nd, 2011 a beautiful baby boy had been placed into my arms…. and he was all mine. I even thought of being a serigate mother because pregnancy and birth are unexplainable feelings!!!!

  2. I’m 33 weeks pregnant with my first child, a boy, and reading this has been so reassuring! Up until a few weeks ago I had felt pretty calm about childbirth, after all it was months away, but lately the reality of the pain I could endure really sunk in. I read several horror stories and as a result I had been feeling a bit panicked. This article put all of that to rest. I especially enjoyed this piece, “Somehow it was in my head that this event was out of my jurisdiction and it felt sort of nice to have a day that was entirely not in my control! I really felt very relaxed but also conscious of the fact that something amazing was happening.” This idea that I am wonderfully not in control and that I need to just trust my body (which is made for this!) has really resonated with me. Every time I felt anxious in the last couple of days I thought of your words, they’ve become like my mantra. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and beautiful experiences! xx

  3. Lovely article! I just gave birth to my first son in May, and I would dare say it was a magical experience. My husband and I took a Bradley birthing method class, and our goal was a natural, non-medicated birth. Everything went so well, and it really was an empowering experience. I achieved my goal of a non-medicated birth, and after it was over, I said, “I could do that again.” I loved being able to feel everything, and it was instant pain relief when he came out! Pushing was a relief after transition, which is straight up crazy time. I pushed for about 10 minutes before he was born. Our son’s labor and delivery was definitely a wonderful bonding time for me and my husband. I couldn’t have done it without him. I highly recommend Bradley classes; knowing what to expect in labor is invaluable!

    Now, once we got him home, we had no idea what to do and those first two weeks were tough! We definitely made the mistake of focusing more on the birth rather than what to do with him once we got him home. But, he’s now 12 weeks old, and things are wonderful!

  4. Thank you all! This is so amazing. I’m loving all your stories and relating to them all! I guess the next step is writing about the scariness of being a first time mom! It definitely gets easier the second time around, don’t you think? Have a wonderful day all and thank you for sharing. XO

  5. Thank you so much for this article. My first child is almost a month old, so her birth is very fresh in my memory!

    The main part of what you wrote that I loved though was about the pressure that women put on each other — I expected going into my pregnancy that people would be weirdly judgmental about all the various choices there are to make, but the way you described the often-good intentions that lie behind them — we all just want to think we’ve made the right choices — gave me pause in a good way.

    While I was pretty good throughout my pregnancy at not letting people’s opinions affect me, I find myself a lot more fragile and unsure now, because, dammit, there’s this little BABY depending on me now, and I just want to do right by her. So just having the reminder that we’re all just trying to figure out the right thing to do, including me — it’s what I needed to hear tonight. :)

  6. This was wonderful. After coming back from BlogHer this weekend where one woman shared her story of how she broke her pelvis during labor, this was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you!

  7. This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thanks <3

  8. Lovely story. Thanks for sharing. I’m excited for what’s ahead in just 23 wks!

  9. Wow…just wow.
    My daughter will be 17 in September but this just brought all of it back for me :)
    I was sick for 6 out of my 9 months but made up for it with one of the easiest births ever. I was in labor for 5 hrs before I even realized it was labor and not gas lol
    then, when I got to the hospital I just laid there for 4 more hrs then decided I might as well have some drugs because the pain was getting annoying
    then 1 1/2 hrs later my daughter was there, I only pushed for about 20 mins
    of course then there was the fact that I tore up pretty bad and had sciatica on my left side so badly that I could not move my left leg for about a month afterward even with Tylenol3 and had to do ladies pushups 3x a day to alleviate the symptoms.
    But yes, none of that has mattered and just like you I let my body tell me what it needed and just like you I didn’t stress out at all, just let it happen.
    The hardest part has been to decide how to parent and not let others influence me there either.

  10. I’m due any day now and have gone from “I’m totally not worrying cause it will happen no matter what” to “Holy Cow! I’m so scared and everyone says the pain is crazy, maybe I do want an epidural” and back and forth. Right now, I want an unmedicated labor/birth. I really don’t want a c-section, but I know a lot of them can’t be helped. After reading this, I’m going to bear the pain as long as I can, and if it means getting an epidural, then so be it. (I don’t want one because I am afraid of it not taking. I have tailbone problems and don’t want to be stuck in bed with a hurting tailbone on top of labor pain). I’m looking forward to the birth because I want to hold her so bad and love on her (plus it is August and I’m sick of being pregnant). I’m really glad I read your story and it helped me remember again that whatever happens, happens – it will just be my story and there is no reason to be upset over it or worry about people judging me. I can’t wait to share the birth story! Bring on the baby!

  11. That was a really beautiful article. Being my weepy self, I both cried and laughed – especially at that bit about “Finish Strong!”.
    I’ve never given birth and although I’ve always planned to have kids, I’ve also always been very apprehensive about it. Logically I know what my body can do, and I know how many other women have successfully done it.. but I still find myself fearing the pain and the potential complications.
    After reading this article though.. the utter honesty and wisdom of it, I feel reassured. I only hope I can remember your words of wisdom when my time comes.. whenever that will be. :]

  12. Beautiful post! I wish my midwife would have instructed me as that nurse did you. Labor was manageable, even without the epidural, but I could not get the hang of pushing! I pushed for over two hours and even after she was out I have no idea how I did it! Next time: I’m in the woods, constipated ; )

  13. I had my daughter at a birthing center with the midwife who delivered me! It was such a calm and relaxing environment. Another woman was birthing in the main room so I was on a hide-a-bed in Nancy’s (the midwife) office. My husband, mom and big sister were there and that’s all I needed! I didn’t go to birthing classes because well, I wasn’t apprehensive about it at all. I knew that my body could do amazing things. My stomach had already stretched beyond belief, why couldn’t my J do it too? I contracted for two hours and Nancy broke my water when I was 8 cm, Peyton was here 10 minutes later! She was as gorgeous and perfect as you describe your babies.
    Thanks for the story! It brought me back to almost a year ago when I had my darling girl. I can’t wait to do it again!!

  14. I’ve had 3 babies, and have three totally different birth stories and the only advice I give people is “Don’t plan, you can’t”

  15. Thank you for sharing your beautiful birth stories with us, I really enjoyed it! I’m pregnant with my 2nd. a boy and honestly, I was scared poopless about the approaching labor and delivery. With my daughter, I was induced because I had preeclampsia, which I believe is why my labor was a heck of a lot tougher. After 28 hours labor and two and half hours of pushing I gave birth to a healthy 8 lb 10 oz baby girl. Of course, all that pain was worth it to have my beautiful girl and it will be worth it all again for my boy. I was just fearful of enduring that pain and scared that I may have preeclampsia again. When you wrote: Your pregnancy lasts just nine months and your birth lasts just one day. Your child will be with you for the rest of your life. It really put things into prospective for me. Women have been blessed with a power to create a beautiful precious life and giving birth is something entrusted to only us. After reading this, I feel a little more empowered and hopeful about my delivery. Even if I do have Thank you for sharing your beautiful birth stories with us, I really enjoyed it! I’m pregnant with my 2nd. a boy and honestly, I was scared poopless about the approaching labor and delivery. With my daughter, I was induced because I had preeclampsia, which I believe is why my labor was a heck of a lot tougher. After 28 hours labor and two and half hours of pushing I gave birth to a healthy 8 lb 10 oz baby girl. Of course, all that pain was worth it to have my beautiful girl and it will be worth it all again for my boy. I was just fearful of enduring that pain and scared that I may have the preeclampsia again. When you wrote: Your pregnancy lasts just nine months and your birth lasts just one day. Your child will be with you for the rest of your life. It really put things in prospect for me. The pain is temporary but so worth it. Women have been blessed with a power to create beautiful perfect beings and giving birth is something entrusted to us. After reading this, I feel a little more empowered and hopeful about my delivery. Even if I do have preeclampsia a second time around, I will brave through it. No pain, no gain! Thank you again for sharing your beautiful story. God bless!

  16. The both births two weeks early wasn’t weird. Cause when my water broke with my oldest at 36 weeks I thought..”ooook” & then my second was also at 36 weeks I was like “coincident”….but then by my third I knew ok, I’m gonna go at 36 weeks, I’m gonna take forever & go to 5cm, then *bam* I’m gonna go to 10cm immiediately! & I did. Just as I did with the other two. All pregnancies are different but births are normally, for the most part, the same for each individual. My son (my last) was full on natural & my easiest birth, my oldest daughter the hardest S she was my first & my second was easy…I was able to hold her in as I waited for the doctor to get back from another hospital 20 minutes away!!! ( no easy task!!! & more painful than pushing) I got an epidural with all if them but in every pregnancy it ended up natural. Medicines wore off or didn’t take effect but my son was the only one I felt transition with…it was gnarly! Men should be jealous of what we can do =)

  17. Congratulations! I’m still rather young and have never given birth and don’t plan to for quite awhile, but I enjoyed reading this. I remember when my mom had my brother Wyatt my kindergarten teacher that we are really close to came to get me from the playground and told me that my mom had just gave birth to my baby brother. As soon as I heard it was a boy I bawled my eyes out b/c I wanted a sister so bad (Wyatt was supposed to be a girl). However, I took care of Wyatt when he was a baby b/c his crib was in my room so when he’d wake up I’d wake up. And I think taking care of my brothers when they were little gave me some experience, like being careful when you change a boys diaper b/c they spray (I got peed on by my brother Cole).

  18. Thank you so much for this. I always felt I was “robbed” of the birth experience I wanted since my son felt the need to come out face first instead of crown first. Thus, emergency c-section so as not to break his neck. I loved “there’s no one perfect way to have a baby”. Maybe now I can realize just because his birth wasn’t perfect doesn’t mean he isn’t, because he is. :)

  19. When I was pregnant with my son I listened to all kinds of advice. I took the Lamaze class and listened to a friend of mine that just had a baby 3 months prior. She told me to eat something before I went to the hospital because I wouldn’t get anything but ice chips until after I had given birth. So the day my contractions started coming regularly, I made 2 bologna and cheese sandwiches and scarfed those before heading off to the hospital. Once there I began my apparently botched version of Lamaze. I eventually got dizzy and sick to my stomach. A friend of the family I called to come be part of the birth walks in the room just in time to watch me blow bologna and cheese chunks all over my hospital bed. I spent the remainder of the 18 hour labor just trying to breathe as normally as possible, and I didn’t eat a damn thing before having my second child (daughter<3)
    .