October 15th, 2000. I woke up nauseous again this morning. I wasn’t sure why I was feeling this way, but I had major concerns that it was related to my period that was significantly late. I had been under a lot of stress, so I had been blaming everything on that. But this was the morning that my boyfriend, Lem, handed me a pregnancy test. He had the same concerns.
I really didn’t want to take the test. I really did not want to be a mom. Not yet, maybe not ever. I was 25 years old and had been dating my boyfriend for a year. Things were going well, but neither of us were interested in sealing the deal with a baby. I didn’t like babies. They scared me. I was never a good baby sitter. And the lifelong commitment to raising a child sent me into a panic. Lem had actually said that he would rather cut off a limb that have a child. We were that scared.
I took the test into the bathroom. I remember thinking about everything that would change if I was pregnant. I was raised in a fundamental Christian family, and seeing as how we were not married, the idea of telling my parents that I was knocked up was not a happy thought. Not to mention the nightlife that I so enjoyed.
I met Lem in the local band scene. He was putting together a benefit concert and was looking for female led bands. We met for a beer/interview at a local pub. He wanted to include the band that I was in, and was writing an article about it. During our conversation, we realized how much we had in common. It was uncanny. We started dating a couple of weeks later.
Back to the pregnancy test. As you can probably guess, the results were positive. I was prego. Knocked up. I had a bun in the oven. As reality sunk in, I looked into my cigarette pack. There were three cigarettes left after the one that I had just smoked while waiting for the test results. Lem and I spent quite a few minutes just staring at each other in shock. We hadn’t even made the move to live with each other, and now we were going to be parents. And I had to go to work in a couple of hours.
At that time, I was working as a bartender, which I hated. I had recently lost my job when the business I worked for went under. I took the bartending position because it was the only thing that I could find. Plus I could smoke on the job, which was a perk before I got pregnant. But, as I looked at my three little cigarettes I decided that I would NOT smoke with a big belly. I knew better. I was going to quit.
I turned in my two week notice that day because I knew I couldn’t quit if I was around bar smoke, and made those three cigarettes last almost a week. True, I would bum a hit off of a cigarette here and there during the rest of my pregnancy, but I would guess that I only smoked 15 cigarettes TOTAL after I found out that I was going to be a mom. That’s a far cry from the pack and a half a day habit I had.
And that is how I found out that I was going to be a mother. During my pregnancy I found a great book, Birthing From Within. I really identified with the notion that humans are mammals. Our bodies are not only capable of creating and growing a baby, but also completely capable of birthing that baby. I read a lot of books about birthing techniques and became fascinated with the statistics regarding interventions. It became quickly apparent to me that interventions are something to avoid. As my baby grew inside of me, my love for him grew. I wanted to have a safe, natural birth for his safety. For these reasons, we chose to work with a midwife, and hired a doula.
My little Ezra was born on May 28th, 2001. He was 9 lbs. 1 oz. and born the way that nature intended…uninduced, unmedicated, without any interventions. I gave birth completely naked, and it was beautiful! I felt like Super Woman! As I held him for the first time, I remember again feeling that fear. Here he was, completely our responsibility. I was awed by his little fingers and toes. When he looked at me for the first time, I was completely in love.
Ezra is now 10 years old. I never went back to smoking. He has been joined by his little brother Levi, who is 4. I should add that Levi was a surprise, as well, because we had decided to do the only child thing. But life is continuing to teach us how to be flexible.
As someone who believes very firmly in natural birth, I had another lesson in flexibility to learn when Levi was born. He was breach. And determined to stay that way. I tried everything that I could to try to encourage him to turn. We put one end of the couch on blocks and I would sleep with my head at the low end. I did hand stands in the pool. I put ice packs where his little head was to encourage him to move to a warmer climate. I even tried the flashlight (sterilized, of course) method. My incredible midwife and a fantasticly fierce female doctor tried their darndest to move my son, but he was stuck, stuck, stuck.
On February 5th, 2008, I allowed the doctors to perform a c-section. I cried at my failure, but I knew that I was making the right choice. My son was worth going through abdominal surgery. At the end I was glad with my decision, because he had his chord wrapped twice around his neck. Had I attempted to give birth vaginally, he might have died. I laugh a little, now, because Levi (who came “out of the sunroof”) is really into cars.
Lem and I are now married, and I am a happy stay at home mom. I volunteer at my sons’ schools. I work as an election official, and have had more than one person tell me that I should consider running for local office. I may even be the PTO president someday. I am nothing like the person who took that pregnancy test all those years ago. But every change that has happened in me is good change.
I am an activist, lactivist, intactivist, and more. I know that I am stronger than I ever could have been without kids. My children give a reason to get up, get moving, and make things happen. I am working hard to make the world a better place for them and their future kids.
Note: I should add that I have faced many obstacles in life. I am slightly bi-polar, double depressed, and have dealt with ocd my entire life. I also have trichotillomania. I should be stuck in bed unable to live a normal life, but I will not let that happen. Before my kids, I self medicated, and that most likely would have been the death of me. My boys have given me the ultimate reason to stay healthy.
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