I had what would probably be considered an ideal pregnancy. I was in excellent health when we conceived, and remained active throughout. Up until I set foot in the hospital I was in a habit of walking 5 miles and swimming half an hour every single day, eating a healthful (and plentiful) diet, sleeping soundly and staying positive. My weight right before labor was an even 30-pound increase over my pre-pregnancy weight. In fact, I felt stronger and healthier by the end of my pregnancy than I did before it, with a definite increase in muscle mass and stamina. Each of my prenatal appointments was uneventful and routine. Without fail, test after test came back negative or normal. Of course, I had the usual minor discomforts — heartburn, cramping calves, morning sickness (or actually, all-day sickness) in the first trimester, needing assistance with simple personal hygiene tasks — but nothing severe or unbearable.
I know that some moms find it to be a beautiful experience, and god bless ’em, but I find that completely insane. From my perspective, my body was hijacked by forces beyond my control, filled with foreign fluids and gasses and set on a crash course with the foulest and most painful experience I will ever have. I’ve heard some women attribute their love of pregnancy to the positive attention they get from everyone around them. Yes, many people revered my belly as if it had magical powers, but I didn’t find particular pleasure in that. I did however, find great annoyance in the amount of unsolicited advice I attracted. Strangers felt it prudent to tell me everything that I should and shouldn’t be doing and how it related to them. While most chimed in with friendly advice and had the best intentions, there were those who gave stern commands, like the woman who scolded me for not wearing a sweater in 60+ degrees, because clearly, I was inviting pneumonia to both myself and my baby. I’m not a huge fan of attention to begin with, but being the center of it in this scenario got especially old, and put me in the spotlight when really I wanted to just fly under the radar until the whole ordeal was over with.
There was one single thing that I liked about being pregnant: knowing that I my baby was being made (regardless of all the punches in the ribs and kicks in the bladder). That thing, I loved. I couldn’t have her ready and out soon enough. Which brings us to labor and delivery.
All I wanted was a natural, unmedicated birth and for it to be over and my baby to be in my arms. Simple, right? Too much to ask? Apparently.
I’m unspeakable glad that it’s all over. However, I do love a good story. And even better, I love a good gross story. I can recount tales of bodily fluids and functions like no other, and this has added an anecdote of blood and guts to my arsenal of stories, and currently the baby is providing me with a few more good poop and vomit narratives. Seriously, invite me to your cocktail party and you’ll see.
Ten years from now, when I’m telling my daughter the story of her birth, I could’ve been saying, “Yours was such a wonderful pregnancy and labor, sweetheart. Nine amazing months, a few short hours of easy contractions and a couple quick pushes and I was staring down at your precious face.” Instead, I get to start my story with, “You almost killed me…” I could pretty much say whatever I want after that: “and you don’t want to clean your room?” “so you better get your homework done,” “so don’t you dare talk back to me, young lady.” But honestly, what I really think I’ll be finishing that sentence with is “and you were worth it.”
I was born and raised in Southern California. After getting a bachelor’s degree in English at UC Berkeley, I bounced back to SoCal and worked at a newspaper for a few years before moving to New York to get a master’s in media studies from the The New School. From there, I hid out in Texas for a year, meeting and marrying my husband. We moved to Seattle for two years and then headed back to Los Angeles to be near family. I had my daughter on 7/7/13 and will do everything in my power to give her a happy life. That is my main job, but on the side I do freelance work editing, writing and doing graphic design. In spare time I like to make art, play drums, go on long aimless walks with my baby in her Bjorn, and wander the world.
Visit Jennifer’s blog, jenniphiliac, for more of her fantastic pieces!