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Monday, March 07, 2011 6:32 AM

My friends Kelly and Eric are having a couples baby shower today. This got me thinking about pregnancy and childbirth and all that fun stuff. Where do I start?

My first pregnancy was a “surprise.” I took six e.p.t.s to be sure, assuming the whole shipment must be defective. It wasn’t.

Once I accepted the reality, I loved being pregnant. It was an absolute calm, a serenity I’d never experienced before.
I had never enjoyed walking into places alone, like a bar or restaurant to meet a friend. When I was pregnant it didn’t bother me – it was like I wasn’t alone. I delighted in feeling the baby kicks from inside me. I’d lie for hours just feeling my protruding belly, wondering what she looked like as she karate chopped in there.

As much as I cherished being pregnant, I also hated being pregnant. I was just one giant mood swing. I cried. Every day. At diaper commercials. Radio commercials. Songs about babies. Billboards. Pants I could no longer wear. You name it. I was a weepy, sobby, not-hot mess (although people said I glowed).

I did not feel attractive as a pregnant woman. I felt dumpy. The maternity clothing selection out there does not help. I don’t believe women prefer to draw more attention to this shape by tying big bows around it and generally attempting to look like a real, live wedding cake.

Which brings me to the nausea. Oh, the nausea. “Morning sickness” is a load of crap, for one thing. It’s “all day sickness.” Crackers and ginger ale were my best friends.

Once it became clear that the end was near and the panic set in, I also had the accompanying “nesting,” as people call it. The night before I gave birth, I made enough food from scratch for my entire apartment complex. And this from a girl who lives on Top Ramen. I didn’t understand but I guess what they say is true about “nesting.” And I hate birds.

Making all that food apparently set the labor into motion. Contractions are no joke. I wanted to kill people. Really. Especially the nurse who, when I was having Adele, didn’t manage to acquire the anesthesiologist in time so Adele, much to my horrific dismay, was all natural. Those moms who say you forget all about the pain once you’re holding your newborn baby? Those moms are liars. I can still remember that pain. I remembered it very well when I felt the first contraction with Eleanor and promised my husband I would murder him if he did not make it his life’s objective to get me that epidural this time. He came through. And it was wonderful. I said it then and I’ll say it again – I’d have done anything for that amazing man who walked into the room and with a giant needle took all my pain away and transported me to a languid, baby-making cloud of happiness. If I could get an epidural every day, I would.

As far as I know, my friend Kelly wants to have her baby naturally, and honestly, the more power to her. I did feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment after I had Adele without the drugs – the days following I was on a high, like I was a superhero. Of course, they did send me home with some good painkillers which could also explain the high. Regardless, I did it, and Kelly can do it, too.

Once they bring that baby to you and you look at that tiny face, those tiny fingers and toes, and hear those tiny baby cries that you created – well, that’s something you will never forget. I can recall exactly how I felt and how perfect and beautiful, ethereal and surreal they were when I saw both of my babies for the first time – indelible flashbulb memories.
I can’t wait for Kelly and Eric to experience that for themselves. Congratulations on the impending best chapter of your lives.

Sara Berelsman lives in Delphos with her husband Andy and their daughters Adele and Eleanor. She teaches college English and psychology courses and sometimes still wears her Gap maternity clothes - they’re comfy.


Last Updated on Thursday, February 28, 2013 11:25 AM

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