Here’s what I felt more than anything after the birth of my fourth nearly two months ago: so, so grateful.
I’ve felt very lucky to have had mostly positive experiences in pregnancy and childbirth, even if at times there has also been frustration, stress, and fear. My heart goes out to women and their partners who have experienced true trauma, pain, fear and loss – I don’t take for granted that the road for me has been smooth.
That said, here’s a little word on my most recent childbirth.
After Nettles was born, I realized something. All three of my previous births had turned out to be a good indicator of the child’s personality, which we only came to know deeply later on. I don’t know if that is some kind of hindsight bias, but reading the old birth stories and knowing my kids now makes it clear there is some kind of correlation.
If that proves true for number 4, then perhaps we can say that she is a ‘tachlis’, no-bullshit, in control and chill kind of person. That’s how it was.
We learned from Nettles that chances are it would be pretty quick this time too. So we went in prepared. Once again, I could not have a home birth unfortunately. This birth was like Nettles’ but with much less intensity.
I woke up at 3:30 am with a contraction and a cool head and, waited for two more – about twenty minutes later. Then I woke up huz. Next, called our midwife/doula, who promptly came over. She checked me out – 8.5 already.
“You must have been walking around in labor the last few days!”, which, if you know my work life, is probably just generally true for the last two years.
We had to make a call. Last time, I was 9.5 when I got to the hospital. Would I make it that far this time?
So the options were – drive and make it, drive and birth in the car, or stay home to birth and go by ambulance after. We chose the first.
We made it… calmly out of the car, calmly to the ward, calmly responded to 35734896 interview questions. I will point out, once again, the antibiotics situation was bullshit and I would have been better off at home with the proper antibiotics through an IV as needed, but I’m at peace with it.
Within three hours, in time for sunrise, my biggest by by a pound – 3.5 kilo – baby girl was out and into my arms (one after the other – first time I grabbed the newborn myself!). I had an absolutely lovely and encouraging midwife at Hadassah Ein Kerem. Don’t underestimate the value of excellent bedside manner.
One thing is for sure: when it’s the fourth, a major thought going on during pushing is ‘shit, I am TIRED.’ Like, existentially tired.
Like – I had to buy a seven-seater car tired.
Like – I have so many children now I have to keep track, tired.
Like – yeah I’m so tired but I’m actually also in control and calm and can think this through clearly, tired.
But it ends.
And when it was over, I looked at her and thought, so – is our experience symbolic of your personality?
We’ll find out.