Labor Day

This is my Labor Day – the day I labored from midnight to midnight working to get my baby to come out of my body. I didn’t know whether the baby was a boy or girl, and, of course, I had no idea of what I was getting into with parenting.

I felt tremendously empowered when in labor. True to my extroverted nature, my labor and birth was a group effort: two doulas, a midwife in training, a real midwife, and my husband. And a partridge in a pear tree. Just kidding. But having those five people around me in labor made me feel protected, supported, and loved.

I labored at home for over 24 hours, hoping to ultimately give birth there. Even though I didn’t push her out there, I treasure my memories of laboring in every room of our house, except the basement and including the backyard. I remember my doula jumping into my bed with me in very early labor, positioning me on my side with pillows at my back and supporting my legs – I felt instantaneously better. She was – and is – the best.

It’s a good thing we had 10 hands in the house when it came time to set up the birthing pool (I know). For some reason, the hose set-up wasn’t working, so my helpers had to hand-carry bucket-fulls of water from the kitchen to the dining room to fill the pool. Then my midwife helped me in and I swirled around for what seemed like hours… wanting to push so badly, but waiting to dilate more.

During labor, I couldn’t think. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t think about what time it was, how long I had been laboring, what to try next, even what was happening in my body. I didn’t want to listen to any music; it would trigger a part of brain I couldn’t afford to spend. I needed to focus. Having all these folks around me to make decisions and come up with ideas really made this possible.

Being in labor pulled me into the present moment in a dramatic way. I am grateful for it.

My dear husband says I didn’t open my eyes for 24 hours, and it’s true. I was really inside myself, trying to stay focused and not becoming overwhelmed at the magnitude of what was happening to me.

Today, I could use this focus; staying in the present moment remains a challenge for me. But I know I can do it. Because I did it on Labor Day.


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