This afternoon, we basked in the shade at Lake Samish, fretting over misplaced sun hats and delicate toes and burp cloths. We compared diaper brands with four other couples and discussed breastfeeding (or not), sleeping (or not), and who takes a pacifier and who won’t and who never even bothered to try. We told our birth stories, in all their gory glory.
After five months, at last, the members of our childbirth class met for an informal reunion. Funny, how our numbers had swelled by a full third, just like that. Funny, to see women we’d only known at a very late stage in their pregnancy strangely slimmed down and beaming.
When we’d last met, we gave off an air of anticipation – the next time we met, we would all be parents! We would put those breathing patterns to work and shoot those babies right out, wouldn’t we? It would be difficult, delivering, but not that difficult, right?
After telling our stories – interrupting each other constantly with cries of “Me too! Only I didn’t…” or “But I did…” – I was struck by how we all seemed, well, seasoned by the upheaval of the last few months, how the anticipation had burst in one sticky moment and we all found ourselves up to our elbows in the work of caring for a newborn. Ah, the crash course of learning to latch properly and change diapers and soothe the unsoothable and swaddle one-handed and figure out every day who this tiny person is.
Having made it through the woods of the first month, we all emerged from our cocoons only to find that we’d sprouted wings of a lasting, if meek and brand new, kind. Now we can laugh about spit up, sit side by side on a park bench and nurse and buckle the kids into the car seats at the end of the day without wrestling with the straps too much.
Five months ago, this date seemed so far off, on the other side of a seemingly insurmountable wall. But we did it. We had our babies, we made it here. At last.
(Interesting side note: over half of us delivered by cesarean. What the heck is up with that?)