this is not a birth story

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photo by Katherine Louise Harris Photography

"As soon as you hold your baby in your arms," they tell you, "you'll forget the pain of childbirth."

Listen up, They.  Your advice is always iffy at best, but this time you've really missed the mark. Six weeks later, I still remember everything. For instance, contractions. They feel like a giant reaching down and twisting your torso like a wet dishrag. Tell me, They, would you forget that sensation?

I'm not really a "birth story" kind of person, but I am a "bulleted list" kind of person:

+ My water broke on my due date while I was lying in bed reading Girl on the Train (my quick review: overrated). A few weeks prior, I had asked my doctor, "What if my water breaks and I don't realize it?" HA. I realized it.

TWO HOURS earlier, I had been walking on a treadmill in the middle of a crowded gym. I'll spare you the details of my water breaking, but trust me when I say it is NOT an experience I would want to have a) in front of people, and b) ON A TREADMILL. Thank you, baby Dalia, for waiting until I was safely in my bed to begin your entrance.

+ Did I wait until the middle of this post to mention the baby that came out of all of this? She's pretty terrific. Welcome to the world and our little family, baby Dalia.

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photo by Katherine Louise Harris Photography

+ I wanted to know what a contraction felt like (I know how to have a good time), so I went into the hospital fully intending to get an epidural after I got the gist of the whole contraction situation. Sure enough, 4 hours into my (15-ish hour) labor, I decided I was getting to the point where I couldn't handle it anymore. For the next three hours (which is like 400 years in labor time), various medical professionals attempted to put an IV in my arm to start the epidural process, culminating in me on all fours wearing an oxygen mask as I had contraction after contraction with no break while an anesthesiologist put in the IV (which I'm told is basically the equivalent of the pilot passing out peanuts). On the plus side, I now know what "10" feels like on the pain scale and bow down to anyone who gives birth naturally.

+ If you're ever thinking about going into labor, here's a tip to distract yourself from the pain: pretend you're a professional tennis player. Instead of writhing in pain, you're serving an ace. What's your signature sound? Perfect it.

+ The next day, my arms were so sore. When I mentioned it to Y, he told me I had been bracing myself on the sides of the hospital bed during my contractions. Could this be the next workout craze?

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+ Things got a little scary and I delivered in the operating room -- thankfully no emergency C-section was needed. One of my friends saw the picture above and asked, "did you get a C-section or did Y just wear scrubs so everyone would know he was a doctor?" and the mental image of Y doing that still makes me laugh.

+ I think this little anecdote sums up my feelings on my epidural: 12 hours after I got the epidural and a few hours after I gave birth, Y and I were on the hospital elevator with a woman in a baseball cap and jeans. She and I nodded at each other in recognition. "Congratulations," she said, smiling, as we reached her floor.

"Did you know her?" asked Y.

"That was Sue!" I replied, "Our nurse anesthesist."

"Wow," said Y, "How did you even recognize her?" I stared at him.

"Are you crazy? I WILL NEVER FORGET HER SWEET SWEET FACE AS LONG AS I LIVE."

+ For the first few days, Dalia and I bonded by wearing matching mother daughter diapers.

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Beat that, Lorelai and Rory.

+ Dalia had some problems at birth that needed to be monitored, so for the first four days of her life, we sadly didn't get to see her or hold her all that much. When they gave us the all clear to go home, Y took her out of the crib and we sat and stared at her.

After a few minutes we realized that "Endless Love" had been playing on the radio the entire time we were sitting there holding our newborn daughter.

And so began our adventures in parenthood. Stay tuned for more ridculousness.