Walking down memory lane

From last weekend:

This weekend our little family went on a couple of long walks. One to Riverside Boulevard to see the accountant. (Charlie loved doing taxes! We’ll get him to do them next year, no fee.) And one across the park after visiting the Met. Each time, especially on Sunday, I couldn’t help but reminisce about this time last year. Because this time last year, I was in labor and I had not met my adorable little boy.

My contractions started on a Sunday afternoon and we went on a long walk, since I’d had contractions on and off for several days. Long walks tended to make them go away. But on that Sunday, the long walk didn’t slow them down a bit. Jesse said, yesterday, “I was so nervous.” And me, remembering my fear and excitement about giving birth, not thinking about all that was to come afterward for both of us, asked, “About what?” This time last year, all I could think about was the unknown of delivery. How bad would it get? Could I take it? Would Charlie (who then was still nameless) be healthy? Terrified is probably the right description.

There are a lot of things about this time last year that I wish had been different. (That I hadn’t been so tired and hungry during labor; that my family wasn’t in duress because my dad’s car accident put him in the hospital on the day before I was confirmed at 5 centimeters dilated; that I had not been overwhelmed by shock and the shakes after delivery; that Charlie hadn’t swallowed meconium and then had to be intubated; that I’d felt more joy and less vulnerability and anxiety; that breastfeeding wasn’t the most stressful thing I’ve ever tried in my life, and that includes the stress of a non-medicated birth, which no matter how crazy it sounds, I would do again; that I had not felt a post-partum depression that made me want to hurl myself down the stairs.) But the things I don’t wish were different are far more powerful and long-lasting: testing and holding on to the love and patience of a truly amazing man; adoring my beautiful son more than I have ever adored anyone; having my loving family chip in to help with me and my dad; learning how to carve a relatively slow-paced life out of a harsh and unforgiving city.

This time last year my life as a mother began. May I say the journey is just as sweet and challenging this time next year.

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