She’s here and she’s perfect! L’Shana Tovah!

She’s here and she’s perfect!

The last 12 days have gone by in about three minutes. I’ve never lived in the moment so much in my entire life. My husband said to me once that if I could plan out every second of the rest of my life, I would. That’s 100% true. I hate the unknown. I just want to know what’s going to happen so I can prepare for it. But surprises are also part of the pleasure of life. When it comes to labor, delivery, a newborn, there is no way to know how things are going to go – only to prepare for a number of possibilities as best as you can.

What’s amazing about having a child, is that even what should be mundane is a wondrous surprise. Just today I was looking at Avital and marveling that G-d just lets us create people like this. We take this miracle for granted. A friend of mine (you know who you are!) once said that having children is an egotistical exercise. Looking at my little squishy monkey who looks just like me – and my husband – I see what she’s saying. It makes sense though that to help parents relate to this new little munchkin they should look like us. My sister was calling her “Baby Tasha” the whole time she was in utero. We didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. But she was right. She is a Baby Tasha! And she’s an adorable one if I do say so myself. J

I have spent the last number of months reading books and taking classes to ensure I met the two goals most important to me – an empowering childbirth without drugs and successful breastfeeding. Of course we all know that the best laid plans can fall apart, especially during the unpredictability of childbirth. Just a few days after I had Avital, a friend of mine who took the same Hypnobirthing class I did and wanted the same birth had a 30 hour labor that ended in a c-section. The worst part of my labor was not any pain or discomfort. There wasn’t any discomfort I couldn’t handle. The worst part was at the end, when I was so proud of getting through the entire day, using all of my Hypnobirthing tools, and then, despite the best labor management, we didn’t know why her heart rate was dropping and they were considering a c-section or medication. I am absolutely sure that if I had not had midwifery care, if I’d had only traditional O.B. care, I would have had a c-section. Instead, she let me listen to my body, which just wanted to push her out quickly and she helped me work with the contractions to do that. Just to back up the fact that managing labor is 90% mental, the only traumatic part of the labor process for me was this end time when I wasn’t able to just go with my body for a while and push when my body was telling me to. I was not feeling any pain – only strong (to put it mildly) sensations to push. But I was mentally upset and I was afraid for the only time in my labor. Ironic that I was afraid, only from mental upset, and never from physical sensations. Just goes to show that women were made to do this – and when not managed in an unnatural way, they can birth babies just fine and come out having loved it. I feel empowered from her birth. I feel like a rockstar. I feel like I can do anything. More women need to know this is possible.

p.s. Dad finally made it here on Tuesday and then totally called that I would go into labor on Wednesday night.

Shana Tova!

Last year on Rosh Hashanah I prayed that I would merit to NOT be able to be in shul the next year because I would be in some process of having a baby. Now that I have everything I could want I realize that I’m not used to getting what I want. I don’t ever assume that I will. Every time we’ve talked to the pediatrician he’s told us we are eerily calm. I talked to my cousin today who has two little kids and he couldn’t believe how content and un-frazzled I sounded. Of course the only reason I’m able to simply enjoy her and not cry every day is because we’ve had so much support from family. Taking care of her is a fun, team effort, rather than me exhausted and alone. That would be rough.

My favorite part of the Rosh Hashanah services is the shofar. I consider my davening to be a heartfelt success if I’m in tears by the end. The entire service is a build up to putting me in a deep place before the shofar blasts so that the blasts will bring out the crescendo of my prayers. This year my father-in-law blew the shofar at our new shul here in Potomac. Everyone is obligated to hear the shofar, regardless of whether they can make it to shul. I expected that he would blow it for me at home. Instead I was thrilled when my husband came to me with the shofar, excited to help me and Avital fulfill the mitzvah. They say that women are not required to pray three times a day like men because they already have an inner holiness. They don’t need time-required mitzvahs to get to the same place men do. I was in that place. I hadn’t been to shul at all and even though I davened for a few minutes with Avital that morning, we didn’t get far. But I didn’t need the prayers. The shofar got me there and I was in tears in 30 seconds. I just can’t believe what I have. There is so much I don’t do as well as I should. But I must be doing something right because I’ve been given everything I wanted and more. As requested from Hashem, I was not in shul for Rosh Hashanah as it was only a few days after her birth. Of course I wanted to go and even believed for five minutes that I could make it for a half hour or so. Not a chance. I’m having similar delusions about Yom Kippur. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m taking every minute as it comes. I can’t plan for the baby. She’s not old enough to be predictable or on a schedule. Everything else comes after what she needs. I’m happy to oblige and live my own life in this new way. Soon enough we’ll have play dates and, if she’s anything like me, a full schedule for life. Right now, we’re happy to eat, sleep, and take a bath every day! If only life would stay so simple!