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Buckle Up, Buttercup


July 30, 2020


There have been several times over the past 318 days in which I feel like I'm back in labor. I've had two children by vaginal delivery. My daughter from first contraction to birth took about 80 hours. My son, my second, was about 14 hours.


I was not one of the women who aimed for natural delivery. I have historically been absolutely pro-painkilling in all forms and made no exception for labor. But there is a cruel caveat with pain intervention during labor - it typically slows or halts the process if you take it too early. I think that may have been an early wink from God to me to let me know that I'd better build up my tolerance to discomfort if I wanted to get to my desired result.


Fast forward to me now, trying to live life on life's terms and not reach for a substance whenever my insides feel like a dog pacing in a thunderstorm. It's hard. It's really hard. And so uncomfortable. I want to push to get it all over with but "it" isn't ready or my body isn't ready or something isn't freaking ready and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Except to breathe and try the stuff in my sobriety toolbox like it was Lamaze breathing. But in all of it, it still hurts and I feel like there is no way I cannot be dying right now. Like really? All mothers in the history of mankind have done this exact thing? No fucking way would women survive this and go on to glow when talking about the experience of childbirth. I have to be dying.


But as in labor, all the times I've felt like this in sobriety - I have never once died (obviously) or even been maimed a bit. And when the contraction passes (sometimes it takes days, sometimes it's only moments), I feel the biggest relief I've ever felt. Everything in me is super quiet, the air seems lighter and brighter and I can breathe easily again.


These "labor" moments have happened enough to me that I'm no longer thinking that each instance is its own labor. I'm thinking each time is a contraction in a bigger labor. Meaning, more are definitely coming and if I'm ever going to give birth to "this" (I don't even know what "this" is to be honest), I can't get the epidural.


And I feel God winking at me even as I write this. As if to say, yep, buckle up buttercup but it's going to be worth it. And I believe him.

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