A dear friend of mine asked me if the coming of Little Bean's birthday has brought on any memories or feelings about how he came into this world one year ago.
At first, I thought, "Nah, it's not really on my mind." And then a few days later, I thought, "Well, that was a pretty intense time. There must be some kind of release that has happened over the past year. It's not like I can forget what happened, even though sometimes I wish I could."
It's not like my body has forgotten, that's for sure, with some lingering issues in the downstairs department. Like, for instance, today I purchased the equivalent of "Tucks Medicated Pads". If you don't know what that's for, then you should celebrate your naivety.
My experience of Little Bean's week-long entrance to this world is remembered differently by body part.
My mind remembers in vivid images, going through contractions in our temporary suite, taking walks in the rain, watching my poor puppy look at me with helpless eyes, and seeing my hospital room at night with scenes like the one where I look around and see Papa Bean, my doula, and my mom all sleeping in chairs or on the floor. Then some scenes pop to mind regarding the intensity and ridiculous duration of the situation I was in and the level of exhaustion I experienced. It felt a little bit unreal. A little bit like my mind was watching all this happen from outside my body. Like it needed to be outside of it all to be able to survive.
If you were to ask my abdomen about that time, it would say: "I remember the tightness coming and going. The ritual and rhythm of it all. The building of intensity. Squeezing and relaxing. I felt like a basketball when tense, and like a bowl full of jello when relaxed... And then eventually a bit empty."
As you may expect, my vagina has a few pointed things to say: "I remember feeling violated when the midwife first checked the dilation. Why couldn't her fingers be longer to reach the cervix more easily? Long fingers should be a requirement to become a midwife: Name. Address. Finger length...." The rest of my vaginal involvement in birthing was definitely intense, but only truly experienced as an after effect because of the epidural. I am glad my mind didn't have to feel that too, with the whole experience being so long and intense already. "Tell that anesthesiologist he done good."
Pelvis says: "Next time you want to have a baby, try to manifest a smaller head. Not so long and narrow. Please."
The space where I had an episiotomy remembers the sound of the snip, and all the people in the room yelling and hollaring and tooting up their voices to try to cover up the distinctive sound. Episiotomy also wants to add: "I'm still tight. There's a lot of scar tissue. It's going to take some time. Don't worry, though. We're in this together. And thanks for the 'Tucks' - it'll help me too."
Bladder wants to add: "Remember when you couldn't pee? That was really painful. I wish someone had given us a catheter much sooner than they did. Over one litre of pee came out. Remember? That's insane. Just sayin'. The good news is I think I've shrunk back to a normal size. "
My Spirit remembers being there too, in the background, silently whispering support to us all with a gentle glow. Knowing that everything was going to go as it should, and it would all be okay, even if it took a very long time.
Then my whole body and mind and spirit felt like the worst was over. Relief. Such relief. Time to heal now. This small being is outside my body now. He is with us. Here. Now. He is awesome. So lovely. He is nothing like my experience of the entrance he made through me. He is light. He is soft. He is beautiful and warm. He is content and peaceful.
And now, today, our Little Bean is one year old. The space between then and now seems so distant. I've heard that it can take a full year to recover from giving birth. I'd say that I agree with that statement, on both a physical and an emotional level.
In this moment, as I watch him sleep beside me, I can't help but think, "I'm so grateful for everything this boy has brought me."
I love you Little Bean.