You Felt Like Love: A Birth Story

Tara Mandarano Labor 0 Comments

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Two years ago today you came and changed everything. You also gave me a name I never had before: Mama. Everybody has a birth story, a narrative that reveals how their soul navigated itself into the world. This is yours.

You didn't want to have the same birthday as me, so you took your time about vacating the womb. I went to bed the night after you were due and woke up in pain at 3am. Your night owl Papa hadn't gone to bed yet, so he saw the light come on under the door. He timed my contractions with an app. Yes, you read that right. They were five minutes apart and we grabbed our bag for the hospital, delirious with adrenaline and anticipation.

When we arrived at five in the morning, the hospital lobby was dark and quiet. The nurses examined me and said I was only a “fingertip” dilated. They advised going home and getting some rest before the big show began. Like that was ever going to happen. We roamed the corridors for an hour and came back with a promise of morphine.

The epidural was epic. Suddenly, having a baby wasn't a big deal. I could talk and joke from my hospital bed and forget what lay ahead of me. But then we found out you were “sunny side up,” an expression I'd never heard outside brunch discussions. I pushed and pushed and the back labour was beyond what we learned about in our prenatal classes. When the doctors said it was C-section time, I was more than willing to sign on the dotted line.

I remember shaking like a tea cup in the operating room, a side effect of the drugs. Your Papa was in scrubs, trying not to look terrified. They lifted you out of my belly at 6.51 a.m. Seeing you squall, hearing the word “girl” – it was overwhelming and awe-inspiring at the same time.

The moment you were first separate from me, from my body – that's when I truly became your mother. Tiny, pale and perfect, all I wanted was to protect you. I forgot about being pulled and tugged and sewn up. I told your Papa to go to you, to comfort you as they weighed you. He didn't know he was allowed to touch you.

I am so grateful we both got to enjoy skin-on-skin time with you. I remember the anesthesiologist taking our first family picture. Holding you in the recovery room, you were conked out in a self-induced stupor I would only learn about later. It helped you block out the shock of being born.

I remember introducing you to your grandmothers, telling them your names. A gift to honor the women you came from. You were a solid weight in my arms, swaddled tight in that ubiquitous hospital blanket. You felt like love.

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About the Author

Tara Mandarano

Tara Mandarano lives outside Toronto, Ontario. A first-time mama navigating life with a tyrannical toddler, her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post and The New Family. Follow her story at .

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