As a family, we've had wave after wave of issues this year. . .everything from various health situations to losing people we love through to job changes.
It's reminded me a lot of labor with my youngest.
He was early, facing the wrong way, WAY bigger than he should have been, and decided to pop his arm out first (making it an even trickier proposition to get through the birth canal!). I'd hoped to have a 'natural' a birth experience, with no pain meds if possible. But after 60 hours of contractions, I hadn't slept in about 4 days, had hardly eaten a thing, and wasn't anywhere near giving birth.
I had breathed and bathed and changed positions for over 2 1/2 days with virtually no relief and I was SOOOO tired.
So I relented. I tried 'gas and air' first, but it didn't seem to work for me. It didn't even soften the pain a tiny little bit. I rejected the next tier option, which was a narcotic, because it would have meant that I could not have breast fed our baby at birth. No way. So there was only one option left to me. . .An epidural. Begrudgingly, I gave the 'ok.'
An anesthesiologist gave me one and I waited for the promised relief.
Eventually, the head anesthesiologist came and gave me another.
After a third attempt, with no pain relief whatsoever, I was patted on the hand and informed that 1% of women do not respond to epidurals. Apparently, I'm in that elite little group. Yay, me!
I remember being a bit shocked. I'd never considered that an epidural might not work. It had never been mentioned as a remote possibility. And I was not amused.
By 70 hours in, I remember turning, in utter exhaustion, to my husband and half-pleading for a break. I said I just needed to stop pushing for one contraction so I could rest for a brief moment, but, of course, the irresistible urge to push came anyway.
Contractions just don't stop.
And that's been how this year has gone. . .wave after wave after unstoppable wave of painful, constricting, stretching, agonizing events and issues and circumstances has crashed upon our family with almost no break in which to rest, gather strength, and prepare for the next emergency.
Then, suddenly, things have changed. In the span of a week, several situations have either improved, resolved, or just plain gone away. And oh! How blessed we feel!
Not everything has been made right, though. . .some things can't be, unfortunately. But of the things that could change for the better, most have. In just seven amazing little days.
But I don't want to forget the 'labor' of this year, no matter how difficult or exhausting or painful it has been. I want to remember to be grateful for it. . for the challenges and for the opportunities to grow and strengthen.
I'm not going to grieve over dear friends we've lost through death or moving. I choose to be grateful that I had such precious people in my life. I'm not going to be angry over health issues in my family. I'm going to be glad they're here at all. I won't begrudge having lived through one of our leaner years, financially speaking. I have more than enough. And I am so very grateful.
People say that you forget the pain and difficulties of pregnancy and labor the moment your child is laid in your arms. I didn't want that. I wanted to remember every single thing about gestation and birth, especially the most difficult and challenging bits. Why? So I would never, ever forget that what came at the end of it was worth every bit. And precious beyond words.
(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)