I made it! I made it to 40! I previously spoke about this day coming and the day came and went with very little fanfare. I thought I would get to 40 and there would be this big to-do. I thought my family and friends would get together and throw me a big party (a surprise party maybe) and celebrate the fact that I’ve been on this Earth for 40 years. That I was not murdered, maimed, or otherwise met my demise by any means. I somehow made it to 40 in a very unspectacular way leading a fairly average life. All the glory of this day was stolen from me in a pretty spectacular way though and even though I am disappointment that I was not put in the spotlight for one day, I am so incredibly thrilled about the reason I wasn’t. My daughter.
My second and last child was born a little more than a month prior to my birthday and that has everyone – myself included – pretty exhausted and very much enamored. I couldn’t have asked for more on my birthday.
My first child, Sebastian, was due the day before my birthday and I thought he would be my 37th birthday present. He decided to come 3 weeks early and spared me from having to share my day with him, but he was still a pretty amazing birthday present. I was given a blessing on my 37th birthday and a big blessing on my 40th. Why was my daughter’s arrival big? Because this birth went according to plan. I was able to experience a vaginal birth, immediate skin-to-skin contact, the breast crawl, and we have had a fantastic breastfeeding relationship. All of these are experiences I wanted with my son but was denied it because of his breech presentation. I was blessed with being given a second chance to experience all I wanted, despite the complications of having a short cervix and despite the negativity I received from my family regarding my daughter’s late arrival. Being told “can’t you just schedule your c-section already” when there was nothing wrong with me or my daughter, only inpatient family, and being told, “in this life you don’t get what you want.” These are not exactly the supportive statements I needed to hear in order to keep a positive outlook for my upcoming VBAC; something that is almost as rare as a unicorn sighting because of the lack of supportive OB/Gyn’s and hospitals who perform this.
But through it all I did it! I not only got a beautiful and healthy daughter, but I did it my way and under my terms. That may seem selfish to some, but having suffered severe disappointment to my first birth experience, depression about the shock of finding out he was breech and that I had a positive GBS exam and having a c-section I did not want, this was a gratifying experience for me. I no longer feel like my body is broken or less than. I no longer feel like I am not a real woman because I couldn’t birth my son naturally nor breastfeed him like I should have been able to. I feel whole again and vindicated. I was given another shot at healing from that experience. I needed this for myself, for my self-esteem, for my insecurities, and for my sanity.
I know everyone experiences childbirth differently, but this is what I always wanted for myself. That is not to say that any other form of childbirth is wrong, but a natural childbirth is what I always envisioned for myself, along with the ability to breastfeed my child. This is what I always wanted and in this life where sometimes your dreams are the hardest to achieve, not getting this dream was a tipping point for me. I needed this one thing to go my way in a life that seems like nothing ever goes my way, at least not perfectly. My life has always been a long series of “be careful what you wish for,” so this one thing is what I really needed to go according to plan.
So, even though 40 came and went without much in the way of festivities, my happiness bucket is pretty darn full, as is my calendar. Frankly, that big day felt like any other day. I dealt with toddler tantrums, infant fussiness, a dirty house, a busy life, everything I deal with on a day-to-day basis and it was probably better that way because even though I turned 40, I really don’t feel 40. My bones hurt a little more lately, but I feel like a 30-year-old with a big life ahead of me. I always felt like I was just winging adulthood because I’m really just a big kid at heart, and that hasn’t changed. I just put a little more moisturizer on now. That’s about it. Oh, and I’m also responsible for raising two kids.