I Walk Alone

A week past my due date with my second child, I’m slowly climbing the front steps of my San Francisco apartment. My eyes hardly move from my feet. The rhythm of my squeezing belly paces my steps. I remember how greatly I was misinformed before the birth of my first child, three years ago. Women have been giving birth forever, I thought; how hard could it be? My heart pounds. The brick steps up to my red front door seem never ending. I’ll go to a birth class and study birth books; spontaneously begin labor; go to the hospital; and then, the baby will just come out. I stop and grip the railing. But things weren’t fine. I begin slowly climbing again. This time, I’m going to trust my own body.

Three years ago, in the midst of labor with Nate when a cesarean was proposed to me, I never knew that I could have declined and just kept pushing. I thought cesareans were reserved for emergencies. It wasn’t until my postnatal appointment when I asked how I could have avoided the cesarean that the feeling of betrayal set in. My provider told me that I just could have pushed longer. I would have pushed longer. I swear. If I had been given that choice, I would have. The hardest part about birth is trusting that I know my body better than any other authority. Now, after months of preparation, I have a second chance to get it right.

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