Before I gave birth for the first time, my growing belly felt like a ticking time bomb.
I had never experienced surgery of any kind, and the dramatic Hollywood depictions of labor and delivery - water bursting! frantic car ride! screaming and pushing! - seemed suspect. What would contractions actually feel like? How much pain would there be?
I coped with the anxiety by crossing my fingers and surrendering to the judgement of my OB and nurses, and was fortunate to have a relatively smooth (albeit medically-induced) labor and delivery.
Each mom carries her birth story like a soldier returned from the front lines. Virtually all of us bear physical scars, but there can be emotional ones, too. Some women craft meticulous birth plans consistent with their values and beliefs, while others (like me) opt for willful ignorance. Babies enter the world in hospitals, inflatable pools in living rooms, and backseats of cars. They can be punctual, tardy, or perplexingly ahead of schedule.
These are stories of real moms and their incredibly special deliveries.