Nine years ago, I surfed the pain of labor, chanting, "I can't do this, I am doing this, I can't do this, I am doing this." Something about that contradiction - my contradictions - helped power me forward through contractions. I couldn't do it - omg, the pain - but I was doing it. There was no choice, but to be in that moment. 

Nine years ago, I tried to make jokes when the pain ebbed, "I've changed my mind. Lemme stay pregnant. I'm happy to go back through school for this kid, as long as I don't have to do this anymore." (Anyone who knows me knows I would never voluntarily go back to school. Hence the joke.)

Nine years ago, I gave birth on a birthing stool at the foot of my bed; not the place I'd planned, but the place I needed to be. The rental pool with the comforting hot water was in the guest bedroom. I had meant to have a water birth. I had meant to stay in the water to the end, but when I needed to get out, I did and never looked back. 

Nine years ago, my body did what had to be done. Not intuitively, maybe, but eventually, heeding wise advice. I can be stubborn, for an incredibly flexible person. And that's hard to admit, but it's true. 

Nine years ago, I wouldn't listen to M, who was trying to help, but when the midwife repeated his words, I (eventually) listened to her. I had been leaning into the pain, thinking that would help, but all it did was make the pain more intense. When I learned back (with much trepidation, omg, I thought it would kill me, the pain, if it got worse) it relieved the pain enough that I could think again. 

Nine years ago, our son was born. 

And I was reborn, a mother. And M was reborn, a father. You think that's a cliche, until it happens to you. And I don't mean that in the "you don't know unless you have kids" way, because every birth does this, rebirths you. Creative births, child births, births of fire or grief or joy. 

Nine years ago, I gave birth to a living, breathing, amazing gift of a human being. 

Happy Birthday, Remy. May this coming next year be your best yet!