I have been a reader of the extremely popular dooce.com since I was pregnant for the first time six years ago. A coworker suggested the site to me during my first trimester because of my ever-so-regular complaining and sharing of entirely too much information. She thought I would like the blog not just because the author, Heather B. Armstrong, was also pregnant for the first time, about 3 months ahead of me, but because she had a delightfully candid and deeply funny take on the joys of pregnancy. And I do use “joys” loosely.
While I approached so many aspects of birth and first time parenthood very differently than dooce (I had a home birth, she had a hospital birth. I used Pantley, she used Ferber…), I never let that stop me from reading. So much of what she was going through in pregnancy and postpartum reflected my own reality – and as it turned out, that of thousands of other women. In fact, speaking of tmi, when I was working full time and away from my baby during the day, I reserved my breastmilk pumping time for reading dooce. Her touching stories of her own postpartum struggles – and plentiful, gorgeous pictures of her baby girl – increased my let down!
I checked in on her daily and was grateful for her willingness to share her life with millions of strangers. When she was hospitalized with Postpartum Depression I remember telling a good friend how shaken I was because I saw so much of myself in her writing.
Fast forward several years, I had a second child, was working on becoming a doula and birth mentor, and was still reading dooce as she got pregnant again, suffered a miscarriage, and then happily carried her next pregnancy to term.
In her first labor story five years earlier, she’d had several “standard” medical interventions beginning with Pitocin to augment her labor, an eventual epidural and an episiotomy as her baby was crowning. I wondered and looked forward to seeing how her story would unfold the second time around.
So when she finally wrote it- in three installments – I was absolutely delighted that attending another mama’s birth, hiring a doula and reading Birthing From Within were part of her story! It was dooce at her best: hysterically funny, heartfelt, grounded – and open to an amazing transformation. Labor and birth stories can have so much power and I am thrilled that I can share this one with you: