*written around 10 p.m. on august 5th, 2010:

as arden’s birthday approaches (tomorrow!), i couldn’t help but be bombarded all day today by a flood of memories of last august 5th.  boy, was that a looooong day!  (the thumbs-up photo below was taken right after we started the pitocin drip at 8 a.m. after 12 hours of broken water and not one single contraction.  needless to say, i didn’t stay this perky for long….)

jason was so wonderful and attentive throughout the whole ordeal, just as i had hoped he would be.  i remember him telling my mom at one point, when i was in the throws of pain-induced hallucinations and painstakingly controlled breathing, ‘i wish i could do more for her, but at this point, she seems to be in her zone and i don’t think i can help much anymore….’  very observant, dear!  but i remember thinking, ‘you are doing a perfect job, jason, especially with that cold rag on my head.  and i will tell you this later, when i have recovered my ability to speak.’

this is my favorite photo from that day (before arden was born, of course!), and i have to thank my mother-in-law for taking it even though i was busy ignoring her at the time!  it will forever remind me that i did not go through labor alone.

it was at about this time, 10 o’clock, that i was preparing to receive an epidural, after 25 hours of labor, 14 of which were painful, and 5 of which were very, VERY painful.  for multiple reasons, i had craved an all-natural, completely unmedicated birth.  but once the hopes of laboring at home while slowly sipping chicken broth and listening to my relaxing i-tunes mix had long vanished, and the dreaded c-section seemed imminent, i said ‘BRING THAT SUCKA ON!’  oh, the sweet relief!  and a couple of hours later, at 1:11 a.m., our perfect baby, arden marie, was delivered into the world.  she was chubby and pink and alert but calm, and we were HAPPY….and exhausted.

here’s jason getting ‘prepped’ for surgery, and me post-surgery, freezing, thirsty, shaky and fighting to stay awake to spend time with arden.  no one told me that our entry into parenthood would look so incredibly sexy!  

it’s funny how after all the preparation, the excitement, the anticipation, the childbirth classes, the stretching, the yoga, the non-stop walking, the eggplant parmesan with extra basil and oregano (that i credit for breaking my water!) and all of the other crazy and amazing things that happened over the 41 weeks we waited for arden, nothing could have prepared me for the ecstatic clarity of knowing that i had finally arrived; it had finally happened; the day for which i had waited for almost 31 years was here: i was a MOM.

arden, our dear little love monster, you have made your daddy and me the proudest parents in the world, and we ADORE you with all of our hearts.  we can’t wait to see what fun you bring us in your 2nd year!

arden then:

and now:

what a difference a year makes!

oh, speaking of preparation, i wanted to share these photos of our childbirth classmates.  despite this 11-week course being an educational endeavor, it was also laid-back and lots of fun.  we both enjoyed meeting and bonding with our fellow moms-and-dads-to-be.  and even though i ended up having a c-section, the information and confidence i gained during this course was invaluable, and jason appreciated it, too.  at our reunion last october, it was quite apparent that although we each had our own unique birth stories (as all moms and dads do), we all came away with perfect, beautiful bundles, and nothing could be better than that. 

babies in the bellies:

and at the reunion:

happy 1-year birthdays to all the bradley babies!

to find out more about the bradley method of natural childbirth, please visit www.bradleybirth.com.  our teacher in memphis was sarah stockwell (on far right in photo above).  i highly recommend her!