Wednesday, March 19, 2014

OK, I Didn't REALLY Give Birth

I’ve often touted my opinion that having a C-section is still “giving birth”.

Well, it is. 

Sort of.

Not really.

OK, it doesn’t even compare.

Granted my younger sister and her husband spent much of their recent pregnancy considering their birth plan, as there are so many critical options to weigh.  Natural versus Epidural?  Vaginal versus C-Section?  Breast versus Bottle? Public School versus Private?

I may not have been a huge contributor to that debate, although my sister did ask for me to share some of my two medically required C-section experiences.  Thankfully, she was able to make her own decision, which was strongly in favor of a vaginal birth.

I really commended her decision.  Having been present in the birthing suite for two childbirths as part of a PBS documentary, I had seen the… ordeal… first hand.  And it was for that exact reason, in addition to the fear I had of seeing my little sister experience such a level of physical pain, that I opted not to be in the delivery room when my nephew was born.

That is, until she asked me to be there.

This was not part of the birthing plan I had anticipated.  I expected her husband to be the only one in there, way closer to one end than the other.  So when it became a bit of a family affair, as my mother (a former labor and delivery room nurse herself) received the same invitation, I went (silently, I think) into panic mode.

Typically a strong first responder in emergency situations, I called upon some previous experiences to help me prepare.  My own medical emergencies in addition to the previous deliveries I’d seen and a front row seat for a very lengthy facial reconstructive surgery while working on Extreme Makeover were just a few of the experiences I had to pull from.  And I had survived all of those.  Sort of.

But this was different.  This was my little sister.  This was the girl who despite all the incessant teasing, bitch slaps, and painful noogies, I would do anything to protect… even if that meant watching her endure agonizing pain in order to provide the slightest bit of comfort when asked.  Damn you, Jeni.

So, I prepared now just as I did then.  I gave myself the same pep talk my mother had given me before watching the plastic surgeries.  “You will not puke!  You will not pass out!”  (Read those aloud, like Bobby Knight would.)  Almost everything after that is a blur.

Everyone had a role in the delivery room.  Mine was take photos and video, which I believe I deserve an Oscar for.  Between takes, I attempted to make my sister comfortable by placing icy washcloths on her forehead and keeping her puke bucket clean.

Long story short, 40 hours of (frighteningly) active labor, 3 hours of (blood curdling) pushies, 2 cord wraps around his neck and one very strange vacuum later, I learned a very important lesson.

The mode of transportation is completely insignificant because the wonder of holding him or her for the very first time is just the same.

Welcome to the World, Tyler James Bianco! xo

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Forget Frozen's "Let It Go"... Passenger's "Let HER Go" Is All You Need

How many songs can you really sing along with?

I am one of those people that can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday (likely because I didn’t eat it) but I know every world to Neneh Cherry’s 1988 hit “Buffalo Stance”.  Even the part at 2:18.  Seriously.  I'm that good.

For me, lyrics aren’t just about repetition or memorization.  They are stories.  They are private jokes and personal dreams.  They are darkest memories and greatest aspirations.  They are enormous tragedies and irreplaceable gifts.  And songwriters, from Eminem to Taylor Swift, are the vehicles that transport us through and graciously allow us to make those most powerful moments our own.

I am unsure whether it was my early fascination with poetry (evident by my mother discovering fragments of paper with poems on them between my childhood bed sheets) or my raw love of the written word, but something led me to a magical place where a single lyric can transport me anywhere.

There are times when the excessively redundant playlists on Sirus XM make me want to rip the speakers out of my car and toss them like any girl with no arm strength would, but this hasn’t been one of those weeks.

While I guarantee that Passenger’s single “Let Her Go” has brought many a listener to tears repeatedly, for a myriad of reasons, one particular lyric leaves me inspired for hours.

Everything you touch surely dies.

It’s true.  Whether a hand, a pet, a flower, a friendship, a bank account or a dream, eventually… it dies.

So before it does, make sure you’ve done all you need to do.

And I’ll just leave it at that.