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They say that when your baby is born, your memories of the pain of childbirth melt away. Not true.

Don't get me wrong. When I held baby Eliza for the first time, I did really feel like I was melting. It was a very surreal experience where the world seemed so fuzzy. As someone laid this tiny human in my arms, so many different emotions bubbled up--fighting their way to the surface. But, two hours, two days, or two weeks later- I can still very clearly remember every moment of that labor. All I can really say is, it was a hard thing.

It was a very hard thing.

After  three days of labor, two hours of pushing, and no epidural- all I could say when they handed me my baby was ... "I did it. I actually did it!" I was stunned. I honestly thought that I wasn't going to be able to do it in the end. They placed her on my belly with the cord still attached and the whole room just spun around me. I remember wanting to cry but found there was literally nothing left in me. And when I finally got to hold her in my arms she stared at me so intently with those big, bright eyes and I was just in such awe.

Birth is pretty crazy. It amazes me what the human body is made to do. It amazes me what I was able to do that night. They say you forget everything, but that's a load. I remember every minute. I remember very distinctly lying there for those brief 30 seconds before the next wave of contractions started, and thinking, "I will never do this again. Why would anyone want to do this again? We are going to ADOPT."

And that's where the difference is. If anything, you don't know. Now, when I hold Eliza, I can't get over how much I love this tiny thing. Sometimes I have a hard time sharing her, even with Sam. She's mine. I made her. I love her more than I can describe. 

And now that I know what birthing this child was like, if someone was to tell me the only way I could have Eliza was to go through that experience again- I would do it.

I would do it because I love her. And, I would do it because I know I can. I'm not proud of the fact that I was definitely crying for mercy at the end of my labor- but I am proud that I somehow made it through the other side. I did it. It gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. And, I continue to feel it every day. Three weeks of successful nursing. Check. Surviving our first growth spurt. Check. Sleeping three hours at a time. Check.

Raising this baby is a hard thing. But I do it every day. And I'm good at it. I'm Eliza's mom.

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If you're interested, Sam kept a journal of photos on this great new app, Days. (May 6 and May 7.) A good friend of ours created it, and it has been fun looking back at some of these moments from the past few weeks. You can follow us @spgray and @roxannemgray.


  1. Natural childbirth hurts so bad. And you're little, like me, and I think that makes it harder. I've done it twice, but I honestly don't know if I'm willing to go through it again-- at least not without some kind of pain medication. It makes me think a lot about all the centuries of billions of human beings-- and every single one of them came into life in this way. Isn't that amazing?

    Being a mommy is wonderful! Congratulations!!

  2. I was epidural-less as well. It made me realize I would never stand up to torture. I would just confess and die. But "laboring" through torture for a baby is so worth it.

  3. wonderful! this made me cry a little bit. so exciting--can't wait to meet eliza some day :)

  4. Yay Mama! I know your secret........chicken fingers!

  5. Natural birth for me too! (No epidural)

    3 years on, I can confirm that the memory of the actual pain fades. I remember that it was agony. I remember saying that I'd NEVER do this again! I remember saying afterwards "I'm so glad it's over!" (because I thought that I would be in that much pain for the rest of my life until I died there in the hospital at 90 years old...)

    YOU DID IT, MAMA! I TOLD you that you would!!! YOU GOT THIS.

    I love you.

  6. i love this post. i love how honest you are, too—a lot of women who don't use painkillers tend to gloss over how HARD it actually is (like i'd know... haha). i mean, i am sure it is such a beautiful thing in the end to have felt and struggled and been present but i like to hear the straight story. but i really love how you said you don't forget, but you KNOW. that is sweet.

    anyway, we're delivering with midwives at a hospital in dc, and their whole philosophy is delivering without an epidural and i'm simultaneously excited and nervous, but they have great outcomes and we're in good hands so it should be a trip ;) wish you lived closer so we could have an in-depth convo about this!!!