Aspen Princess: Reliving life’s most profound moment — creating life
The Aspen Princess
As we speak, one of my closest friends is in the hospital, about to give birth, and I was up all night, worrying about her and thinking a little too hard about what she might be going through.
Most of my friends had their kids when they were a reasonable age, and so they are off enjoying the trifecta of living in this valley: no school, no work, more than 6 inches of snow.
Ryan and I are such amateurs it didn’t even occur to us that Levi’s school would be closed, and when you have a 3-year-old, you’re not chomping at the bit to do laps on Panda Peak.
Meanwhile my darling friend is likely going through the longest marathon she’ll ever run in her life. I can’t help but commiserate, since Levi was born around the same time of year and it was the same scene; it snowed every day for a week, wrapping the world in a gauzy cocoon where my baby could ease his way into the world, everything covered in white fluff as if it were created for this specific purpose.
I wrote my column the day I gave birth. I had to be induced, so our arrival at Valley View was far from panicked. It was more like checking into a swanky hotel with room service, a jacuzzi tub in my private room, and massage and aromatherapy people who would make rounds every morning and afternoon dressed in these purple cloaks, like priests of bodywork. We were having a grand old time, eating pizza and watching a movie when the you-know-what hit the fan.
I showed up at the hospital dressed in an outfit I’d bought specifically for the occasion at Faboo in Basalt where Monica had dressed and styled me as if I were going to make an appearance on the red carpet. I wore leopard print palazzo pants, a long, loose soft cotton sweater with a ruffled hem, a down vest that came down to my mid-thigh and had this very dramatic, oversized collar. I even had a matching fleece pillbox hat with a giant button on one side.
In the weeks before, I’d done a lot of primping; I’d had my hair done, gotten a mani-pedi, eyebrow wax and had eyelash extensions put in. The eyelash extensions were a bit much, super long and thick like little spiders crawling all over my eyelids. It totally freaked my mom out.
“You don’t even look like you,” she’d said, somewhat aghast.
“Oh, relax. It’s only temporary. It’s just something fun, that’s all.”
I have to admit, I did notice that throughout my ordeal that several of the nurses, midwives and doctors did a double take when they looked at my eyes, like maybe they were concerned that whatever material those bad boys were made of shouldn’t be allowed in the hospital. I will also say that I did look good in those first photos with my baby even though I’d been put through the meat grinder after 28 hours of labor and I couldn’t walk and my legs were as swollen as an elephant’s.
Another one of my friends said, “What’s with all the beauty treatments? You act like you’re going to the prom.”
Of course, they were both right. As soon as my water broke, that outfit was on a heap on the floor, my hair was a tangled mess, those crazy eyelashes looking creepier than ever.
When my friend texted to let me know labor had started, I did my best to pump her up the same way you might rally an athlete the day of a big race. I gave her the speech about how women all over the world do this every single day, and to remember she’s going to meet her baby soon. I reminded her of how strong she is and how smoothly her pregnancy had gone, and that labor would most certainly be the same way.
“You’ll probably sneeze, and the baby will come out,” I told her.
I didn’t want to straight out lie, but I also know that nothing can prepare you. The truth is that unless you’ve already popped out a couple pups, it is 10 times more painful than you could have ever imagined. It is a slow, drawn-out form of torture where the pain comes in intense waves and then subsides, which doesn’t sound bad until you try managing that for hours and hours and hours. (My apologies to any pregnant women out there who are reading this. It’s not that bad!)
I just kept reminding her that soon, she would finally get to meet her baby. That she would hold his hand, smell his sweet cheeks, and nuzzle him against her skin. That there is nothing in this life that can compare to the love a mother feels for her newborn child.
In that Jan. 20, 2016, column I wrote, “Being pregnant has brought out my spiritual side. I’m starting to believe that we might have more than one go-around on this thing called life. How else do you explain the phenomenon of child prodigies, kids who are masterfully talented at music or sport or art without ever having been taught? … So I imagine my baby, his soul, on some epic journey from some other place in ways and forms we can never truly understand. And the one belief I’ve had all along is that, for one reason or another, he was meant to be with me.”
The postscript read: The Princess is literally going into labor as she writes this. Is that dedication or what? Because we all know the post scripts are always the best part.
I can’t wait for my friend to meet her baby, partly because it brings me back to that most profound moment in my own life — creating life.
The Princess wishes she was ripping down G4 about now but is stuck at home with the stomach flu. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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