Life Lesson #1: always trust your gut.


– Shel Silverstein


Little did I know that one year ago today was the start of my labor journey to Charlie’s birth. I was exactly 32 weeks and going into labor was the last thing on my mind. I had my 32 week appointment a couple days prior where I talked extensively with my OB about my [natural, mind you] birth plan and she told me to mentally prepare to go to 41 weeks as is typical with first babies.

Oh how the universe had very different plans in store for us!

My contractions started during lunch at Red Robin with my due date buddies, Sara and Elizabeth. They were intermittent, yet steady, all through the afternoon and evening. I was concerned enough to call the on call OB, and while I had enough reason to go check myself into L&D to be monitored, I instead convinced myself they were merely Braxton Hicks. S was on a plane back from London and I was petrified to go alone – more petrified to ruin my perfect image of my perfect natural birth . . . an image where my water quietly breaks in the middle of the night, right on my due date of course, and S adorably stumbles around in the dark getting things ready to drive me to the hospital . . . not this image of any premature business where my husband is not available while I check myself alone and scared into the hospital.

Anyway, as a result of how Charlie came into this world, motherhood in general, and the artifacts from my failed marriage . . . I feel as though I’ve had a lot of life lessons reinforced and revealed to me over the past year. I’d like to take some time over the next week as I reminisce (i.e. possibly ramble nonsensically) about Charlie’s birth story to take the time to link those lessons to this past year and what they mean to me and my path forward.

Today? Well, today I reminded: Always, always trust your gut.

I knew something was not right one year ago today. And when you feel like something isn’t right, it’s because it isn’t.

I knew that when my contractions didn’t go away after Tylenol and a warm bath, that something was off. I remember Charlie’s movements that evening were very pronounced and unusually forceful. But, honestly, I didn’t want to admit or think anything was truly wrong so I when I hit the maximum number of contractions within the hour I was supposed to be having . . . I just stopped counting and convinced myself I was reading the situation incorrectly. I told my inner voice I was being a huge baby. The contractions didn’t hurt THAT much, right? So suck it up, it’s fine! I didn’t want to go to L&D alone only to waste their time on a silly false alarm. Because, surely, it HAD to just be a false alarm and I was being a total baby over what were just Braxton Hicks.

The thing is . . . our gut is never wrong, though. I knew something was off . . . and sure enough, it was. The problem is when we don’t take the time to listen to our inner voices and give them the credit they deserve. And, no, I didn’t listen one year ago.

The what-ifs that run through my head as a result can sometimes get out of control . . .

What if I HAD gone into L&D that night and they could they have stopped my labor before my water broke? Could they have done something to keep Charlie in until he was full term? If I had him when he was full term, would things in my marriage have felt more normal? Would my marriage have been dealt less of a final blow, would we have been able to bounce back and potentially save our family altogether?

Well. What-ifs are useless, right? Hindsight is 20/20, but it doesn’t ever change what happened.

And, when I push aside the feelings of rejection I have from the divorce, since S was the one to ask for it, and when I ask myself what I really, really think about it all. And what I really, really want. I know deep down that we have made the right decision. I have always known something was off in our marriage, something that wasn’t fixable. It was easy to cover it up with things. But, the fact is, life happened the way it happened. Our marriage didn’t survive it. And it didn’t, because it wasn’t meant to – for whatever reason – it simply wasn’t meant to.

So, if you’re still with me . . . this long ramble is all to say . . . our inner voice, our intuition, our gut . . . they are worth stopping and quieting our minds enough to listen to. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s likely because it isn’t. It’s not easy to listen to all the time. Because, it often is trying to tell us something we don’t want to hear. But, when we do listen, and we do accept the tough things, which often force us to let go of things we otherwise thought we wanted or planned. . . we are instead rewarded with a great sense of confidence that we are making the right choices for ourselves.

And peace that we’re on the right track; that we are just where we need to be at any given time.

I am on the right track.

I am right where I need to be.

My gut is telling me so.

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