Lesson #11:

It only takes 10 seconds to change your life

When I was pregnant, I probably watched every YouTube video related to women’s birth story. I talked to as many women that would share their story. I was anxious, having never given birth before and terrified of the pain. I knew it was going to hurt, I think I was just looking for something comparable to wrap your mind around. I went into labor on a Friday afternoon and the rest is history. At first I thought the pain was bearable. It felt like my body was completely tensing, from the tops of my thighs to my breastbone almost like a gigantic cramp. As the pain became more intense the only comfort I found was in the bathtub and I slept there Friday night. I focused on groaning through the pain, determined to give birth without any pain medicine. Like I mentioned before, I have some sort of thing about suffering for the things you want. I was in labor over 24 hours and finally told my husband it was time to take me to the hospital.

For as long as I was in labor, my body wasn’t relaxing enough to dilate so the hospital had me walk around the halls for a while. While I would stop and start to groan in the hallways my husband would remind me that each contraction was my body hugging our daughter. The imagine of my body welcoming my daughter by hugging her was extremely comforting to me. He may not even remember saying it, but with each strong contraction, that’s just what I kept telling myself. “You won’t be able to hug her this tight for a long time. Let your body welcome her with love.” When it was finally time to push I was now terrified. As your adrenaline starts pumping, your mind starts envisioning every possible outcome of this experience. At the end of one of my first pushes I told the midwife I was scared, and that I wanted her to be honest with me if my pushes were helpful or not.

She told me that the most amazing blessing lied on the other side of 10 seconds of bravery.

By God, was she right and 12 minutes later, my daughter entered the world. I remember when the dump of serotonin happened I started shaking and felt completely beautiful. I told my husband and my nurse that I felt so powerful, how I imagine someone who just ran a marathon to feel.

Fast forward to about a month later, my husband and I had to have one of the toughest decisions of our relationship. I wanted to go back offshore and finish my contract up until I was tenured with the company I worked for. Me going back offshore would be at 6 weeks post partum, and meant that I would be without my husband or daughter for 3 weeks. That also meant that my daughter would have to be at my mother’s house for 3 weeks so that we both could work and that my husband would be without us as well. I pumped and prepared for this, but the morning it came to leave, my husband and I cried and cried.

I can’t tell you how painful that morning was. I remember going to the heliport and getting out of the car and just thinking, “10 seconds. Just focus on the 10 seconds of bravery.” I had kept a brave face the entire day, until I heard the helicopter wheels come up and we were over water that I could not stop crying. I knew my life would be forever changed. I wanted to quit a million times over, but because I pushed through the blessings my family has been able to enjoy have been well worth it. My daughter will grow up and never remember me shipping out. I know that this experience speaks more to my character and a true test of my marriage.

My point being, since that moment in the hospital I remember what the midwife told me and apply it to my life every day. You can do anything for 10 seconds, even when completely terrified, exhausted and when everything in your body says you can’t. You are so much more powerful than you even know. When I was little and got upset, my mother used to have my count to 10. My daughter is not even 2 and she can count to 10. Those 10 seconds in your life will define who you are and what blessings come into your life. So chose bravery, chose for 10 seconds to believe within yourself.

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