Let Me Tell You About The First Time I Played Hockey
Not just because I miss it like crazy, no, but because it says more about who I am than just about anything. So here goes: for many, many years, doing new things, especially physical things, scared me. I sat at my desk during the day and on my couch at night, enjoying many a tasty meal that added up to more weight and more importantly, a whole lotta lethargy. Why leave the house when you can play video games, right?
So I didn't. I sat on my ass and watched TV, wondering if maybe I should be doing something else, something that happened, you know, outside of my house. I wish I could say that there was a single event, a single inspiration that made something change in me, but it was just more this weird realization.
I could try new things. And if I didn't like them, that was okay, but I could try. I would take a deep breath and do whatever was asked of me, no matter how much it scared me or seemed foreign. Somehow, that new thing ended up being hockey.
So I signed up for a class, at 8 freaking 15 am on Saturdays. I went to steal-and-resell it again sports, picked up a seriously cheap and shitty set of gear for like $200 and went to my first class. I had no real idea how to get dressed, even, but some nice woman explained it and I managed to get it all on. I stepped onto the ice, remembering the few times I'd ice skated as a kid, remembering all the times I'd roller skated as that same kid, how I'd managed a crossover on my TOTALLY HAWT blue quad skates, but all of that seemed very far ago as I stood there, sweating and wondering what the fuck I thought I was doing, at age 27 and overweight, standing there as people whizzed by me.
But I remembered what I'd told myself. Just take a deep breath and do what the instructors ask you to. Or at least try.
So I tried. And failed in oh so many spectacular ways, like standing there, pointing backwards and trying to move backwards, even a little. Didn't happen and OMG did my calves burn. My head hurt from being pinched in a cheapass too-small helmet and I really didn't have any fun that day.
But I'd told myself I'd at least take the 12 weeks of the class and that was what I'm going to do, damn it. Because I'm cheap, I'd paid for it and once I've done that I'm gonna use it and because I'm stubborn.
So I went back (after discovering that getting my skates sharpened helped a bit, even if it also scared the crap out of me) and after 8 weeks of not really being fun AT ALL, it got fun.
You know the rest, eventually I was bitten by the hockey crack and played a million times a week. I even got sort of good at it and now I tell nice ladies who are just starting out the story of that awful first day, of how hard it was and how much I've grown since and because of taking that first day on the ice. I don't think I tell those nice ladies often enough how impressed I am by their own ability to take that first step onto the ice and how much I respect them for taking it.
I tell you this now because I learned something really important that day, and all the days that followed: that I can do whatever I set out to. In a very tangible way, I took on something completely foreign to my experience and ran with it. That first step changed my life, changed Andrea's, too and I'll always be grateful for the dramatic turn my life took once I became part of the hockey community.
Using that strength and faith in myself, we made a decision a few weeks ago about how we're going to approach the upcoming arrival of our beloved bowling ball.
We're going to attempt to welcome her into the world without drugs, using HypnoBirthing. Yes, we're still going to deliver at the hospital, there is NO way I could be comfortable even attempting this at home. I had seen the technique used on one of my "homework shows" where women give birth and it seemed like a really calm way to go about this.
There's no shouting, nobody telling me when to push (seriously, why does 10cm dialated automatically mean the baby's ready to come down? She might be ready a couple of minutes later), nobody forcing me to deliver on my back (which actually can make things harder), and in the end, when things happen are all up to the mother. You know, me. The one who's feeling all these things.
For as long as it takes, I plan to recall the strength it took to change my life that day I first played hockey and to pass that strength onto our daughter in this way.
We've told very few people because I'm SO not interested in hearing anyone mock this. I understand that it's not for everyone, but that doesn't give anyone the right to laugh (yes, it's happened already) at the absurd notion of being drug-free. So if you've got mocking comments, just share those somewhere else, I won't publish them here.
We took a class a few weeks ago, we practiced a 'mock birth' where we had to use the variety of relaxation techniques in sequence as if we were doing the Real Thing. For the last part of it, I did the Special Breath and don't you know, the kid went crazy. Cra-zee. Like she was pushing against leaving with all of her might. I made Andrea stop her part of the excersize and feel how hard our wee one was resisting leaving her wooshy world.
That's when I knew we could do this.
And if we don't, we don't. We'll use the techniques for as far as they'll take us. I refuse to let it eat at me for years after, to ask myself what I could have done differently to prevent x from happening. I'll do my best to remember that the end goal is for us to meet our daughter.
But I won't give up the goal of doing it drug-free without a fight. Or at least a lot of deep breaths and visualization.