Happy 1st birthday, Georgia Ann.

by Janelle Hanchett

Yesterday was Georgia’s first birthday. I can’t believe it. It seems like yesterday I was going through this to bring her into the world. It’s amazing the way the universe gives you what you need. Whether I know it or not at the time, I am learning what I need to learn, gaining what I need to gain, suffering in ways that will help me grow the insight or perspective or balls to face something that’s coming my way…

Georgia’s birth was like nothing I could have ever imagined. (Read about it HERE.) I could spend a whole page or a whole day attempting to explain to you what it felt like, what it was from my perspective, but my words would fall short; they wouldn’t come close to capturing the experience.

I suppose the closest thing I could say is this: I COULD NOT DO WHAT I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO DO. I did not have the power. I simply did not have it in me. I had reached my maximum. My height. The culmination of all my strength – I was giving it everything I had – and my baby was not coming out.

And YET, there was nobody else who could do this work.


So I stood in excruciating pain, facing a weird sort of existential moment: do something beyond my capacity, or die, I guess.

We weren’t on the brink of dying, at least I don’t think we were, although the cord was around her neck twice and she came out blue, so perhaps I “knew” something without knowing it. But it was all very black and white: To be free from this pain, I must do this. But I cannot.

I felt somewhere deep inside me that one of us was going to die if I didn’t make this happen.

My terror was beyond words. I felt I had fallen into an abyss of black but was powerless to crawl out. I wanted out. I just wanted it to end. I wanted some other reality. I wanted to ESCAPE.

But I could NOT escape. The only way to make it end would be to birth this baby…but I could not birth this baby.

But I had to.

But I could not.

But I’m going to die from this pain.

But I can’t make it end.

I have to make it end.

But I can’t.

And on and on like this I went.

For hours.

Until finally I got insane. I simply lost my mind – pulled from the recesses of my soul. Pulled from everything I had ever known and ever lived – everything I ever faced and overcome – everything I had ever feared and conquered – every rage I’d ever felt – every furious moment of passion or disbelief or sorrow or joy – I pulled it all.

And I pushed that baby out. That baby who was “undeliverable”. That baby who was 10 pounds with a head cocked to one side and tilted up – a position that would have required a cesarean had I been in a hospital. She came out in such a weird position I thought her head was a rectangle as she was emerging – I remember thinking to myself as I touched her head “She has a rectangular head. Weird.” (That’s how out of it I was.)

But when was she born I was born.

When her body flooded pink with life, blood surged through my veins.

When she took her first breath in my arms she filled my lungs.

And I was ready.

Ready for that which I cannot do.

Ready for what it means to be the mother of three.

Ready for quitting my job without a safety net.

Ready to go back to school, follow my gut instead of my mind.

Ready to homeschool my son.

Ready for my life, that I didn’t know was my life…until now.

So thank you Georgia. Thank you, precious, sage little one.


You made me what I am. You showed me what I can do. You lifted me up. Made me a mother again.


10 Comments | Posted in Sometimes, I'm all deep and shit..... | August 6, 2011
  • kim

    I’ve never done anything in my life that has required this strength, this intensity, this courage.

    Janelle, you’ve outdone yourself with this post. Georgia is a lucky girl.

    • Sam Kidd

      I can relate to that last super push . Not giving a damn if you die. Just come on out baby.

  • Lesley

    You could NOT do this, and yet YOU did.

    Happy belated Birthday!

    I would love, love to chat with you more on this. Feel free to contact me anytime, seriously.

    • renegademama

      Thanks, Lesley…yes, we should definitely talk more about this — wish you were there!

  • Shan

    I *love* this. I’ve read your story of birthing Georgia a couple of times. Reading this gave me that same emotional high… not like I did the same thing exactly, but like I was there with you.

    When my son was born (way back in the stone ages), I remember discovering that I could do things I wouldn’t have thought I could do. When Madelyn was born and I had to leave her in the hospital while I packed up and went home, I learned this in a new way. And when Fynnie was born, I was just relieved I’d never have to go through that all again… which probably means I’ll be smacked upside the head soon to help me learn that which I’m apparently avoiding.

  • dani

    I love this.

    Happy birthday…to both Mom and Georgia.

  • Aschala

    Beautiful post!

    • renegademama

      Thanks, Aschala. Good to “see” you on the blog!

  • mcdonnellism

    I loved this. I felt it. You captured it so succintly…it is almost fun to describe something that you still can’t comprehend the depth of, isn’t it, the power of it all? We are amazing.

  • Shan

    I thought of you and Georgia a lot this weekend. My husband’s niece was born yesterday. After five hours of pushing AND forceps. I’ll probably never hear the whole story, but I’ll always be amazed at what the human body and heart can do for the life of a child.