© 2017 Chiara Beth Colombi

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onceuponabirthstory@gmail.com

Washington DC Metro Area

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My Inspiration

I gave birth to my son via cesarean after 28 hours of unmedicated labor, eight of which I spent at 9 cm dilated with an intact bag of waters, confirmed polyhydramnios, and a high-floating baby who never engaged lower than -2 station. Though little went according to my Bradley method birth plan, the experience was glorious, empowering, transformative, and self-affirming. But it took me upwards of a month to realize that. Because despite being a writer by trade, it took me weeks to finally scrape together enough of my baby’s unpredictable cat naps to find the time to put my birth story into words.

For the first month of my son’s life, I juggled the challenges faced by all first-time moms with a secret struggle to come to terms with a delivery I didn't expect. I wanted to write my son’s story, but a part of me dreaded reliving my own. I didn't want to face my selfish disappointment. When I finally put pen to paper at a month’s (sleep-deprived) distance, so much of the experience had become fuzzy around the edges: what time in the middle of the first night my contractions truly kept me awake, how long I paced the halls with my husband at my side and the nurses changing shifts, at what point the OB confirmed she couldn’t break my water due to the risk of cord prolapse, and just how many hours I passed moaning through pitocin-laced surges before opening my eyes to a birth team suggesting a caesarean as the safest way forward.

 

There are so many twists and turns to every birth. I chronicled what I could, to the best of my memory, then reread my words for errors. And instead, what I found was my son’s beautiful, unique, inspiring birth story. A story that I treasure unlike any other and that I wish I’d had the time to record sooner, while each step and stage was still fresh in my mind. By reading my experience, I finally saw my strength through it all, I witnessed mine and my husband’s unwavering partnership, and I relived the inimitable joy of a life beginning.

 

The overwhelming events and emotions surrounding birth and parenthood are quick to overshadow the more intimate details, and it’s easy to lose sight of the significance of all those small moments of strength. The sense of self that I regained in reading my story -- the achievement and ownership of my son’s birth that I acquired -- inspired me to launch Once Upon a Birth Story: to help new parents put their stories into words before the memories fade, so they too can forever cherish their unique birth stories and, no matter how unexpectedly those stories go, discover their strength through it all.

My Writing

I have been working as a freelance writer, editor, and translator since 2007, when I moved to Genoa, Italy, to reinvent my career and rediscover my roots. In 2014, I returned to the US with a husband, Italian fluency, and an even greater appreciation for the beauty of language and the capabilities of the written word. My freelance portfolio includes a number of Italian guidebooks and tourism sites, evergreen articles focused on food, culture, and small businesses, and a blog about life in Italy written for Better Homes and Gardens. I received my BA in English Literature and Language from the University of Virginia, with Distinction received for my thesis on Halfling Heroes in The Lord of the Rings. I also enjoy writing fiction for children, young adults, and all lovers of the fantastical.