I don't use the term "push" lightly. The rests between contractions became vital for each subsequent push. This was true for the end of laboring with Max. This was true for the birth in my bedroom with Max. This was true for the eight days in the NICU with Max. You can't just stop labor. You can't just collapse when a contraction comes. You cannot not push. You just know what to do and you have to do it. You and your baby work together. You take turns taking the lead. But you do not collapse. This is my dance with Max. I gave birth to Max and to myself as Max's Mother but I am still in labor. My pushes now are very clear leads from Max that are simultaneously miraculous and painful. The miraculous is that I have Max gently guiding me into unexplored areas of my life with these huge bursts of intensity. The pain is that some of those areas are dark and really fucking uncomfortable. But one does not come without the other. Max is a miracle. He has broken open more hearts in his eight days than most of us dare to do in a lifetime. But having a broken open heart doesn't have to feel good. Don't kid yourself. Giving birth to your babies or to your realized self does not feel good. When we open so radically we become vividly aware of how and where we are rigid or have closed ourselves off. This takes being bold. This takes being vulnerable. These two things are not mutually exclusive. They are in relationship. One will take the lead but they are in a constant dance. So amazing warrior... What is your push?