A few months ago, my friend Caitlin told me she wanted me to be at her birth. I said “of course, I’ll do whatever you need!” but I also didn’t really let myself believe that I would actually be there. I wanted her to feel free to say “oh…nevermind! We found someone else!” and if I missed it for some reason, I didn’t want to feel crushed. So I kept thinking “I might be there. I might not. We just have to see how it goes.”
Well, I was there.
Kyle, Caitlin’s husband, texted me on Saturday afternoon to let me know her water had broken and the contractions had started. I went over to their apartment around 3 and we soon left for the hospital. And as Caitlin would have a contraction, my body would have this strange reaction. It seems too simple to say that I could remember what it felt like…it was more like my muscles were remembering. When she had a long, wincing, moaning contraction, I could, in some small way, feel it. In my gut. It felt familiar.
I’m not entirely sure why Caitlin wanted me there. And I’m not reaching for false modesty here…I honestly don’t know. I’m not well read on childbirth. I’ve never attended someone else’s birth. There is so much that I don’t know about it. We met the week beforehand to simply talk about what she wanted me to do. What was her plan? What was my part? But there wasn’t really anything set in stone. She just wanted me to be there. Because I had once been there.
So I did the things that I liked during my births. I had her water bottle in my hand almost the whole time, offering her sips, because I remember being so thirsty. I encouraged her to open up and work with the contractions and I reminded her to relax in between them. I told her that this process would end (something I had entirely lost sight of in my labor with Andrew). But, there were times I had to tell her the cold, hard truth: that she was an amazing powerhouse, incredibly strong and that she was doing a fantastic job. Because, oh my, was that ever true. She was incredible.
It was a very quiet, peaceful labor. She was quiet and focused. The lights were low and we kept things calm. And then, after about 40 minutes of pushing, little Zaida Rose appeared.
At Caitlin’s request, I have photos of just about the entire process. I would take pictures of her progress and show them to her, when she wanted to see them. I have lots of photos of Zaida emerging. And even though I’ve done this twice with my boys…I’ve never been at the other end. And there was something so entirely mystifying about it. I am more confused than ever at how this happens. Sure, it’s textbook and common and happens all the time, everyday…but its also completely surreal.
I got home very late that night and woke up to my own babies.
Sunday was slow and restful. There were lots of legos and cuddling.
And a little bit of Just Dance 2.
Welcome sweet Zaida. We can’t wait to get to know you.