Eve Ensler in her Vagina Monologues has a piece entitled “I was there in the room” which chronicles a mother’s observation of her daughter having a daughter.
It has been a dream of mine to photograph a birth … I’ve come close on two occasions. On the first, I had duties that did not allow me to be there with my friend when she was induced. I’d hoped the baby would either come in a timely fashion before the start of the graduation ceremony I was to host, or either be considerate enough to wait until after the ceremony was finished.
Needless to say, as stubborn as her parents (I love you A&D), the child was born while I made a mad dash from the ceremony venue to the hospital. I still think my friend could have held her in 10 more minutes! LOL
On my second attempt, I managed to stay with my friend from arrival to hospital until about five minutes before the baby was born. Even though her doctor had given clearance for me to stay in the room, the head nurse aggressively ushered me out and said she’d confirm it for herself with the doctor before letting me back in… of course she never asked him anything and the baby was born literally five minutes after I’d left the room.
All that said, just to share in the before and after moments
are still priceless and treasured memories. And my two girlfriends were troupers!!! Caryl stated, eyes squeezed shut, “There’ll be no vagabondish behaviour … I’m a lady!” … and a lady she was indeed… even as her fingernails cut into my hands, my breast at one point and her
husband’s thighs and stomach… she never yelled, screamed or carried on like a “vagabond”. I tell you … the strength of a woman in labour can bring grown men to their knees.
I can remember with my own labour (that was really a joke), my brother laughed at me, until he helped me out my bedroom and I grabbed his hand. He stopped laughing as another contraction hit and he literally fell to his knees!
My other girlfriend Amanda – well she would have fooled anyone into thinking that labour and childbirth were easy as a Sunday afternoon breeze! Arriving just minutes after she’d returned to her room, she was all smiles. In fact, she was all laughs – grinning ear to ear like a hyena! I
had to ask her if her nenen (that’s Antiguan lingo for vagina) was not hurting! I don’t know if it was the euphoria of bringing her second daughter into the world, maybe the experience of having delivered before, or well … the meds finally kicking in … but this girl was the happiest mommy I’d ever seen!!! She did not look exhausted or beat up (if I go again I want whatever the heck she was on!).
My experience? Well it was a blur, and being an active participant, I can remember closing my eyes tightly throughout it all. There was a mirror opposite me, but I did not want to see my own nenen/ladybits/saltfish/pumpum/pussy/gloryhole/gatetoheaven give birth. I remember giving three good pushes; I remember feeling like my “down there” was being outlined with a blow torch; I remember the final third push and then … nothing. Seriously… nothing! No pain… no contraction… nothing … that is ... nothing but that beautiful sound of my daughter crying.
I was later told by the people waiting outside that they heard me make two exclamations for the 17 minutes I was in the room – “Mommy!” (I believe that was the “blow torch” experience, aka the crowning; and a baby crying shortly after. I honestly do not recall screaming out for my mother. I remember them taking the baby and cleaning her up then placing this grey-reddish bundle on my chest… I remember her looking up at me and cease her crying … like she knew exactly who I was… like she remembered all those times I sang to her, fought with her when I wanted to sleep, and told her I couldn’t wait to meet her … I remember thinking … wow … this is what this feels like.
Whenever I see any of my friends with their new born babies, I always reminisce on that moment ... that moment of perfect serenity … that moment of … wow … turned upside down, you get MOM.
Now, I know not everyone’s birthing experience is smooth, and not everyone even has a birthing experience. But, there is a wow moment, when you are holding that baby and you feel your souls connect and you fall so deeply in love that you realise you never knew you could love someone that much. So here’s to the “wow” moments of being a mom. Happy Mother’s Day!