The story of a homebirth – Part 4: Birth
There is a point in birth — I’m told by your mom, as I have yet to experience it — when the surges change. The best way to describe it is that the surges switch from expanding to bearing down. Your mom knew it, and she asked, “where is Diane?”
I calmly responded, “she is on her way, baby.”
To which your mom matter factly said, “this baby is coming.”
So we got your mom up from the toilet, and we started what I commonly referred to as the pregnancy shuffle; some other people like to call it the pregnancy waddle. Imagine you are handed a duffle bag full of water, and you have to carry it around by the waist… yeah, it would do things to your center of gravity, too.
We finally make it to the pool, and your mom lays inside there, so calm. She closes her eyes, and I caress her hair. I’m confident she fell asleep for fifteen minutes, but she says she never did. Regardless of who is right, (I am); she rested for a beat.
Diane had only arrived fifteen minutes before your head started to pop out.
We were in shock. After all, first births are supposed to last north of ten hours, and it had only been four since your mom went into labor.
I stood behind your mom, reaching over the edge of the tub to hold her while she was having her surges. Everybody gathered around us. I held your mother with strength and love when she started to bear down.
Diane guided your head out, and then she asked me if I wanted to receive you, and I did.
When I tell this story to people, I joke about how I welcome you into the world, and my first act as a dad was to drop you. How I hope you won’t remember that and how I was already making a little fund for your future therapy. The story was an artifice to highlight that no matter how many times I screw up, I would never leave your side.
It makes for a funny story. I think.
The truth is that I couldn’t reach you entirely because I was comforting your mom, so I welcomed you into the world with one hand, but Diane also helped me, and between both of us, we welcomed you into the world.
I let go of your mom, so I can fully grab you now then I passed you to your mom.
When you came into the water, you were very quiet and aware. The water has a very calming effect on you. I placed you on your mom’s chest.
Nobody in my family had heard of water births before ours. Your great-grandfather stills call you “la sirenita” — the little mermaid — because of it.
It was magical, out of this world — so was all the hair that covered your entire body.
You blinked once, and then you saw your mom, and you immediately recognized her. You already loved her. You had spent nine months in her belly, and you knew it, and you knew her. And you loved her. I had never seen anything like it — so much love in someone’s eyes when you are just meeting them for the first time.
We had spent minutes in reverie, and we still didn’t know your sex. Your Grammie shouted, “so what’s the sex?”
I pulled you enough to check, and we saw you were a girl.
It meant Grammie could never predict the baby’s sex from how women were carrying the baby ever again. We didn’t find out your sex and that created a frenzy of friends and relatives predicting your sex.
She made a bet that if it weren’t a boy, she would never guess again, and to this day, she has stayed true to that bet.
I cut your umbilical cord and laid you in my chest skin-to-skin while your mom birthed the placenta.
The second midwife came afterward, having missed the whole affair, and your Pappie joined us later, too.
We saw him looking at the polaroids Aunti B had taken of the birth, and we saw him quietly cry at the beauty of it — his daughter was now having a daughter of her own and was coming to find out how much a parent can love their kid from the beginning.
Your mom slowly came out of her trance, and when she did, she noticed the lavender bouquet. She asked, “who brought those?”
Your Grammie proudly responded, “I did.”
“Thank you,” your mom said. “They are lovely.”
This is the final installment of my first daughter’s home birth. You can find the entire series below.