I’m 57 years old. When my mother had ME, the one delivery room at the small hospital was already occupied, so they gave my mother a shot to stop my entrance into the world. Caught face down trying to push myself out, I must have felt like a hamster trapped in a ping-pong ball shooter. Once I was finally allowed to arrive, my face mushroomed to look like a sock full of cotton and my grandmother thought there had been a mistaken identity. I grew up to have FIVE children, 3 singles and a set of twins. I chose to not go the natural route, but they were all born vaginally with epidurals. I used to joke about “just knock me out in the 8th month and wake me when it’s over.” I mean, I was awake for all five – just able to medically bypass the discomfort.
When my daughter announced her decision to go COMPLETELY natural, I was literally mortified. My generation has been pre-programmed to believe that in order to have a child, you MUST have a hospital to be admitted to, a nurse monitoring everybody’s heartbeats – including those of waiting grandparents – and a doctor standing ready to catch the slippery child once he emerges. And preferably chatting away about this and that because you aren’t feeling pain. Outside of giving birth in a cab trapped in traffic, there was simply no other way. SHE however, was going with a midwife and a doula [which I had never heard of] and get this – have him in a tub of water! Without so much as a Tylenol. Okay, that’s not so uncommon for you, but it was for ME. I had read of it, but never knew anyone who actually DID it. I was a nervous WRECK, but I trusted her and her choices. Sort of.
It took a LONG time for her to convince me and even MY mother that this was the way to do it, the way God intended the human body to work. Slowly [reluctantly?] I understood what she was trying to say and once she broke through my stubborn programming, I began to understand and even agree with her decision. I watched her sit in her home – in labor – NOT panicking even after her water broke on Friday night. I spent the night VERY uneasy because water-breaking was always MY indication to get somewhere, quick! She very calmly went through the next day and night in labor, until 7 am Sunday when we all headed to the hospital, where she and her husband would meet with their midwife and doula.
It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been through. The doula kept us informed via digital pictures, and would then go back and take pictures of the waiting family to her and her husband. Once little Lucas came out, the first hands to touch him were his daddy’s. Then the midwife told my daughter to “reach down and get your baby”, and she pulled him out of the water and gently placed him on her chest. They waited until the cord finished its miraculous job instead of thoughtlessly hacking off its life-flow to Lucas. I’ll never forget seeing them together for the first time and knowing what my sweet daughter did to make his welcome near perfect. I am still in awe at what we all witnessed AND experienced. I am proud to say that while I am a convert, I’m glad my own child-bearing days are over so I don’t actually have to prove it. 🙂
Mother to Kinzie Bader of Douglasville, GA