Although I have had three children and was DEFINITELY present at their births (and subsequent raising, although Child #1 would argue that point), I have always wanted to be on the other end of the birthing experience. I wanted to see a baby be born when it wasn't coming out of my body. Thanks to my dear friend, I can now check that off my bucket list. I was graciously invited in to the Labor and Delivery Room to join her husband and her sister witness the birth of her son. And yes, it met all of my expectations.
My phone rang at 7:30 in the morning. Auntie was calling to tell me that they had arrived at the hospital, she said that I had time to take a shower and to meet them there when I was ready. I frenzied around, left my sleeping children and grabbed some lattes for audience participants, arriving at the hospital less than an hour later.
Mom was having back labor at the time and waiting eagerly for the glories of the epidural. Within the first five minutes of my arrival, she had a contraction. This was the first time I have ever seen anyone have a contraction (other than my own). It was hard to watch; I readily witnessed her pain without feeling it and just wanted to do something to ease it for her. Pre-epidural, we were strongly instructed to NOT TOUCH the mommy, no one was to go near her during the contraction.
About an hour later, with miracle drugs flowing into her system, my friend was a comfortable woman in labor. She tried to rest while we chatted, watched hours of 80's sitcoms and waited. We were all enthralled by the monitors. There were graphs tracking both the baby's heart rate and the strength of the contractions. The screen also showed all of the monitors of the other women in labor on the floor. We could tell when the woman down the hall was having a "big one" and that one woman was having twins due to two fetal heart beats. I spent hours gazing at the monitors.
At some point mid-day, Auntie and I went down to grab some lunch. We had a few bites of our not-so-bad hospital food only to receive a text from dad mid-chew, "9.5 cm". Faster than a contraction, we tossed the contents of our trays (well, Auntie did, I don't easily discard food, so my salad joined me in the elevator) and headed up for the main event.
To be continued...