My gorgeous, beautiful son was born on the morning of Sunday, December 13th. What an experience, I don’t even know if I can begin to describe it. I chose to have a water delivery at a birthing center rather than go the hospital route, and I’m so glad I did. Most of the labor I was able to do at home, which started very early Saturday morning. Finally, when the contractions were intense and frequent, we met the midwife at the birth center at 4:30 Sunday morning. Bill, Shelley, my sister Kathryn who was visiting from Texas and I arrived, and shortly after came Doug and Maura. There was an energy in the air, the kind that completely wipes out the feeling one usually has at being awake at 4am. Like waking up early to get ready for an exciting road trip… times 10.
During my whole pregnancy it was all about me. Someone who didn’t agree with my decision towards adoption had told me I was being selfish and that it wasn’t about me. My response was that yes, actually it is all about me. I’m the one housing this baby, I’m the one taking care of him, I’m the one (along with Bill of course) who makes the decisions for his life. In that particular conversation the person seemed to be extremely concerned with what happens to the baby and not at all interested in any aspect of my life. I told her she can’t get to the baby without going through me.
That’s true with any expectant mom. There is so much interest in this new life and people want to express that interest and concern, but everything must be channeled through the mother for the first nine months. I loved that channeling process. I loved it when a hand was placed on my belly. Someone was touching me, but it was meant for the baby. We were one. When I was at work in Alaska and my employees were constantly taking things out of my hands saying I shouldn’t be carrying anything, they were taking care of me and showing their concern for this boy they had never met. When someone became protective of me, they were protecting the baby. When someone saw me waddling into the supermarket and they opened the door and pulled the cart out for me, it was also for my baby. Everything was channeled to him through me, especially the love I felt from Bill, Doug, Maura, and their family and friends.
I knew that for that time it was all about me, I was the center of attention because I was carrying this incredibly special boy. All eyes were on me, but only because all of our hearts were on him. So at the birth center as we all gathered there knowing that the time was soon to come, I felt that channeling of love and anticipation even more intensely. Just as we had learned in our birthing class, my entourage of support were rubbing my shoulders, massaging my feet, bringing me water, putting cold towels on my neck, wiping my forehead, pulling back my hair. Some people may be intimidated at having so many people around when going through such an intimate and intense event like giving birth, but with every touch I felt strengthened and supported. I felt it even more because I knew it wasn’t only for me, but also for this life inside of me. Did that make me feel less loved? Or that it was only my baby that anyone was interested in? Not at all; my son and I were at that time so connected that any love anyone had for him I felt was equally dispersed to me, and vice versa. At one point, I was in the tub intensely pushing and every person in the room had a hand on me. How can I explain that feeling, that feeling of so much love and strength given to me by other people, so much energy from anticipation, and the feeling of me transferring that to my son? I don’t think it’s possible to translate that into words.
Everything for the past nine months had been leading up to this point. Lives had been rearranged for this moment. People had traveled thousands of miles for this moment. Every thing I had done for the past nine months; everything I had eaten, every walk I took, every yoga and birthing class I went to, every time I slept, every breath I took was for this little guy I was about to meet. Every kick or hiccup I felt reminded me that he was getting ready for this moment.
I was pushing so hard that I was making deep grunting noises. I was concentrated, focused. He had already crowned about half an hour ago, and I could feel the top of his head. I pushed and pushed, “come on Reed, come on baby,” I was coaching to him. And then, suddenly, everyone gasped. What? What happened? Then before I knew it I was leaning back in the tub and was being handed this beautiful, pink, dark haired baby boy! He had shot out so fast I didn’t even realize it! And there he was in my arms, the one whos’ every movement I had felt, who Bill and I and Doug and Maura had been dreaming about, wondering what it would be like to finally meet him. “So you’re the one!” were my first words to him. And then, as I had said to him every single day since I first learned of his existence, I said “You are so special to me.”
At that instant, every act of love and concern that had been showed to me became even more alive in him. We had been listening to a compilation cd of some mellow music that they happened to have at the birth center, and the song “blackbird” by the Beatles was playing on the cd player at the moment of his birth. How appropriate; “you were only waiting for this moment to arrive.”