Last night I was with you as you brought your fourth child and second son into this world.
Truly one of the best nights of my life.
I know you were pretty busy with getting him out so you may have not noticed everything that went on, but I did. And damn, you’re really good at making and birthing babies.
First off, shut up. You are amazing. I actually found myself jealous of how glowing and beautiful you were at 3 am after pushing a baby out with no drugs. I saw a glimpse of myself in a window as I walked out of the hospital and *I* looked like the one who had just been through the hardest physical task of my life.
While you were out walking with Charity, Michael and I sang the theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel Air, if only to prove that anyone born between 1975 and 1985 should know every single lyric by heart. Then Shireen and I got in a rap off about you on twitter. Sorry for my momentary lapse in professionalism. I joked with Michael that I was his doula, there to get him drinks and whatnot, I offered to press on his hips but things just got awkward.
At 8cm dilated you began talking about the Goodwill Outlet, and about needing gloves to make it out without any communicable diseases. It was a conversation we could have had over dinner, with strangers or sitting around at your house. But no, you were in labor and discussed the finer points of Goodwill Outlet shift changes until you were knocked speechless by another contraction.
You kept saying how exhausted you were, that you just wanted to curl up and go to sleep. If there were any moment that I wanted to take all of your pain away from you it was then. Just to give you 10 minutes of rest from what you so bravely doing.
That being said, labor and delivery nurses shouldn’t yawn so much. I don’t care what time it is. Just an observation.
I especially liked it when you where hunched over in the bed and as you heard me come near you muttered “I’ll bet I’m making you totally want to do this again.”
Being able to keep in touch with your mom and sisters through the whole thing was pretty spectacular. There’s a very good chance I won’t be there for the birth of my nephew at the end of March and being able to see how your sisters rallied together for you and made jokes about their own labors, including one that took place at animal control and one that happened in a room down the hallway…I’m pleased to be counted as the 5th Dutch sister.
As far as the moment your water broke? If there were awards given out to women for listening to their bodies and demanding everyone else listen as well? You’d win. You knew that kid was coming and that he was coming now. When Nurse Yawns said ‘hold on‘ and you responded with ‘GET THE DOCTOR IN HERE NOW.’ I gave you a silent little standing O from the back of the room.
It went so fast. One push his head was out. Half a push later you had a baby in your arms. I perfect little boy with long fingers, full lips and a wrinkly little back.
At one point you yelled ‘I CAN’T DO THIS!‘ the sarcastic part of me thought ‘It’s a little to late for that now Em.’ while the rest of me, completely in awe of what you were going through shouted “YES YOU CAN. YOU ARE SHOWING BIRTH WHO’S BOSS.” I kept quiet of course, aside from the clicks of my shutter, you had plenty of other people cheering you on, including your doula who said very matter-of-factly “Yes you can, because you’re doing it.”
And just like that he was here.
You probably didn’t get to see Michael’s face. He’s so in love with that tiny little seven pound body and even more in love with you. I hope that being able to see his face in these pictures made it worth having me there. The joy of a man becoming a new dad, even for the fourth time…it’s palpable, fleeting and one of the most powerful emotions out there.
As I left you were snuggled up tight with your son, surrounded by the dim, warm, quiet that happens after all the excitement and intensity has slowed down. That magical time when it’s just you and your baby.
People commented on how lucky you are to have a friend like me, while I’m certainly not going to argue with them (what? humility is overrated) I am going to say it is me who is blessed to have you as a friend.
Our friendship may have started because of the Internet, but it was designed by God.
You are forever a part of my family and heart.
Thank you for being you.
And thank you for letting me be with you two years ago and last night as you welcomed your sons into this world.
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