Thursday, November 1, 2007
The marvelous individual who became my best friend when I was five turns twenty five today (Happy Birthday to you!). I was present for the birth of her first child, which was a great honor and privilege. She lives in Hawaii now, so I was unable to attend the birth of her second beautiful daughter (smiling above), which I consider a uniquely great tragedy as the baby was born at home so I probably could have actually been of some use. She had planned to deliver in a hospital with a midwife, and determined that she would labor at home until she perceived that she couldn't "take it" anymore, at which point she would transfer to the hospital. I spoke with her on the phone briefly a few hours before she delivered the baby and could tell in her voice that things were progressing well. The next time we spoke, she reported to me on the rest of the story:
"I was doing fine, really, but labor became so intense all of a sudden that I knew I would not be driving anywhere. When the time came, I ripped off my pants, squatted down, and pushed the baby out in the kitchen, simple as that."
I think she depicted the scene with panache.
Her husband calmly caught the baby, and the two of them watched while their new daughter peacefully breastfed for her first time as though she had been doing it forever. *sigh*
The interesting part, for me, has been observing how different things are, parenting-wise, with the second baby. Whereas breastfeeding the first was nothing short of hell on earth, breastfeeding the second has not caused a moment's discomfort. My friend has become an avid Attachment Parent and has experienced what can only be described as the pure joy of motherhood. I saw her recently and her whole family was positively radiant.
I have seen enough births to know that no two are the same. I have seen many friends who made informed, responsible choices about their births end up with birth experiences that were disappointing at best, including the friend who inspired this post. I advocate for all women to really do the research and find out how safe home birth is before categorically rejecting the idea. I have never given birth and am, therefore, admittedly no expert, but I have done my homework and I really believe in the possibility of birth beyond what many consider possible. My favorite book on the subject is Ina May's guide to Childbirth, which I would heartily recommend to everyone.
On her birthday, my friend sent me a gift (this is a good kind of friend to have). I received this video in my inbox this morning. I liked it and so, since I know she'd want me to share it with anyone who might not know about the safe and potentially magical experience of home birth, I am posting it. I will admit that it made me cry. Kind of hard.
Please never amputate viable body parts; take the time to learn the truth about circumcision.
Happy Birthday one and all!