Monday, July 20, 2009

A Woman in her Thirties is her own Generation

There is a long list of things I've never done. Here is a sample:

1. I've never been to Africa
2. I've never been arrested
3. I've never eaten at Olive Garden without puking my guts out

And, up until today:

4. I had never seen, in real life, a baby being born

H called last night as I was putting my earplugs in to go to sleep. 'My water just broke,' she said. I don't know much about these things, but I remember hearing once that water breaking + second child = get to the hospital quick. So off I went. Quick.

In the waiting room, two J's, L, and I spent the majority of the time discussing the varying degrees of hilarity of 'that's what she said'. We made a security badge (simply called 'BADGE') out of a piece of paper in my purse, in an attempt to gain an all-access pass to the hospital. But nothing was happening in the baby delivery department. By the time the morning rolled around we were all delirious with fatigue and anticipation, and out of embarrassing stories.

At about 10:00am, it was time to go. We surrounded the bed like it was a Thanksgiving buffet, all waiting for the moment when H could push and we would have a baby. I say 'we' because that's how you talk when you're in the delivery room, like each and every person in there is in the exact same position and in the exact same amount of discomfort. H, along with every other woman who has ever had a baby, must find this very funny.

'There will be four generations of women in this room in a few minutes,' H's mom said, and it suddenly hit me, the enormity of coming into this world. Four generations. That's an awful lot of incredible stories. 'The miracle of life' takes on a new perspective when surrounded by the women who have come before us, and the women who have yet to arrive.

I held a leg. Can we all stop and think about this for a minute? I held a leg and watched one of my best friends bring a new life into this world. It was nothing like they make it out to be on TV. I can only oversimplify what it was like by saying that it was the closest I've ever come to seeing time stand still and move in fast forward at the same time. The only dry eye was Madeline's, as she looked up at her mother for the first time and thought, 'Oh, so that's what you look like.'

As the cameras clicked around me, I thought about how we are defined by the women before us and after us. A woman in her thirties can't look at a newborn and think, 'I know it all. Do it just like me.' Just like her mother and her grandmother before her couldn't do. We are our own generations and our own stories. All she can do when surrounded by her past, her present, and her future is promise all the love she's been given, and be amazed at the miracle.


  1. Ahh. I'm so excited for them. Awesome that you got to be there! I witnessed my first live birth at the ripe old age of 6 with my baby sister. Then Chloe- at 5- watched Camden come into the world. It really is amazing.

  2. I've never seen a baby being born, either, and I SO want to! One of these days I'm going to horn my way into somebody's delivery room (don't worry; it won't be yours if that makes you uncomfortable!).

    How wonderful that you could be there, and please pass my congrats on to H!

  3. This story made me re-live my birth experience, which was the most incredible moment of my life. People always say that and you never know what they mean until you've experienced it. I'm so glad you got to experience it. :) And I'm SO EXCITED to meet Madeline!!

  4. I was so excited when I heard you were going to get to witness Madeline's birth. It has to be amazing getting to "hold a leg". Mason came so quickly that I can't really say that moment was the most incredible of my life... that came later on the first night when it was just me and him and he was sleeping on my chest... but your post made me reconsider not wanting anyone there the next time around. It really is a beautiful experience to share.

  5. Congrats to H, Madeline and the famaily. It's an amazing thing and you expressed it well.

  6. What a great story! And so well shared!