My son is turning seven.
Every year, I wax poetic and thoughtful regarding the few days leading up to his birth, the events of going into labor, and the actual birthing of him. My pregnancy with Jack was idyllic. I tell people I could have stayed pregnant with him forever. I felt great physically, mentally, and emotionally. It might have been one of the happiest periods of my life.
Anyhoo, last year, on the eve of his birth, I told Jack the story of his arrival into the world. I was thinking of telling him his birth story again, and how I would tell it this year.
The day prior to your birth, I went to the doctor. She examined me and said, “Nothing to see here; move along.” She assured it would be another two weeks, probably. That was fine, because you weren’t due for another two weeks anyway.
I went to work, worked a full day, and went out to dinner with my Daddy. We had pizza and fruit at Whole Foods, then came home. I chilled in our air conditioned bed room and fell asleep. Around one a.m., I woke to pee. Upon returning from the bathroom, I felt a little pop and sploosh! I poked your daddy. “Uh, honey? I’m fine, but I think my water just broke,” I said calmly.
At this part in the story, I paused. Jack would likely ask what it meant that my water broke. I thought of explaining to him that while a baby is growing in a mama’s tummy, it floats in a bubble of watery fluid that helps to keep baby safe and warm.
Of course Jack would want to know how a baby breathes in there, so I thought about explaining to him that a baby doesn’t need to breathe when he is the mama’s tummy. There is a magical cord that connects baby to mama and it does all the work of breathing for the baby.
Wait. Should I use the word magical? I mean, it is scientific and biological, not really magical, right?
I thought of how I would describe the umbilical cord as an important link between the mom and baby, how it feeds and beats for the baby. I thought of how he grew inside of me, how my body fabricated each and every hair on his head, all the cells in his organs, and even the big, imaginative brain in his head. Sure, my husband made a genetic deposit, but I was the one who invested in this endeavor, and returned with interest, an eight pound miracle.
The next morning, we took a long walk, and then we went to the hospital so you could be born. You took your time coming out, and it was way past dinner time when I finally held you in my arms. Seeing your face for the first time was the most amazing moment of my life, and I cried because I was so happy. You snuggled on my chest and got nice and warm, and then you had your first meal of mama milk.
Jack’s birth was extremely peaceful, despite the fact my contractions had not started on their own 12 hours after my water broke, so we had to go to the hospital and be induced. While I would not wish an induction and epidural on my worst enemy, it was still a remarkable and wonderful experience I would relive in a heart beat. After laboring for 12 hours and pushing for another two, Jack was out with us. My husband cut the umbilical cord.
It is definitely magical. There might not even be anything that is more magical.