Sometimes life puts together the most perfect storm of moments right together, and you just can’t help but be in awe of the beauty of this life.
Tuesday was one of those days for us.
My husband and I had been counting down the moments to Tuesday, May 21st at 1pm for a full 6 weeks, when we scheduled our first prenatal checkup at our birthing center. So much about this was exciting–meeting another one of the three midwives, experiencing a checkup in a birthing center, the mark of being 10 weeks, but of course, most of all, hearing our baby’s heartbeat for the very first time: our first real connection to this little person we created.
Neither of us slept the night before, and after a long morning of pacing and attempted distraction, it was finally time to leave. My precious husband decided he would time the drive to the birthing center, keep a log of how long it takes us each time between now and birth, and thus have an idea of what to expect when we leave for labor. I. Love. Him.
We arrived ahead of an impending thunderstorm, which everyone in the metroplex was very nervous about because of devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma just the day before. It barely even registered to us that anything was happening in the world other than this moment.
When we walked into the historic two-story home, so warm and inviting and intimate, the receptionist smiled and told us that our midwife was upstairs in a birthing room with a woman in labor. “She’s six centimeters dilated, so I’m sure there will be plenty of time for your appointment unless something crazy happens. She’s not making any noise or anything so nothing seems to be happening.” I listened (the walls are very thin and a mouse couldn’t take a step without us hearing it) and agreed that this woman must be just fine, because it was absolutely quiet.
Our midwife Carol finally came down and escorted us to the examination room downstairs. I couldn’t help but marvel during the exam at how much more involved the midwife is from my previous OB’s, who would arrive and stay for 10 minutes (at best) after a nurse had gone through my history and health. The midwife was in the midst of counseling me about proper nutrition (REAL nutrition, not just “foods to avoid”, but “eat 5 servings of vegetables”, etc) when our exam room door flung open at the same time I noticed a groaning sound coming from upstairs. The receptionist said “They’re yelling for you, she’s pushing!” Carol kicked off her shoes, promised to be back, and ran up the stairs to assist the delivery.
The door was open and Tony and I could hear everything. This was the first time my husband had ever heard a live birth, and I was a little nervous it would scare him. I gave him the play by play, as I could tell exactly what was happening by the sounds. 1 push, 2 pushes, on the third push the baby’s head was out, and after the final groan we heard a screaming little voice enter the world, mad as hell. We looked at each other in awe–did we just hear a new life enter the world, at our first every prenatal appointment?? How crazy was this timing??
The happiness was palpable in the house, a new little baby upstairs crying the only real sound to rival the growing sounds of thunder outside.
Not much later, Carol was back downstairs, clearly still on an adrenaline rush. She sat back down with us, described the delivery with a huge smile-it is clear to us that she loves her job. And who wouldn’t!
With the attention focused back to us (which felt, I’ll be honest, a little silly now), Carol finally had me lay down on the exam table and pulled out the Doppler. My husband began video so that when we got home we could show the kids what the baby’s heartbeat sounded like. It took a good long while to find the baby, which made us both a bit terrified. She realized at some point that my bladder was full and baby would be higher than expected, put the wand up higher, and boom, a tiny beating heart.
After going through this so many times with my other kids, I didn’t know how I would react to hearing the heartbeat. But the emotions immediately welled up inside, and I began to sob. This is real: this baby is alive and healthy and REAL, not some dream I’ve imagined. I have another child on the way. My husband is going to be a father, from the beginning this time. It all hit me, all at once, and I just couldn’t stop sobbing, even though every time I did it messed up the doppler 🙂
And then an extra special surprise, Carol pulled out an amazing little contraption-a handheld ultrasound machine. She asked if we would like to SEE our baby. And soon enough, there was our tiny little human, dancing and spinning and jumping around in my uterus, as if to tell us “Hi Mom and Dad! Everything’s great in here!”
A storm raged on outside, as we cried over this new life we created that was thriving and growing, and the new parents upstairs held their new baby for the first time. It was poetic.
The only time I even noticed the rain was when my midwife dug through her closet for an umbrella and insisted on escorting me to the car with it (how many OB’s would do that??) We drove home in a state of bliss and wonder, only mildly aware of the downpour happening around us.
This day was magic.