Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Miracle of Birth: My Goddaughter is Born!

A good friend of mine, Ruth (whom you may have seen comment here from time to time) was pregnant. A few months ago, she asked if I would be present at the birth, and without hesitation, I said yes.

Sunday night I had a lot of problems with pain, and ended up being awake all night. I checked my email around 11 PM and read one from Ruth: bad back pain which didn't ebb a bit with back massages by the baby's father. I immediately emailed her back, telling her to hang on there and to keep a close eye out, as back pain like that is often a precursor to labor.

5:30 Monday morning, I was still awake when Ruth's mom called me. Ruth had been having contractions since midnight, and was now in the hospital being examined. No one was sure whether or not these were actual contractions or Braxton-Hicks, or even whether or not she'd be sent home. I was told to be on "stand-by." I packed my purse full of meds, money, my digital camera and other necessities and got dressed.

At 7:30, I got the call: she was being admitted, and it was go time! I called a cab and was on my way.

Ruth had a pretty hard time of it, with back labor and an epidural that would not take. I've heard of that happening before, but it's the first time I've ever actually SEEN it. The irony was that the anasthesiologist who administered the epidural was the same one I'd used two years ago during Eden's birth, and the same one Ruth's sister had used four years ago during her son's birth! I felt so bad for her, not getting any pain relief. I had back labor during Wren's birth, so I know how badly it hurts. It's not comparable to "regular" labor at all, and to have a first birth like that? Wowsa.

I must say, though, that I was unendlessly impressed with how Ruth handled the pain. Her Lamaze breathing was perfect, impeccable. She could teach a class, she was that good. I did everything I could to help her. It was my first experience at a birth in which I was not one of the principal players involved. I understood now my husband's feeling of helplessness in the face of the pain. You want to try to help, but there really isn't all that much you CAN do, except just be there and be supportive.

At 12:45 Tuesday morning, Ruth had been in labor for over 24 hours, and had the very strong urge to push. I ran (ok, I hobbled with my cane) and got the nurse. She was fully dialated, and it was time to give birth. The doctor was called, and all that remained was to wait for his appearance. I was the only person not related to the baby by blood who was permitted to attend the birth. I felt so overwhelmingly honored.

A little after 1PM, the doctor arrived. In four pushes, Ruth's daughter was born. I had never seen another human being give birth before. I've seen on television many times, and in my childbirth classes years ago during my pregnancy with Wren, but never right there, witnessing it in person. I cannot adequetly describe the feelings I had at that moment. It was indescribably incredible.

As Ruth held her baby girl (8 pounds, 7.7 ounces and 19 inches long), the baby's nurse asked everyone who they were in relation to the baby. When she pointed at me, I said "honorary aunt." Ruth looked up at me and said, "I was thinking more along the lines of godmother." I was so honored, I began to cry. Of course, I accepted.

Soon, other family members came into the room to see the new baby. I began to sing "Happy Birthday," and the others joined in. When we got to "Happy Birthday dear---" we paused, looking meaningfully at Ruth. She'd earlier decided to wait until the baby was born to decide between three names she loved (Violet, Madeline
and Justice). Now the verdict was in, and the song could now properly be finished: her name is Justice.

She is an absolutely beautiful baby. Lovely blue eyes, and a full head of blonde hair which looks like it might be curly when it gets dry and a tad longer. I was the designated photographer, and I had a blast taking tons of pictures: baby meeting Mommy, baby meeting Daddy, baby's first diaper, baby's first weigh-in. I even had Ruth's mom take a photo of me holding my new goddaughter (and I loathe having my photograph taken). I could hardly wait to get home and edit the photos and put them on disc for Ruth.

Thank you, Ruth, for this wonderful opportunity...and for naming me as godmother. I am thrilled beyond words.



May the good lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
Surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever young

May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to heaven
With a prince or a vagabond

And may you never love in vain
And in my heart you will remain
Forever young

And when you finally fly away
I'll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
I'm right behind you, win or lose
Forever young

---Bob Dylan


At 10:18 PM, Blogger Angel said...

Awww congratulations :*)


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