parents

"I was in a surreal, freeze-framed world, watching her first moments of life."

Mater Mothers Hospitals
Thanks to our brand partner, Mater Mothers Hospitals

This is what it is REALLY like.

When my sister asked me to be present at her birth a year ago, I didn’t hesitate to say yes – of course I would.

Having had my beautiful daughter a long time ago – she is 12 now, and a gorgeous, bright tween – I couldn’t picture what a birth would be like from a supporter’s position. I was excited and full of anticipation.

The actual moment of birth was incredible. First her head (and yes, I cried) then all of her, healthy and beautiful. They lay her on my sister’s chest.

She didn’t cry or make a sound. I was in a surreal, freeze-framed world, watching her first moments of life, her tiny movements; her skin gradually flushing pink. She craned her little head up, wrinkly forehead, looking quizzically up at my sister; rooting around for the nipple. My sister’s face, only moments ago scrunched up in pain and concentration, was now awash with joy.

“My sister’s face, only moments ago scrunched up in pain and concentration, was now awash with joy.”

Of course it brought me back to my own daughter’s birth and those early, surreal days with a newborn. The moments that stick out to me are not necessarily the big ones, the major milestones.

What I remember most are things like my daughter nuzzling at my breast like a hungry little puppy, and nursing her at home in the middle of the night with Maisy the Mouse decals all over the wall before I even knew who Maisie was. I remember that her room was the only one I managed to keep tidy in those early days – the rest of the house in chaos, but my little baby cocooned in her little Maisie-themed palace.

Related: Giving birth without your partner? No. Big. Deal.

I remember she fell asleep in her first ever-bath in the hospital, so calmed by the water. The pride I felt at her perfectly formed little nose, her peacefully sleeping head atop her wrapped up body, feeling sure that she was the most beautiful baby in the ward, probably even in the world.

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“The pride I felt at her perfectly formed little nose, her peacefully sleeping head atop her wrapped up body, feeling sure that she was the most beautiful baby in the ward, probably even in the world.”

I remember the first time I tried to feed her, crying through exhaustion and being overwhelmed by love and hormones. The way I was so cautious the day we drove her home, the feeling of wanting all other road users to realise the precious bundle we had in the back of the car. A procession would have been appropriate in my mind, or at least a police escort, thank you very much.

Kate reflecting on when her daughter was just a newborn. Image via Instagram @katepullen

The way my daughter looked so tiny in her cot on that first night at home, tucked in at one end under her pink blanket and the green sheets I’d been staring at for so long, wondering what it would be like to have a baby in that cot. Now they were just a backdrop to this beautiful, perfect little baby.

Related: Megan Gale slammed for doing what is natural for any new mum.

I remember the unmistakable “poo face” she pulled whenever she was focusing on that particular task… and the time I had her on my knee at a café with friends and she plopped her tiny hand into my steaming plate of risotto – that was one mistake I never made again.

“The pride I felt at her perfectly formed little nose, her peacefully sleeping head atop her wrapped up body, feeling sure that she was the most beautiful baby in the ward, probably even in the world.”

Being there for my niece’s birth made me appreciate all those precious little moments with a newborn, and also the way that the world seems to slow down around you as your focus narrows in on this little baby in front of you.

What a wonderful, special place to be in.

Have you been present for a birth? What do you remember most?

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