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.
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.
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.