I had heard about the miracle of birth, but until recently I had not really experienced it from an observer's perspective.
I don't remember my own birth - but I sure heard about it from my mother. Apparently I wouldn't turn my head the right way as I was coming down the birth canal and they couldn't get me out of the womb. This caused my mother to endure a longer and more difficult labor. I'm not sure she ever forgave me for that.
In retrospect, I think this painful event was my first experience of getting lost. I have no sense of direction and was probably looking for an alternate route. When I'm driving I make a lot of U-turns, but when it comes to birthing down the vaginal highway, there is no turning back.
When my daughters, Alicia and Brittany, were born, I focused on getting them delivered. I was not thinking about the miracle of birth, I was thinking, "Get that baby out of there!" When Alicia's head crowned, my husband, John, practically squealed with excitement as he said, "I can see the head." I remember thinking (but not saying) "What the hell did you think you'd see, a choo-choo train?"
When I was in labor with Brittany things went so fast that all I could think of was whether to push, push, push or bite, bite, bite my lip.
Although both of my daughter's births were relatively easy, and were absolutely the happiest moments of my life, it did not seem miraculous.
However, in 2007 I had the honor and privilege of witnessing the birth of my first granddaughter, Rosannah. She is my first grandchild and I was beside myself with excitement and anticipation.
When her head crowned, I felt almost an angelic presence that moved me to tears. There was some fetal distress, so Rosannah was quickly whisked away, but the moment of her birth was an overwhelmingly wondrous moment. And just so you don't worry, she is absolutely fine now.
A mere 19 months later, my second grandchild, Briannah, was ready for her world debut. Both Alicia and I were a little nervous during the labor because the delivery was induced and almost three weeks before the due date. I did the typical praying, positive thinking and visualization to help my daughter, as well as the more practical matters such as rubbing Alicia's feet, talking to the nurses and being my daughter's advocate.
Soon (although not soon enough) Briannah was ready for her arrival. Alicia's husband, Greg, held her hand, and Amy, Alicia's doula, was by her side. Greg's mother, Sandy, and I took up residence a few feet away from Alicia's feet. Then it happened again. Briannah's head crowned. Once again I felt an angel's presence, and a feeling of wonder.
This time my granddaughter was not whisked away. She was allowed to nurse at her mother's breast. Soon, Rosannah was brought into the room to say hello to her new sister.
Of course I was ecstatic with joy that both mother and daughter were alive and well, but I still think about that magical moment of birth. It was like no other feeling I have experienced. Did I witness the merging of a baby's body and soul? Was I the witness of a guardian angel watching over ready to take his or her place by Briannah's side? I'm not sure. All that I know is I experienced a miracle and I have even more appreciation for the magical wonder that we call life.