Gosh- what a soul searching week this has been for me! Bizarre to say that, but really, I can't remember the last time I have done so much thinking, crying and reminiscing.
If you haven't heard (and if you haven't you must have boycotted facebook for the week or something :) I got the UNBELIEVABLE privilege and honor of being present at and photographing my dear friend Angie's birth. My fingers are hesitating to type because I'm unable to come up with even a smidgen of a word to describe the birth accurately. I mean, I'm sure to the doctor and the nurses, it was your run of the mill birth; the labor went smoothly (besides a severe drop in blood pressure on Angie's part which was pretty frightening!) and I'm sure when her nurses and Dr.P went home they didn't think twice about the birth of Layla Susanna Marie. I, however, can't get it out of my head. Nor can I stop thinking about the births of my own kids.
Angie happened to be put in the SAME room I had Henry in- 414. As soon as I walked in, I was flooded with memories and started to cry... is this normal?!?!?! Anyways, it was a long day... I'm sure a LOT longer for Angie! She did get an epidural but that's when her BP dropped... she only pushed for a few minutes though and Layla made her way into this world. I won't give out all the details, as that's Angie's place to do so. But OMG. Incredible. Awesome. Out of this world. THERE IS A GOD, a GREAT GOD. Insane. All these words/phrases ran through my head during the birth of Layla.
Now, my job, I thought- would be to capture the details of the birth- things that you can't capture if you're either A.) in labor or B.) a spouse who doesn't even know how to work a point and shoot camera :)- and that's not a slam to Sam at all- Ryan (and I'm sure many other hubbies) has major problems with cutting off heads and getting us ALL in the pic... I got to the hospital around 11 or so, and started shooting away. Like I said, we were in the room where H was born, so I was already very teary eyed while photographing the baby warmer, the baby shampoo, little stethoscope that would soon be used, etc. Back to what I thought my job would entail- I really didn't think Angie would want me in the room while pushing- I mean, anyone who's given birth knows what an intense time that is- and I thought the last thing she'd want is me snapping away in her face. As time wore on though, she got to be a little more out of it- I remembered that feeling so well. That feeling of losing all inhibitions- because the only thing that mattered was getting that BABY OUT! :) She ended up asking me to stay in- and I was scared out of my mind.
I took a break from the intensity of the room (right around when her BP dropped) and called Les. I told her I was going to pass out- there was no way I could do this! I thought I'd just be photographing the baby POST birth- not like actively coming out. Again, what great friends I have- Les gave me a fab pep talk (reminding me over and over again to make sure I'm upfront with the nurses if I start to feel dizzy or lightheaded!) and Jess even offered to come up and sit with me. I was REALLY excited for that- because Jess is a GREAT photographer and I was a hot second away from sending HER into the room with the camera! :) However, baby Layla had different plans- she decided to arrive completely out of the blue- and FAST.
Angie went from sleeping/comfortable to "THE BABY IS COMING NOW." I took my place behind her head and I felt a calm come over me. I was very comfortable with my spot. I couldn't see anything more than her thighs/butt area. And of course her face :) I snapped a lot of pics of her face- and although SHE thinks they're ugly- I think they're gorgeous. Yeah- she is making pushing faces... straining faces, pained faces- but these faces represent LABOR. And LABOR is truly a beautiful, miraculous thing. As far as my "photography" goes (I say "photography" because we all know I am not a REAL photographer- just a complete amateur who is very passionate about life.) I definitely learned a lesson in birth photography- it's very hard to capture super quick moments CLEARLY when you're bawling your eyeballs out! (and shaking) :)...
All in all, it was an experience I'll never forget. Next to my kids births, it was the most incredible thing I've ever seen. I think that it should be on everyone's bucket list- to see a birth.
The birth left me incredibly tired. I came home and zonked out. Thank goodness Ryan was there- because when I woke up it was 9:30 PM and both kids had been bathed, fed and put to bed. I asked Ryan to bring Henry in... because I really wanted to snuggle with MY baby. He warned me that he'd wake up and once he was up, it would be my job to get him back to sleep. I took the gamble. :) He slept with me for about a half hour and then started stirring. I realized, as little as Henry had looked Thursday morning before I had left for the hospital, he was no longer a peacefully, obliviously sleeping baby. He wakes to the sound of the tv... to the movement of me next to him. He has totally outgrown the newborn-sleep-through anything stage. How depressing.
I spent the next hour getting him back to bed (Ryan was laughing... because he "told me so.") Anyways, while feeding him his 3rd bottle in an hour time period, I couldn't help but to think how quickly time goes. HOW cliche- I KNOW I KNOW. My parents used to tell me all the time "enjoy it now, because before you know it..." I used to think that was something "old" people said :) SADLY, its too true. Life with children is unfairly fast. And there's no slowing it down. I can't halt their growth... I can't keep them in diapers forever (like I'd really want to!), I can't expect them to always want to cuddle with me. I know they're growing. And that's a good thing- I wouldn't want them to not grow. I just wish it wouldn't go so fast. Or rather, I wish I could savor every second... instead of spending my time stressing over the house, their clothing, food for the day/week, money, bills, plans... you get the picture.
I told Ryan the number of children I want has now bumped up to 6. HAHA. You should have seen his face. Funny though, because we both come from large families... I didn't think it would be such a shock to him that yes, indeed, I want a large family. As the weekend wore on, I told him- "no seriously- I want a big family." And he told me, "Seriously- I do too." :) Will we REALLY have six children? Probably not... I am a firm believer in not depriving your already existing children of opportunities in order to add more to the clan. But you never know where we'll be in 2,3,4,5,6, etc. years. We'd like to think we'd be in a position to have a large family... but really, only God knows :) My mom told me she would have had 6, maybe MORE kids if they wouldn't have had to take her uterus! I have a feeling I might be following in her footsteps. I can't even come close to pretending to be one of those moms that doesn't love to have a baby around... :)
ohhhhhhh so what is it about newborns??? Really??? :)