Today will surely go down as one of the most extraordinary days of my life. I’m not sure I can even find the right words to describe it. As a mother of 4, I thought I knew all there was to know about childbirth. I knew what it was like to hear that first cry, to go through the pain of labor, weep tears of joy over new life.
I was wrong. As it turns out, I don’t know everything.
Because on this day May 21, 2012 little Kason, son of my friend Sara came into the world. My friend Jennifer and I were given the honor of sharing in his moment. Sara’s husband is deployed so he couldn’t be here for the birth. They chose for him to come home after they knew their little babe would be here instead of before – military families make these tough decisions all the time.
Come early and wait, wasting precious days of leave without your new addition. Or come after, missing the birth – but guaranteeing every day home can be spent with the whole family. Sometimes the choice is up to them, sometimes they have no choice at all. It just is.
Jen and I were more than happy to fill in as her “deployment husband” for the day.
It was intense. It started at 5 AM, dropping off soon-to-be big brother Lucas and heading to the hospital. Lots of jokes and fun at first. Then Sara was whisked off to prep for her c-section.
Once we came in the room it seemed easy. This is what I didn’t know about cesarean births: they hurt. I always thought that was the cool part about a c-section. Good drugs, slice open, out comes baby.
It was nothing like that.
My friend hurt. My friend who I love, hurt. It made us hurt. Jen and I smoothed Sara’s brow and hair, trying to calm her. What she didn’t know is that with our other hands we were desperately holding on to each other. We didn’t know it would be like this, we didn’t expect to see her hurt.
We peeked over the curtain. After a while, he came out and we gasped.
There he was. Crying. Wet. Covered in yuck. Not yet annoying. Impossibly perfect.
This must be how it feels to be a Dad. To see a tiny life pop out before your eyes. To see the beginning of an amazing story appear, suddenly. Both noisy and quiet, messy and perfect, alone and surrounded by love.
It wasn’t the same for me. I was in it, giving birth. In pain like Sara. Happy and scared, but busy with the business of bringing a person into the world. I missed the other part completely.
So Sara and Kason, thank you for giving me this amazing moment. I love you. I promise not to steal Kason (although, if the hospital hadn’t low-jacked him, I might have today.)
Good luck. May the hope and love of today stay with you for all of your days.