Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Special Birth Story

Since I've been collecting birth stories, I thought it would be neat to include a dad's perspective of birth.  I asked Sylvain to write down Sylvia's birth story, and he agreed on the condition that it would be written to her, not just for her.  I thought it was a great idea, as long as I could still post it on the blog.  So here's what he's been working on for a very, very long time!  The original copy is in French, of course, and that will be given to Sylvia when she's old enough to read it herself.  Since this is a translation, it might sound a little strange, but I think the sweetness translates quite well!  Enjoy.

That which follows is about the events that are related to your birth.  Certain thoughts run the risk of shocking you or making you cry, but I will try to relay them to you as truthfully as possible.  Honestly, the idea of hearing, or at least reading, a birth story seems rather strange to me, but I heard my own from your paternal grandmother more than once.  Why write it?  That, you'll have to ask your mother.

For almost nine months, I knew that one day you would be born, but it seemed theoretical to me, despite the fact that I had seen images of you, heard your heartbeat, and saw your mother grow.  I had been told that, generally speaking, for the fathers, the reality of having a child comes the day of the birth.  I am no exception, since I didn't feel your kicks or nausea or even a new perspective of my body like your mother did.  Alas, it was not a day, but a night.

For weeks, we followed classes to prepare us to welcome you in a natural way.  Despite all of our efforts, nothing went as planned.  We were expecting something predictable, but you completely took us by surprise. 

There we were, in the middle of watching The Colbert Report, with a stopwatch trying to determine when we should head to the hospital.  It was pitiful.  After a phone call to an expert, we decided to hit the road.  I knew where to go, but perhaps you know that driving at night (roughly 1 AM) in the middle of a storm where the street lights reduce visibility due to their reflection on the roads in the middle of a work zone where the lines are almost invisible...well, these things didn't make driving easy, considering your mother only wished to get there as soon as possible. 

Once at the hospital, the main entrance was closed, seeing as it was after hours.  Under the rain, we walked toward the E.R. entrance, stopping here and there since your mother had strong contractions.  Once inside, we quickly realized that you were going to be born from one moment to the next. 

The nurses and the midwife prepared everything: the birthing bed and gadgets that go "beep."  Bit by bit, you became more and more real.  The midwife announced that everything was going alright.  For what seemed to be an eternity to us, you were born relatively quickly. 

Towards the end of the labor, I knew that from one second to the next I was going to see you.  Between fatigue, lively emotions, and the anticipation, I saw the midwife raise you toward us.  How small and fragile you were!  From this point on, everything became hazy. 

Just before the official time of announcement from the midwife (3:19 AM), there was a rhythm: contractions, rest, contractions, etc.  On the other side, after your birth, so many things happened whether it be totally surprising or bloody, that it almost traumatized me.  I was numb.  I will spare you the details in case you one day want to have kids, but I have to tell you that when they asked me to cut your umbilical cord, I asked myself, "Why not?" because I was already so much out of my element.  While I'm at it, it's crazy that science has become so exact in relation to birth.  It could have been mistaken for a play in the middle of it's thousand and first rehearsal.  And that was relieving. 

Once the midwife determined that you were doing fine, the three of us ended up in a small room and it was in this room that I learned that I love you.  I was holding you in my arms.  You, wrapped up like a fragile package.  Me, reduced to a machine only capable of feeling just one emotion: that of love.  Some people might say that it's instinct.  Some people might say that it's universal.  Despite all of these possibilities, it was then that you became my daughter.

This sweet story was a big deal for Sylvain to put into words, as I'm sure it is for most dads.  I am honored to share it on Sylvia's second birthday!  I'm so glad he agreed to write it because he shared many details I never knew before.  I love the part about how the rhythm changed once she was born, and of course I love the part about our time in the recovery room with our little girl.  Now that we're getting closer to the birth of our next sweet girl, this story is a wonderful reminder of why I picked him, and why he picked me, and why we wanted to start a family together in the first place. 


Meredith said...

Oh my goodness, that's just great. So, so, so sweet.

Rachael Koontz said...

How very sweet!