‘You will be my Birth Partner.’ She stated. ‘You have got to be joking!’ I retorted. There is one thing you need to know about pregnant women. Especially when they are nine months pregnant. They do not do jokes. For some reason, humor goes clean out of them. They will especially not joke about birthing or anything remotely related. Do you notice the first statement? It is not a question. It is a matter-of-fact allocation of duty. She was not asking me if I would like to be her Birth Partner. She was informing me that I WAS going to be her Birth Partner. You can therefore understand why, when I told her she was joking, she shot me a look that made me melt into my seat. She did not even address me further regarding the issue. She had passed on a duty that she expected to be performed whether I liked it or not. I knew that was one duty I wasn’t going to wiggle out of.
The call to action came on 29th May at about 2pm. Another thing you need to realise is that babies have horrible sense of timing. They choose to ignore diaries and appointments and when they want out they want out now. Not after you mentally/psychologically prepare yourself. Not after the last appointment of the day. No. NOW! The call came from the mummy-to-be as a scream from the other side of my cell, so scary it could wake up the dead. I froze in my tracks, spaced out and I swear I could hear my knees rattling from a distance. You know those things that you never imagine will ever get here? Or that somehow you will be excused from the duty? I had the fleeting thought since the duty was officially allocated to me. The #BirthPartner hashtag is all I could do to dissipate the anxiety that was threatening to overwhelm me.
Holy crap! Break out the smelling salts! Round one of faint coming up! *preps for #BirthPartner duty*
— carolkmail (@carolkmail) May 29, 2012
To commence the colorful afternoon, my mode of transport got delayed. Not just that, traffic decided that, that particular day looked good for handing me attitude. I shall not even begin to tell you the many calls I received from the mother-to-be that the baby had no intention of waiting for me and if I was not going to haul my behind over to the delivery room ‘this instant’, I better send myself to exile, move town, change identity and my skin color because she was going to hunt me down. My feeble excuse of ‘traffic is crazy’ was met with a thundering ‘I don’t care! Teleport yourself here if you have to!’ If I had never gone through the pain of bringing forth offspring, I would have squeezed the life out of her soon as the baby was out of her! But I understood.
Enter the panting, sweating me to the delivery room. She was not joking. The baby was in a hurry and yes, by the time I got to the hospital, she was in full scream. Nobody was happier to see me than the midwife, the doctor and the assisting nurses. I am told she had called her mother’s full names (we all know you never, EVER do that) among other ‘things’ that I shouldn’t worry about and my name was thrown in among some neat cusses. The first thing she said to me when she saw me was ‘What are you smiling about’? I swear I wasn’t smiling! I took my position and assisted in the wailing and yelling and demanding that she pushes the baby out already! At some point, she confidently said that she was not going to push and that we could take her position and push the baby out ourselves if we so please. 40 minutes of drama, yelling and hoarse voices later, my beautiful Godson was born. Beautiful in this case is from a Godmother’s perspective. I watched and willed and cajoled the boy to take his first breath, rubbed his tiny body till he turned from grey to pink and warmth encompassed his whole body. It was magnificent. At that moment, I forgave the mother for hurling insults.
When Junior saw the boy he was so happy he was convinced we were going to take him home and he was going to allow him to play with his toys. ‘In time my son…, in time.’ That dear readers, was the most intense, most rewarding and humbling experience I have ever gone through. ‘But you should know seeing as you’ve gone through it!’ You say. No. When you are in the throes of bringing forth child, you have not a second to appreciate the wonders of nature. You actually hate nature at that moment.
O yeah, in case you are interested, the new daddy sauntered into the delivery room right after the son had been born. And yes he went ahead and thumped his chest with pride. I chose not to kick his teeth in. I was in a good mood.