Pregnancy is possibly the most intimate encounter you can have with another person short of sexual relations. And even those aren’t always a metaphysical experience. I have experienced sex that was not intimate at all. Giving birth to my children, however, was a deeply connected, wonderful experience. Finally meeting the people who had been growing inside me for nine months was awe inspiring.
My first child was delivered after almost 24 hours of labor in my own home. I was so tired, and must have been in pain, although I mostly remember being weary and deeply uncomfortable. The pressure of delivering her head was abruptly terminated by a slippery, wiggly feeling of the rest of her body sliding out of me.
My elation at the birth of my child, I didn’t know yet whether a boy or a girl, was abruptly dampened. Instead of placing my wet, new baby on my belly as had been promised, they took her down onto the bed, where I couldn’t see her. I couldn’t sit up to see what was happening, but pieced it together later from my father’s photos.
She had been born blue, kind of a blue-gray mottled color that indicated she needed oxygen in her blood. From a portable bottle the midwife administered the needed air, and my new daughter pinked right up. She was then placed in my arms. I remember laughing and crying all at once, completely and utterly overwhelmed in this first meeting with her.
All babies are beautiful in their mother’s eyes. This one was no exception. I still think she’s beautiful, and amazing, fourteen years later. Our relationship will last beyond a lifetime, and even though it will never be as intimate as it was in that first moment, we are joined by an invisible cord.