In preparation for the birth of my fourth minion I’ve been rereading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Like so many books for and about women, labor and birth are focal points. The births in The Red Tent are attended by sisters. Men wait outside nervously. Hush is trying to negotiate his way out of the delivery room, but there is no such luck for modern husbands.
At one point in the book a mother is in a distant land and has gone into labor far from her sisters but finds that “The cries of a laboring mother bring out other women like geese responding to the call of a leader in flight.” And delivering she “pushed for long hours, supported by women who became her sisters, at least for that day.”
This is our sorority in 2011 (missing Val, Alina and Aubrey) doing what we do best: eating and loving up some babies (Silas and Otto).
I have some stand-ins who have kindly accepted the invitation to be my birth party. This is how to have a birth party ala Greenbomb.
Step one: Have your phone on. You will be texted and expected when the mother is officially checked in and dilated to a 3. Get there as soon as you can, but not neglecting this golden opportunity to look both cuter and less gigantic than the laboring sweaty mother.
Celia, Paige and me attending Otto’s birth. Notice how we are all dolled up, but please ignore my awkward posing and facial expressions. But damn I’m skinny! Must have been mid-divorce.
Step two: You are on outside world contact duty. Ignore all “no cell phones” rules. Specifically, please continuously update my sisters about my progress/mood/everything they’re missing. Cattiness is fine. Please report back all the funny things they say. The dad is responsible for the Baby is Here phone calls, which must be done in age order, Jim to Camille.
Paige on phones. Sylvie’s birth I think.
Step three: Although let’s face it, he has much less experience than you do, you are in charge of making the dad feel important and relevant. He needs to hear and interact with the doctors because he can make medical decisions for me while I’m out of it. Make sure he has treats and cell phone juice, please. He is both the cause of this ordeal AND the one person who can make the mother feel calm. Make sure he’s always in the face position of the mother, like Mark here:
E’s friend Lindsay took Celia’s place for Sylvie’s birth.
Step four: MAKE ME LOOK GOOD. You are in charge of making sure my hair doesn’t look more whacked out than it usually does (braids are good). Take photos from flattering angles. Make sure I have sufficient make-up on. I’m going to have to look at these pictures for the rest of my life and if I look terrible in them that’s on you, team. I’m pushing a baby out, I have other crap to worry about. Also I’ll likely be dancing with sugar plums on Stadol.
This might be my favorite picture of Ellie ever.
Paige making my hair tidy. I started to faint right after this picture, but before I blacked out Celia blended the powder on my nose.
Jude’s birth. Good photo angle.
Silas’ birth. Makeup application by Paige.
Step five: YOU ARE THE FUN. Births can be interminable (not mine, they take like three hours) so it’s your job to distract and entertain. Go through all of the drawers and find the good loot and try it all on. Bring US Weekly and gossip and baby name books. The more talking the less I am aware of the pain. I’ll scream if I need medical attention. “A woman in birth is at once her most powerful and her most vulnerable.” –Marcie Macari
Paige “checking” my dilation.
Celia and Paige telling me all about Elin’s divorce from Tiger Woods. Relevant at the time.
Step six: Help me push out that baby. When the doctors come in and the transformer bed is all set up your position is holding knees and talking me through the scary part. Hush will be my focal point. Just FYI, I’ve never taken any birth classes and don’t know a thing about breathing because I believe in highly medicated childbirth. If the meds don’t work you have to teach me what to do, like what Celia did during my unmedicated transition with Jude. You can look down from that position, but no looking up from the foot of the bed or I may kick you. Prevent husband from looking, he just doesn’t need to be scarred in that way.
This is Celia during the serious part.
And here’s Celia cracking herself up during the serious part. Click through to Silas’ birth story to see the video Paige took of Celia while I was pushing out a freaking kid. Oh and the video at the bottom of Mimi meeting Si is to die for.
Step seven: You’re in charge of making sure nothing inappropriate is put on film. All modesty is out the window during labor so if I forget to cover myself up, help a girl out please. You’re also in charge of making sure the important moments are on film (mostly pictures of Hush and his new baby girl.)
Paige’s hand covering my nakedness while holding newborn Jude. Celia blogged the birth on my page for me.
Step eight: You have every right to cuddle the new baby you helped bring into the world! And your naming opinions will be heard. Paige helped name Mimi, Celia suggested Silas.
All the pregnancy books talk about birth plans but this is what a birth plan looks like to me. Many thanks to my sisters for teaching me all about how to make childbirth days the best days of my life; thanks in advance to my family and friends who have agreed to come to this birth. I am so so very fortunate that I get to go through the exquisite torture of childbirth. I’m even more thankful I get to experience it at a time when medicine and doctors make it less risky and terrifying. At 36.5 weeks now I can safely say that I’m so uncomfortable that I wouldn’t mind if I had to sneeze this child out of my nostril as long as it comes out soon and perfect.
And the greatest thanks, of course, to Hush for picking me to have his baby.
Ok, GO TEAM!