A good friend of mine with two teenage boys told me pregnancy is like walking up to a large set of double doors and waiting. Then unexpectedly, they burst open and you are bathed in a blinding white light that you step through into a complete unknown (excuse any parallels to death).
Well our wait at the doors was ‘normal’. Then one week past our due date, Amy’s labour began. There I was, ever vigilant with pen and paper and stopwatch (iPhone). We tried different positions where Amy hung off me on the deck, staring at blossoming trees, used her ball, sat, crouched, stood, walked, sat then finally hit the bath. Now this is an audience of moms so I needn’t describe in detail the mounting discomfort that creeps up. We existed moment to moment and I watched the one I love become more and more pained. I held her hand, a cold compress to her forehead and breathed along with her as she looked at me with a burning desire for relief. That’s when we called in the marines. Our marine is General Tracy Gerster with the East York Midwives Clinic (and her band of merry troops—shout out!). I shuddered as Tracy said, “Why didn’t you call earlier?”.
At this point Amy and I were both grateful to have a third person in the house, someone to call the shots, someone to explain the sensations, position mom, call in back-up, set up accoutrements that turned our master suite into a triage. And through this all I could think was, “How can I take the pain away from the love of my life?” It’s an emotional and powerless position. Men daydream of saving their wife from peril, being the hero. Truth is Amy entered the zone—a zone where real superheroes reside. I witnessed a metamorphosis that truly blew my mind. My timid, sweet, seemingly-fragile partner became a blazing, red-hot woman succumbing to nature and all I could do is quietly whisper accolades and encouragements.
Now if anyone had told Amy that Baxter was going to be almost 10 lbs, I’m sure we would have been in a sterile hospital with foreign comforts and strangers casually recapping their holiday weekend at our feet. Instead we were home resting on our bed with professionals we’re tempted to call family, and blinded by a bright whiteness on the other side of that door, a new-found family.
Next week: the Push present. I promise.