Once I was sure she was sure, I took my role of birthing helper very seriously. I googled things like 'What to do when you are a birthing partner?' and 'What do you need to take to a birth?' The internet had many helpful hints - little boxes of juices with bendy straws to give the woman in labour to sip on, little snacks. I figured Lisette's partner Andy might get hungry too so I packed some little packets of chippies and muesli bars for energy. I texted Lisette: "Is it weird that I'm packing a birthing pack for you right now?" When I met her on my first day of high school, this is not where I envisaged our friendship going.
The due date was getting close and I was starting to panic. Did I have everything? Would she like the smell of the aromatherapy oils I bought? Did Andy like chocolate chippie muesli bars? But, I was also panicking for selfish reasons. You see, the birth of my beautiful girl was a traumatic experience for me (hence the reason she is still an only child). My memories of birth and the hospital (the same one Lisette was going) are upsetting and scary. Would I cope well with it myself? So, childbirth for me, was something to be feared. "Maybe this is what you need." Lisette comforted me "Maybe if you see a normal birth it will help you." I'm sure that it was supposed to be my job to comfort her leading up to the birth but of course it was the other way around.
The excitement was brewing. She'd been having a few twinges and Lisette felt that it would be soon. "I think I might sleep in the spare room tonight." I told my hubby. "Tonight might be the night and I don't want to wake you when I get the call. If I'm not here in the morning you know where I am!"
At 2am my phone rang. Lisette sounded like she was ringing for a normal chat "Hey, how are you?" "I'm fine....and you???" "Yeah fine." In the background I could hear Andy telling her to tell me to hurry up because she wasn't too far away from having the baby. What??? I jumped in the car with my ginourmous bag of birthing stuff. Now, I never speed. I have never had a speeding ticket in my whole driving career. but I admit that I drove very, very fast all the way from Waikanae Beach to Wellington and then......I got lost. Very frustrating. My sense of directions had failed me once again.
I rang Andy. He helped me with directions in between helping Lisette with contractions. I ran to the birthing unit. I was puffed when I asked for Lisette Prendergast. I ran down the hall to her room, knocked on the door, entered and was greeted with Lisette's bum high up in the air.
"My bums showing" she moaned
"That's OK, it's a nice bum."
"We're not far away," Andy explained.
"Show me the booties," Lisette growled.
There was a little pair of blue booties all ready. Lisette thought that if she looked at them it would remind her what all the pain was for. I fished around in the bag and handed them to her. She looked at them for five seconds before she said "I don't want to look at the fucking booties."
OK - the booties were a no go.
Andy and I helplessly rubbed Lisette's back.
It was time for Lisette to turn over (more of an ordeal than it sounds).Have you ever tried to turn a pregnant woman over?
The baby was coming.
I won't go into too much detail here. Just let me say, Lisette was very brave. I held one hand, Andy held the other hand, Lisette did all the work and then there he was! A perfect, beautiful little baby boy and suddenly in my head everything seemed right with the world. It was like there was magic in the room. A new life! a whole new life! My friend who I have laughed with, cried with, fought with, got drunk with, smoked cigarettes with and flatted with just pushed a baby out of her vagina (OK, I ruined it didn't I?) The world seemed brighter. I stayed for a cuddle and took a few million photographs then left the cutest little family to it. When Cohen met his younger brother he said "Hello my baby brother."
For the rest of the day I was buzzing. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I had just witnessed the miracle of birth and it was beautiful. Happy 1st birthday Donovan!
Love from Aunty Marinana xo