Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Aria

Over the weekend, my best friend labored at home for thirty-six hours (thirty-six plus, actually...but, who's counting? Me. I'm counting.)
We were turned away from the hospital twice.
The third attempt yielded these golden words from the doc,
"Well, the good news is you are nine centimeters dilated."
NINE.
At ten centimeters, one is "complete" and ready to push.
So, nine centimeters...nbd. Can she stay this time, and you know, have the baby??
I'm not surprised...I've known Beth since middle school and I've rarely seen her rattled or flustered or unhinged.
In fact, we're pretty much opposite in that regard.
Even still, I don't think Beth's loosely constructed "birth plan" involved showing up at the hospital fighting the urge to push in the elevator or receiving an epidural at 9cm if only to be able to breathe for a moment...to pause and gather herself before the monumental task of delivering a child.

At last, Beth gave birth to a perfect, pink, squirmy eight pound baby girl on Sunday evening.
I was there to (hide my nervousness) and hold her legs and breathlessly count with the nurse as Beth pushed and pushed and pushed...
I was there to see my amazingly strong friend calmly give birth to her daughter after nearly two days of grueling labor (during which I barely saw her pause or wince or complain)...labor that took us from her home, to a cafe in East Falls for lunch, back home, to the hospital (only to be turned away), to dinner at the tap room, back home, to the hospital again (only to be turned away...again), all while enduring steady and increasingly uncomfortable contractions every five minutes.
I can only hope I have a shred of her strength when my time comes. A shred.
It was pretty much the most graceful, most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed.

And the little baby murmurs and sounds?...my god.

Beth & Aria

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