thirteen years ago this week i had the special privilege to be childbirth coach to my daughter when she had her first child. i had been house-sitting for some friends and my daughter spent the night with me.
in the morning mary kate told me that she had had a rough night with gas pains all night. eyeing her with a sideways look, i asked, “exactly how far apart are these gas pains?” “oh they were off and on all night”, she said. then, hesitantly, with eyes wide, “about every ten minutes now.”
i suggested that we dress and head for the hospital. although it was several weeks before her due date, there was no doubt in my mind what was happening. we dressed quickly and began the twenty-minute drive. mary kate was remarkably calm, but hungry.
though i told her that she really shouldn’t eat anything, there is no appeasing my daughter when she needs food. we stopped at a small pizza place and ordered. at noon, we were eating pizza and laughing, as though it were any normal day.
roughly four hours later, austin made his appearance. her doctor examined her when we arrived at the hospital and said he’d see her again in about a half-hour. during his absence, mary kate had some rough contractions, through which i helped her with breathing.
still she remained surprisingly calm. when the doctor returned, he walked into the room and said, “well ok, let’s have a baby!” suddenly in near panic, eyes like saucers, my daughter asked, “what….NOW?” “yes, now,” said the doctor, “is that okay with you?” her eyes suddenly filled with tears. she’d had months of preparation for this event and NOW she panicked.
it seemed only minutes of pushing when out slipped a beautiful baby boy. looking at me, the doctor asked, “would you like to cut the cord mom?” surprised, i answered a resounding “yes!”, after looking at mary kate for her nod of approval. it was more difficult than i had expected, tough to cut through, but soon i had parted my daughter and grandson.
austin davis matheson was now his own little person. after he aced the apgar and other initial tests, he was wrapped in a blanket and handed to me to present to my daughter. there was nothing better in the world right then, and over the ensuing days, than the grin of delight on my daughter’s face as she watched every tiny movement of her first child.
i feel truly honored to have had a part in bringing my gorgeous grandchild into the world. as a result, i feel a special bond with him. happy birthday austin. welcome to the world of thirteen.