Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Can you describe where the birth was?
Rickie was born in Hospital. Tucson Medical Center. Indoors. The only windows were horizontal slats placed near the ceiling. It was Christmas day, so the place was done up with tacky Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman pin-ups, two-dimensional reefs, and candy canes. The chintzy festival atmosphere mixed with the fluorescent lights, slippery tile floors, and cold air (Tucson is in Sonoran Desert) made it feel like low-budget sci-fi. Yet I still felt that what we were witnessing, and doing, was sacred.
Who was present at the birth?
It was me, Rickie’s Mom, Julie, her Mom, Dad and Aunt. My Mom was there, along with the doctor and one assistant. But then, as labor wore on into the 36th hour, new doctors kept appearing every few minutes.
Can you describe the experience of giving birth or watching the birth?
We were there from Christmas eve through Christmas day. I stood at bedside for 30 hours, holding Julie’s hand, fetching water, and holding her left leg once Rickie dropped into the birth canal. Then I found myself holding her left leg in the air for the remainder of the birth. She pushed for 8 hours. The doctor sat there, at the foot of the bed, shaking his head. The doctor whispered to his assistant, who promptly left the room. She returned with four more doctors. They were preparing to do a c-section, when Rickie’s head suddenly crowned.
After that, it was over with fairly quickly. Once Rickie was fully out of Julie’s body, I looked at him. He opened his eyes, looking back at me. I looked to Julie, who was also looking at me, with love in her eyes. That was too much. Speechless, I wept and grabbed the person next to me – which was her father. I thought about the beginning of Rickie’s life, and the joys and struggles that lay ahead. Though I was only 22 years of age, I knew that I had transcended adolescence, and that I would dedicate my life to caring for my son. A good thing, too, because Julie abandoned us a year and a half later.