Last month, half a year after Simon was born, we finally got around to looking at some of the video footage from immediately after the birth. The delay was partly on purpose–I’m still not ready to watch much, to let it supplant my own memories, to touch those powerful moments in that way–and partly accidental–I did want to know whether we’d gotten anything, since we didn’t even know how much had been filmed, but we were just so busy that we kept forgetting to check.
At any rate, it was surreal and sweet and a little painful to watch. Those moments are so very visceral and private and huge. Meeting your baby. Coming out of pregnancy and labor. Yourself, raw.
One thing, however, made me laugh out loud. It turns out that one of the first things I did after both Noah’s and Simon’s births, and both times on camera!, was to talk at great length about exactly what day/time it had gotten to be. After Noah’s birth, when we were figuring out the date of our upcoming home visit when a midwife would check on me and the baby, I tried to be smooth: “So … you’re telling me today’s FRIDAY?” After Simon’s, I sounded less like I was in a business meeting, but I still speculated ad nauseum about how long ago various points of my labor had occurred. And both times I’m trying to play it cool, suggesting with leading statements/questions that perhaps one might say today is … ?
Apparently my reaction to labor ending is to locate myself meticulously in time.
I love, too, how completely myself I am in these moments. Parts of each of my labors felt far beyond me, like I was hardly still Ordinary Molly in any real way. And then, bam!, the moment I’m holding my baby I’m just regular old me again, nerdy and bossy. There’s something great about that, something reassuring and sweet.