Thursday, October 24, 2013

Throwback Thursday: That time I watched my sister give birth

Oh hi, little peanut.

And by "watched my sister give birth" I actually mean VIDEO-TAPED my sister giving birth. I don't think there's a whole lot to prepare you for that except grainy videos in high school health class. Except it's been a few years since I was in high school, so I don't know what they make the kiddos watch nowadays.

But I do know, the act of giving birth is typically stereotyped in popular media (Exhibit A: Knocked Up) as equal parts gross and disturbing.

So I was maybe a little apprehensive about video-taping my niece making her way into the world. But I didn't really have a say in the matter (thanks, Sis) because my sister's husband couldn't be in the country at the time of the birth, so my sister wanted to make sure it was documented.

And you know what? I did a fabulous job. I mean if I had really been serious about it, I could've fiddled with camera settings, gotten some mood lighting, and some artistic coloring, but I'm not a professional, okay?

Sometimes I think I missed my calling as a doctor or nurse because "gross" stuff doesn't really faze me (unless we're dealing with an impaling and then, no thanks, I'm good, do not want), and once I was actually in the moment and my sister was giving birth, it was really no biggie.

My sister was adamant about wanting a natural childbirth, so she was up and moving around a lot prior to actually giving birth and I can still remember her walking up and down the halls of the hospital, occasionally pausing to screech in pain. (Yes, screech, sister, I could hear it from the hospital room).

But, basically, she was a rockstar that day.

For those who haven't been in a delivery room before, they give you these large mesh panties to wear and the nurses were telling us about another patient who was so modest she wanted to put the panties back on every-time the nurses were done checking up on things.

But, in my childless opinion, if there is any time to just not give a flying fuck, it's when you're trying to push a watermelon through a life-saver (thanks for the metaphor, mom).

My sister wasn't in labor too horribly long before it came time to sit down and push. So there our mom was up by her head giving support, and there I was standing behind the doctor with my little camera.

When you break down all the components of what was happening, yes it was gross and a bit bizarre, but those details kind of get lost in the bigger picture.

Also, I was probably a bit preoccupied with making sure the camera was on since I didn't actually have a death wish.

But the birth itself was exciting. You forget the weird images you're seeing (yes, weird images--I'm trying to be as least graphic as possible) and just get caught up in the moment. I can remember when my niece came out and she was so blue (or at least I thought she was) that I wondered in my head if something was wrong, but apparently it wasn't concerning to the doctor or nurses who immediately whisked her away to weigh and measure her. Or maybe they handed her to my sister first. It's funny I can't remember, though I'm sure my sister will be happy to correct me.

My niece was so tiny (about 5 pounds) that every hospital worker who came in would call her a little peanut.

But before I make it sound like all rainbows and cupcakes, yes there are some totally nasty things. Namely, how babies come out with this white, cheesy substance all over them, the placenta (so, so gross) and the umbilical cord* (also the baby's belly button before the remaining cord falls off).

But at least after all of it, you get one of these:

Ava only a few days old. Top right: Ava practicing her side-eye.

I'm just so happy I've been able to see my niece grow from the very start and I mean the VERY start. Now it's hard to remember that she used to be so tiny, when, at 4, she's so big now:

So... TL;DR version? Giving birth isn't traumatizing to watch. Grow up Hollywood. Also, Happy Thursday--it's almost the weekend!

*I just failed majorly at trying to spell umbilical. Thanks, Google. 



  1. ha! you are 10000% correct in that when you give birth, you just check your dignity at the door and pick it up on your way out. i was pantsless THE WHOLE TIME and didn't give two shits who saw my clam or ass. i gave birth dammit so if i want to go bareback YOU BETTER NOT SAY SHIT TO ME and let me do what i want. awesome that you recorded it; if that were me pre-baby/birth/labour, you would have only see ceiling lights HAHAHAHA!

    -kathy > Vodka and Soda

  2. haha! I feel like I'd be the same way too. And it's not as if the nurses or doctors haven't seen it all!