Editor's note: The Stir blogger Annie Krasnow had her baby! (Congrats!) And to celebrate, Annie's friend, Dan, the one who asked to be in the labor room with her, details the birth! Here's his story ...
While watching four twenty-something guys on the MTV show The Buried Life help a stranger give birth to her child as they cross off another item on their list of things to do before you die, it made me think. As a thirty-something gay man, will I ever have an opportunity to see a baby being born?
This conversation came up with one of my closest friends of 10 years, Annie, who happened to be pregnant with her second child and first son. My partner of 10 years and I are basically uncles to her daughter who is 3 and just as close with her husband. Most likely after a glass of Pinot Grigio (or two) I questioned, Would you ever consider me being present for the birth of your son?
Oddly enough, I think I was more surprised that I asked than she was. After thinking about my request and carefully taking into consideration what I have asked, she made the decision to officially invite me to the hospital and witness the actual birth of her son with her husband in agreement.
I immediately was excited, nervous, and possibly now regretting what I asked for! I was now starting to feel like I possibly pressured her into this. Yes, I am gay, and the chances of me ever doing this will be fairly slim, but does she think that she is my only hope? As the months went by, I was getting more and more nervous and excited at the same time.
When the big day arrived, I was in the hospital room keeping her and her husband company while we all watched her contractions on the monitor. I could only hope that I wasn’t making her nervous because I was there, although everything about the day was fantastic so far. They couldn’t make me feel any more comfortable being there than they did. We laughed a lot as the hours went by telling stories and making jokes while I made sure to do everything and anything she requested. If she needed her pillow fluffed, I fluffed, no questions asked.
After hours of waiting and waiting the time had come. She was ready to start pushing. The doctor arrived, my heart was pounding, and I was worried that I was only going to be in the way. The room was dark and calm and the whole situation seemed surreal. The doctor very calmly said, “Everyone in this room will have a job.” She pointed to Annie's husband and said, “You will hold a leg” then pointed to me and said, “You will support her back when she pushes.”
I thought, I can do that! Then I immediately thought, What if I vomit? Or even worse, what if I pass out?!? Then I will be on the floor and causing a whole scene while the most important person is trying to have a baby. Luckily this did not happen.
Even though my heart was beating so hard, I seemed to keep myself together and do my job. I helped support her back while following an important rule Annie had given me “keep your eyes up and on me … not my vageen.” Meanwhile I was behind her against the wall. The most I saw was her knees and the most amazing expression on her husband's face as he watched his son coming into the world. I will never forget what that looked like. When the doctor said, “Here he is, I have him,” I immediately felt calm and relaxed, almost as calm and relaxed as Annie seemed while giving birth to him. This is it, here he is, and I am watching this happen.
It is something that was so very interesting and so completely amazing. I couldn’t believe that it was over. The baby was lying on his mother for the first time and I was staring at him. After everyone was cleaned up and the baby was bathed, Annie said to me with a smile, “I’m so glad you were here for this.” It was the most amazing and beautiful experience I have ever had in my life.
Even trying to sleep that night I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and the new baby. Yes it was a strange request, but boy was I glad that I asked for it. I thought, This is what it must feel like for a parent. The happiness and adrenaline rush does not go away. I feel like I will have a special bond with this baby because I witnessed him being born. The entire experienced is something I will never forget. I have Annie, her husband, and her son to thank for this. It was the best experience of my life. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this very personal and beautiful delivery of your son.
Congrats again to Annie and her family in welcoming baby Thomas, born on November 11, weighing 8 lbs. 1 oz., and 21 inches long.