Every year for my birthday, my mum tells me my birth story. When I was a little girl, she would sit on the edge of my bed and tell me the story just before tucking me in. She would tell a version of it every year, adding more and more details as I asked more and more questions. It is not a typical birth story, and only as I became older and actually trained as a doula did I get the real birth tidbits. The gist of her story is that she had a wonderfully easy time.
For as long as I can remember, my mother would tell me the story of my birth on my birthday. She told me about how the labour was easy, how she loved chatting with the nurses. She spoke about her preparations the night before, when she decided to cook a turkey and "all the trimmings" so that the older two would have leftovers for lunches all week. She told of how she laid out my siblings clothes for school the next day. How she called my paternal grandfather to come watch the older kids while she and dad went off to the hospital. She especially loved telling the part about how she was making him tea as he arrived and how he nearly pushed her out the door and into the car.
My dad tells his version of it always going on and on about the other labouring women down the hall who were making, "so much noise." He and mom always wondered which baby it was that my father had a hand in delivering. Was it the oldest? The doctor was just arriving in the room and asking how things were, but before anyone could let her know, a baby was escaping from my mother's belly. Dad loves that he was able to save the day. "Yeah, it's just like when the cows at the barn have a calf," he would say. I'm sure my mother loved the comparison.
I am glad that I grew up with such a nonchalant tale of birth. I'm happy that I was introduced to birth as a positive and natural thing. I am appreciative of the advice my mother gave to me a few months before I gave birth to my baby. "It's going to be hard. Then it will get harder. Keep telling yourself it will get harder and then it will be over." And for my labour, it was hard then it was harder and then I held my baby.
So today, happy birthday to me. And happy birthday to my parents who gave birth to their third child on a cold January day many moons ago.