A letter to a beautiful baby girl of a dear friend whom I have had the privilege to witness her birth exactly a year ago:
You’re one today. It doesn’t feel like a year has gone by. The memories of the day you were born were still vivid in my mind. I will always be grateful to you and your mommy for the honour to be there and witness the beautiful moment.
Your mommy and I were pregnant at the same time. She was two months ahead of me. We used to chat online everyday, talking about our hopes, fears and dreams. We attended the Hypnobirthing course together. I still remember guessing that you were going to be a Leo, but your mommy’s gut feeling was more spot on.
You were so comfortable in your mommy’s womb that you stayed in there for 42 weeks. The day came when your mommy followed her instinct and checked into the hospital on Sunday, 2nd Sept 2012. The next morning, I reported for work, took the day off and drove to the hospital. It was around 10.15am by the time I reached Pantai Bangsar.
Upon arriving at the labour ward, I walked passed an elderly man who carried a resemblance of your mommy. He was pacing up and down, and seemed nervous yet excited. I didn’t know then that he was your grandfather. Seeing my belly, the midwives thought I was in labour and was surprised to know that I was actually there to be your mommy’s birth companion. I was then 28 weeks pregnant.
Your mommy greeted me with a big smile. Your grandmother was standing next to her. We were all ready for the day, ready for you.
For the first two hours, I sat next to your mommy while the surges came and went. Your mommy was still chirpy, sipping some honey lemon drink every now and then. We were chatting non-stop about everything and anything while I timed each surge. The surges were still irregular but their intensity was gradually increasing.
The doctor came in shortly after and gave your mommy a VE. Her water bag broke and things picked up after that. When she went silent to get through each surge, we both knew that active labour had set in.
We put what we have learned from the Hypnobirthing course to good use; she tried out some positions – leaning against a chair, standing up, walking. I whispered words of positive affirmation, and kept reminding her to drink, snack and empty her bowels. Back in my mind, I was worried about making her uncomfortable with my constant reminders and light stroke massage. Was I too rough? Did I sound naggy? What else could I do? In the effort of managing surges, your mommy selflessly put aside her discomfort and kept asking about my well-being. I was really touched. In all honesty, I did not feel tired at all throughout the whole labour and birth, not until I have reached home that night. I have longed prepared Xandrea for this day, telling her what to expect – that we have been given the honour to support your mommy and be there for your arrival. She was accommodating throughout.
Your mommy was very, very strong. She rode the surges steadily and refused any forms of pain relief or interventions. She wanted you to be safe. You were kicking actively throughout, as if excited that you’ll be seeing the person who carried and nourished you for the past 10 months soon. Your mommy took on one surge at a time. She laboured silently and calmly.
By 6pm, she has reached 10cm dilation but your head has not descended. The doctor came and gave her another two hours to breathe you down at your own pace. At this point, your grandmother came in and provided much needed comfort and encouragement to your mommy. Your mommy napped deeply in between surges, holding tight to your grandmother’s hand. A mother’s true love for her daughter and granddaughter.
Two hours later, the midwives came in and guided your mommy to push. Your head began to make its appearance. The doctor was called in. Everyone got busy for your debut. Your grandmother teared seeing your mommy’s courage and perseverance. When the doctor announced that he might have to “vacuum you out if your mommy didn’t push“, her protective instinct rushed in. In just two pushes, you were born – so quickly that you caught the doctor offguard!
Your mommy laboured for 10 hours. You were a very beautiful newborn with healthy pink skin and gorgeous lips. Your mommy cuddled you and you gave out a loud cry to announce your arrival. You both had an intimate, skin-to-skin bonding time before the midwife wheeled you outside to be cleaned and weighed. A bouncy baby girl weighing 3.2kg! Having been reminded by your mommy to keep an eye on you, your grandmother and I followed you. Your grandfather grinned from cheek to cheek upon seeing you. Your grandmother watched the midwife clean you. Both of them stood there to admire you for a long while before your grandmother went in to accompany your mommy.
After having the delicious dinner your grandparents bought for me from Din Tai Fung, I stayed on for a while more before making my way home. I was very proud of you and your mommy. Excited that you are finally here. Grateful for the experience. Wished I had taken a photo with you then.
One year has gone by. Your mommy told me that you are growing up beautifully. I’m not surprised.
I hope that by writing this story, you will be able to read it when you are older and reminisce the day you were born with your mommy. You already did some good deeds while you were still in the womb: you brought your mommy and I together in a friendship that we will cherish forever. Your birth gave me courage and strength for my own labour and birth. I went on to have a beautiful and gentle birth with Xandrea. So, thank you so much.
You will grow up to be a wise and wonderful lady like your mommy. Always remember that your mommy loves you more than anything in this world, that you mean everything to her. Always honour her, always treasure her.
Happy 1st Birthday, Faith girl!