Housing a human in your body for 40 weeks and then working extremely hard (with pain and suffering) to get him out is nothing short of a real miracle. Quite frankly, I think they should hand out GIGANTIC trophies after you do it! If you make it through without any drugs…the trophy PLUS a large cash prize.
Last week, I was simply honored to witness and photograph the incredible birth of Remmy Alexander Bitterman, born at 10:00 pm at 8 lbs 11oz and 20 inches long. His mom, January, was amazing and, as her proud husband Jeremy put it, “a machine”!
I got the call to head in about 6:30 and when I got there about 7:00, January was laboring with ease. Everyone was still smiling, laughing, talking in between contractions, and thinking that since this was baby #2, this delivery might just be a breeze. As she worked through her contractions, January was in a zone, transitioning beautifully with yoga poses and hypno-breathing. I was so impressed with how well she was in tune with her body, how zen-like she was, and how she handled the growing intensity with grace and composure. Because it was baby #2, things started moving VERY quickly and by about 8:30, well….let’s just say….there may have been some small conversations about epidurals and a few F-bombs dropped. It was just a small detour.
The nurses, Jeremy, and myself were rooting for January and knew she could make it over the “transition” hump, to move forward on the drug-free path of this childbirth. At 9:00, she agreed to keep going naturally and gladly moved to the birthing tub where she immediately began to push. During the next hour, the room grew dark and the voices quiet, everything was calm. January worked SO hard as I sat by with eyes the size of saucers in awe over her strength and will. At about 9:55 Remmy’s head was out and I, standing above with camera in hand, was waiting for the moment he would descend completely into the water and all of us would cheer for his arrival.
In a matter of seconds, the anticipation turned into anxiety when the superhero Obstetrician ordered for the nurses to get her out of the tub and onto the bed. “More hands now!”, she said sternly. A button was pushed, and as January was doing as she was told and moving as quickly as she could manage to the bed, the NICU team rushed in and all the lights went on. At this time, I moved out of the way and took an abrupt leave of duty, allowing plenty of space for saving lives. I put my hands together in prayer and my faith in the amazing team of healthcare professionals of Emanuel Labor and Delivery. Turns out Remmy’s shoulder was stuck and beyond that, he had a short umbilical cord to boot. Not an ideal situation when the baby’s head is already out and the the rest of him just ain’t coming!
In what seemed like an eternity and in reality was about 1 minute, nurses were everywhere pushing as the doctor was pulling, all with the common goal to GET HIM OUT. Just after 10:00, with all that persuasion, Remmy decided he would join us. However he wasn’t fully committing yet; he was out, but not breathing. I remember an awkward silence and then Jeremy…”is he alright?”, no answer. Then January…”is he ok”? Still nothing. With one hand on Remmy’s chest, the nurse looked at the clock and started counting, “One, Two, Three” (LOUDLY) “Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight” and then……
Remmy’s first cry. And THEN…we cheered.
And then….I cried.
Holy scary moments Batman!! I think Jeremy didn’t breath for about 2 minutes himself. He turned to me and said “that totally freaked me out”. Ummmm…YEAH!! Whew! Hugs and kisses came next and then a lot of welcomed crying from Remmy. WHAT. A. RIDE.
Blessed is the friend who gets to share in this experience with a friend. Having had a child myself, this perspective of the occasion gave me insight and appreciation in a whole new way. It was one of the most fantastic things I have ever been a (very small) part of and all I can say is thank you and WOW. January…you are powerful. You are beautiful. You are inspiring and strong. I have always admired this woman, but this now goes to the top of the *reasons why* list. Congratulations January, Jeremy, and Elliot. Welcome sweet little Remmy B. Your family is complete and your home is full of love. Enjoy.