There are then some stories that make your jaw drop open. My grandson, Ben, is one of them.
It was some years ago in the month of February. Tiny Tush was sponsoring a showing of the film The Business of Being Born (this documentary by Ricki Lake is very much worth watching if you haven’t yet seen it). In Baraboo, Wisconsin, this was a big event for the doctors, midwives, and doulas that came from near and far to watch the movie at our event. Despite the fact that it was a cold, ominous winter night in our hometown, the turnout was huge.
My daughter, Amanda, was very pregnant on this evening. She was very closer to her due date – she was at that point where one looked like she could pop. After the showing of the film she spent the rest of her evenings at home, preparing for the big (yet to be scheduled) event.
I remember getting to my house after the evening event, very happy with both the turnout and feedback from the showing of the film. A storm was starting to come in and was threatening our area with snow and ice – in fact the precipitation was just starting. Fred and I were grateful to turn in for the night.
But then we got the call a few hours later. Amanda’s water had broken.
By this point the precipitation was growing stronger and more fierce. There was ice forming over the streets that would take Amanda to the hospital. In only a few hours, the conditions had worsened considerably. And to top it all off, the roads had not yet been salted and were beyond slick.
Amanda did not have the proper vehicle to get to the hospital, but luckily Fred and I could put chains on our truck tires to cut through the ice, and get to her house to pick her up. And in our wonderful community, where there is a true desire to help each other whenever possible, a lone Transportation Department truck agreed to salt our route to ensure Amanda got to the hospital safely.
There was a full moon that evening (we had been able to see this more clearly before all the precipitation started), which added to the ambiance and urgency of the evening. I won’t ever forget the feeling of excitement and anticipation that was surging through my body.
Amanda’s labor progressed at the hospital, and the big moment finally came.
It was wonderful to be such an integral part of my own daughter’s birthing experience. An old Army midwife was on point to lead the process, and she let me do almost everything. When Ben came into the world, I was the first to touch and hold him, which is an amazing privilege that I will never, ever forget.
And then there was the sheer size of Ben. Born at 8 pounds, 9 ounces, we learned (much to my daughter’s chagrin) that with his hand positioned as it was on side of his face, he was the equivalent of a 13 pound baby. Amanda was an amazingly strong person as she gave birth to her son.
So when the time came for Amanda and her family to take Ben home, there was 2 feet of snow on the ground, blizzard winds, and basically non-welcoming conditions.
But we hope that Ben felt very welcomed and snug with all the love surrounding him. And what were his first diapers? His very first diaper was a chocolate Tiny Tush Elite, with his second diaper being an orange Tiny Tush Trim covered by a Saturn blue Tiny Tush Cover.
As for me, I was thrilled and exhilarated by the entire experience. The greatest lesson for me – and a point of frustration – was that sometimes there is nothing a mom can do to directly help her child – my choice was to either stay with Amanda or leave the room as she gave birth, but there was nothing hands-on I could do to either speed the process along or diminish the pain.
But I do know that by being there, every step of the way, my strength and comfort was passed on to her in some way. And sometimes, that is the best that a mom can do.