Birth, Two Worlds Apart: Part 1 of 3 - My Daughter's Birth

My first labor began in predawn darkness, burning contractions sweeping over my belly like a brushfire before dissipating into stillness. By evening, my husband and I decided the contractions were frequent enough to drive to the hospital. There I labored through the night, focused on enduring, knowing each contraction brought me closer to a life-changing embrace with our first child. My husband comforted me with gentle coaching, and a series of nurses entered regularly to chart vital signs--particularly since they'd allowed me to forgo an IV lock and internal exams.

A friend who birthed without medication had told me that precisely when I couldn't handle the pain, that moment would be the pinnacle before birth. Her words gave me the strength to wait until I felt the primal need to push. Crying out, I entered that place of consuming concentration; the contractions slowed. Relief came as a slippery body emerged, half pushed, half tugged, midwife unwrapping a cord around the neck, my husband taking an eternally long moment to announce with quiet wonder, "It's a girl." He handed her to me, her purple skin turning flushed red, her forehead wrinkled, her pupils dilated and full of equal wonder.

Our daughter at five weeks old

Our daughter at five weeks old

Her little toes

In my early days of motherhood; all photos by Shayne Berry of  Catchlights Photography

In my early days of motherhood; all photos by Shayne Berry of Catchlights Photography

This post is the first of a three-part narrative to draw attention to the difference you and I can make in the lives of mothers worldwide.  It is inspired by Alt Summit's support of Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit organization supporting maternal health worldwide. Tomorrow and through the weekend I'll continue this narrative because my privileged births starkly contrast so many births in other counties, cultures, and continents. Mothers worldwide struggle through darker narratives, their journeys leading to pain as often as they lead to new life. Please join me here in discovering how we can stretch out our hands in support.

#Alt Summit believes every mother counts

More posts in this series: