A birth story

Girls rule.
Or at least that’s the sentiment that erupted when the father of a baby girl revealed the gender of his newly-delivered No. 2 offspring.
There’s nothing too unfair about this statement as the ratio of males to females in this particular family is a bit skewed to the masculine side.

Caroline Marie Gresham arrived at 11:53 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, only the second representative of the female gender in more than 50 years. On the paternal side, she’s surrounded and protected by a cadre of males – one big brother, one uncle, two great-uncles and five male second cousins, she’s in the company of only one female second cousin – my own daughter.
After the hospital check-in and natural intervention, an epidural was a welcome next step. You could see mama’s face soften as the pain dulled. Baby Caroline was ready and pushing hard against the barrier of a not-quite-ready cervix.

Term plus three days. Everyone was waiting.
She didn’t cause a lot of trouble, sliding into the hands of the midwife after two strong pushes just a few minutes before midnight.
Her daddy, my nephew Jason, confirmed ‘she’ was indeed a ‘she.’ “Let’s see what we have…,” the midwife said. “IT’S A GIRL!” Jason said.
It was the best sort of reward after not knowing for the term of the pregnancy. I
was happy to say ‘yes’ to a fourth childbirth photo session and the first where I was related to the parents and a soon-to-be favorite great-niece.

With an eye aimed at documenting the authentic experience and a heart floating somewhere between the desire to honor the wishes of the parents and my own excitement, I did my best capture the birth story.
Caroline joins Elliot, Rhett and Walter in my childbirth portfolio.
The privilege of presence is one that I feel deeply. There’s nothing like being a witness to the fresh hope that arrives along with a greatly-desired child.
It’s one of those moments when time is suspended in the waiting and watching. The world shrinks down to the monitors and decisions made to ensure the best possible scenario for a safe birth – for mother and child. The sounds of the baby’s heartbeat, the mother’s breathing, the father’s soothing voice and the reassuring directions of the nurses and midwife gather momentum until it’s time to focus on the birth.

On Caroline’s birth-day, I learned a lot about her parents. In the hours leading up to her arrival, they shared with me hopes and dreams for the future of their young family. Their partnership is strong and they both have family at the top of the priority list.
I fell in love a little more with them and what they represent in our world.
Two committed parents.
Two strong work ethics.
Two focused ambitions.
Two hearts beating strong.
Yes, a second child will require adjustments. Big brother at home will be the first to feel it. But his parent’s expanding hearts will keep him covered and comforted as he learns to make room for baby sister.
As for the rest of the family, Caroline’s arrival confirms again that all of these Gresham men can indeed soften a bit when it comes to loving on another girl-child.
Welcome to the world, baby girl.
E. Lane Gresham August 27, 2017
Photos shared with permission.


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