I was so worried about how you’d handle the birth of your little sister. We spent hours talking about birth, reading books from the library, and watching birth videos online. You came with to every midwife appointment. You helped me set up the birth pool. You felt the baby kick. You were so excited. Still, I was worried.
As it turns out, all that worrying was wasted effort. You were a wonderful little birth partner.
It all started with mommy’s water breaking as I was trying to change you into daytime clothes that morning. I rushed to the bathroom and you followed me right in. A quiet and excited observer. You knew that mommy and daddy needed to figure out what was going on, so you patiently waited. Finally when mama got back out of the tub (where she had run trying to keep from making a mess), you wanted breakfast, so down we went.
Mama got you a bowl of cereal and a muffin for us to share. When the contractions were getting too intense, mama started to pace around the room. You wanted to know what I was doing, but again, you were patient with me. I could tell you were frustrated that I wouldn’t sit down with you and eat, but you didn’t complain. You ate your cereal and when mama said she was going to get in the shower, you were happy to join me.
Mama hopped in the shower and started to wonder why you weren’t coming up. I called down to you, probably with a tone of frustration, but you happily came in and got in the shower. You tried to tell me something, but I was in the middle of a contraction and didn’t hear you. Rather than getting frustrated with me for not responding, you happily played in the shower. Daddy came in and told me that you were supposed to tell me the midwife’s assistant was here. Oops.
As mama was checked by the assistant and daddy was on the phone with Mema, you patiently waited. You were so patient that mama hardly remembers you being there. Daddy came back and we all went upstairs. Mama paced the hall with you following, but you were happy to just observe. When daddy helped mama through contractions by pushing her back, you got upset because you wanted to help. Daddy gave you the job of pushing on mama’s leg, a job invented to keep you happy, and you were immediately calmed. We continued with the contractions this way until mama couldn’t stand through them anymore.
We moved to the bed because the birth pool was still being filled. You knew to be careful to avoid mama’s stomach as you climbed on the bed, likely from all the practice we got about mama’s stomach being sensitive during braxton hicks contractions. You kept helping me through contractions and didn’t break down when I got snappy with you.
When the pool was filled, mama got in. You wanted so badly to help, so daddy gave you the job of giving mama water between contractions. At this point mama got even more loud, but you weren’t scared. You just stuck to your job until Mema arrived and sat with you on the other side of the room. I felt sad to have my little helper leave me, but was too busy to voice it. Your baby sister was almost here.
When mama was done pushing Twig out, we pulled her up onto my stomach and covered her up to keep her from getting cold. We sat there for a few minutes in awe, all just looking at our new little baby. Mema started to ask what the sex of the baby was and I remembered that I wanted you to tell everyone and said as much. We lifted the blanket and you announced to the world that she was a little sister. You were so excited!
The days and weeks after Twig’s birth were difficult for our relationship. Mama had postpartum depression and it was a difficult transition for you to go from being the only one to not the only one. It took some time, but we got back to our normal happiness. Throughout it all, you loved your little sister with your whole heart and made that obvious every day. You are a wonderful sister.
It’s been nine months now since your sister was born. I still feel weepy in the eyes when I think about that day, and it’s not just because it’s when Twig was born. It’s because you showed me that day how strong you really are. You showed me your patience. You showed me your joy. You were selfless and helpful. You were focused on mama and you were excited for your new sibling. You showed me the adult you will one day be and you made me overjoyed over being your mama.
I would never take back having you at your sister’s birth. The birth of a child is not only life changing for the parents, but for the siblings too. Having you present allowed you to be a part of the experience and it helped you to grow into the role of big sister. Thank you for being my little birth partner.