I'm not really sure how to start with this. Ashley, my cousin, has always been this elusive person in my life. I didn't meet her until I was in my mid twenties and we hit it off right away. I think what I like about her the most - her strength. Not just in that way that people are strong because they put up with a lot of BS and just.... throw their hair up and handle it. Strong in the way that, she doesn't take anything from anyone. She has an opinion and tells you, but always keeps it real. Most importantly, strong in her life choices. But, watching her bring life into the world brought it all full circle. She. Is. Amazing.
Ashley and Daniel got up at 5am to arrive at the hospital for the scheduled induction. Thankfully, after a while they also hooked up the epidural and gave her some relief. By the time I arrived, Ashley was measured at around 7. I admit to getting a huge kick out of the fact that she had a long, very pleasant conversation on the phone with her insurance company - just before hitting "transition". Daniel, fast asleep from the early morning, but of course MY cousin had her make up on point and cheerful as ever.
I think I had only been there about an hour and 20 minutes before the nurse came in and flipped her over. She did a cervical check and said "OH! The baby is RIGHT THERE". Ashley was ready to go. I am pretty sure no one was anticipating that, but Ashley felt no pain. A little pressure but had no idea that "If she sneezed, there was a baby coming out".
Suddenly, there's a rush of nurses and the residents coming in to assist and watch the birth. I could see on Ashley's face that while excited, even exhilarated, there was some anxiety. Not in a bad way, in that way that you totally weren't expecting the outcome to happen that quickly.
MAYBE minutes passed and the little guy made grand entrance into the world! But, not after Dr. Harris at Hillcrest South made a few jokes and generally made the whole experience delightful. Ashley was a ROCKSTAR. Pushed with intention, even too much intention. Just after he was born, the emotion washed over Mom and she cried. The whole experience through my eyes was totally surreal. Like this tornado that came through the room and then there was this beautiful silence. In awe of the beautiful new baby in this world.
Within the first 30 minutes, mom was getting him to nurse, bonding with both her and dad. And, soon big sister and Auntie would be there!
Ok, so Lucy was not too incredibly into an unbathed newborn. But, she was fascinated momentarily and got to cuddle with mom for a little bit. Finally, the nurse came in to do some checks and warm up a slightly cold new Nikolai. All while mom and Dad sent the news to the rest of their families and arranged for visits at the hospital.
I do get to go go back and see them all in action tomorrow! Which, I'm pretty excited for. It's already almost 12 hours after his birth, so I hope Ashley is sleeping and resting. But, I am just so happy for this little family. And forever grateful for them allowing me to be a part of this incredibly powerful and vulnerable experience in their lives.