I doubt there's a more intimate space to be invited into than that of a woman birthing, but my dear friends, Mardee and Pete invited me into theirs.
In the previous twelve days leading up to Walker's birth, Mardee passed those 'overdue' days by posting an hilarious exchange of willpower between herself and her unborn child entitled "conversations with an overcooking baby". I'm sure she felt frustration at her due date coming and going, and then disappearing by weeks, but those of us on the outside didn't see it. All we saw was a beautiful, take-it-in-her-stride outlook while waiting for her baby to decide to make his grand entrance.
When Walker did arrive (with a little nudge from the medical professionals), he came without wasting a moment. Pete phoned me at 3am with the words "she's eight centimetres!!" Their hospital was over an hour away so I jumped in my car with the mantra "a centimetre a minute" running through my head. Half way there Pete let me know that it was all over and I could turn around to head home if I wanted to, but I offered to keep coming in and document this time bonding with their son. I parked my car just as the very first glow of daylight was peeping up over the horizon, my heart was pounding as I walked in, so thrilled to see my wonderful friend as a very brand new mama. She was a gorgeous combination of elated, exhausted, astounded and proud as she lifted the blanket that covered them both and introduced me to their son, snuggled peacefully on her bare chest, with "this is our little boy". And here he is...
Walker Forrest Cunningham wasn't officially named for a few days afterwards, which I think is pretty awesome. Probably because we took our time deciding with our kiddies. He's lovely. They've hit the jackpot with this beautiful little man with a head full of thick dark hair, who loves his sleep (as much as a newborn can), loves his milk and a snuggle. And though she probably would never believe it, Mardee is a very natural and maternal mother to him. As it always is. I think back to the text messages we were exchanging nine months earlier, Mardee was telling me all of the symptoms she was experiencing and wondered if I thought she was. We'd had this conversation in the previous couple of months, but this time I was certain, and I think she was too, even if she didn't say it aloud. All those months of waiting for a positive test, all those months of waiting for this precious bundle to grow, and then the longest of all - waiting those very long twelve days when she surely wondered if he'd ever be born culminated in this one soul-shaking, dreams-coming-true morning.
Thank you for inviting me into your sacred space and sharing in a little of this moment with you both. Your little Walker has a special place in my heart.