I vividly remember my bonus daughter, Melea, group-calling my husband and I to talk. My hubby was at work, and I was at home with my newest baby, folding laundry. I KNEW almost instantly what she had called to tell us, I just knew. She was 18 at the time, so I know she was nervous for our reactions. But as I sat there looking at the precious baby in my lap, I also KNEW that this baby, her baby, was already loved, and that Melea would be a great mama.
And then I thought, how TF am I going to be a grandma at 32 years old!? 😂🤣
I was getting ready for bed when I got the call that Melea’s water had broken at home. I can’t even describe how excited I was! When we got to the Longs Peak Hospital birth center, I could tell Melea was excited, and maybe a little scared, too. It was my first time being in the room during a birth, and even though I had given birth three times already, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from someone else’s birth experience. All I could think was that I wanted to be for her what I would want someone to be for me during my births – calm and supportive.
Watching Melea get into her zone and get through labor was awe inspiring. She was so incredibly determined and she worked so beautifully with her intuition and her body to birth her baby into the world. I’m pretty sure I was on a high with her, and while hubby took a nap with two of our other daughters, Melea and I walked the halls.
Eventually she got to a point where she really felt like she needed something to take the edge off, so the nurses gave her some Fentanyl and then she got in the bathtub. I could tell when the relief from the medicine kicked in because she would talk about her cats through each contraction and had the whole room cracking up!
After getting out of the tub all the jokes subsided and I could really tell she was working through each contraction. They were coming fast and fierce, and I instinctually knew that it was almost time!
“I was in labor for 12 hours and had denied the epidural, but I did receive some sort of medication to help relax me. I was in so much pain, and in my head every second I just kept saying ‘You can do this. You’ve gone through so much in your life you can come out of this too.’ Even though those weren’t the words coming out of my mouth haha! I’m thankful to have had three amazing people in my life who were there to rub my back that made everything so much better and just felt loved by everyone.”
I had never witnessed a birth as a bystander before, and I didn’t know how intensely I would feel watching someone else’s baby come into the world, but I ugly cried the happiest tears when that little chunk was put on Melea’s chest! I was overwhelmed with pride and awe and love. That moment, and the whole birth experience, was monumental. It literally altered the course of all of our futures in so many ways. I personally have the experience of the birth of my first granddaughter to thank for helping me find my passion and my direction and my purpose as a birth photographer and doula.
“The moment my daughter was born everything else in the world didn’t matter. I couldn’t hear anything. Everyone around the room slowly disappeared and it was just me holding my daughter as she laid on my chest with her soft breathing. I was in awe and shocked that this little girl had changed my life for the better, and she was going to be loved by everyone she ever came across.”
Little Nathalia is now two years old and the sweetest little firecracker I know. She is the perfect addition to our gang of girls and I have loved watching her grow, and watching Melea grow into such an amazing, caring mama. I will say, having a daughter that’s only 10 months older than my granddaughter is a whole different ballgame of crazy to add to our story though! It has been a unique experience parenting through the same stages alongside my bonus daughter, and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.