Origins of an Owlet
This morning, for the first time since that deliriously joyful day, Owlet got to see where she was born. It was actually the first time I’d been there since having her, though truthfully I didn’t even realize it at first.
Not that we couldn’t have visited anytime. Our mom’s group meets at the birth center, so it’s a very short walk through a charmingly overgrown courtyard from the rocking-chair convention of a classroom space to the little cottage-style building housing two birth rooms and a common area. Somehow the hustle out of and back into the car had always engulfed all but the briefest flickering memories of her birth, but today our usual meeting spot was busy, so they had us meet in that common area instead — basically a living room with a small kitchenette and access to both birth rooms.
Before we left at the end of the morning, I picked her up in my arms and we poked our noses into that sacred space. I showed her the end of the bed, where Daddy had been sitting when she was born, and told her I’d been right in front of him on a birth stool, gesturing to the approximate spot where she had come “earthside.” She listened solemnly in her Owlet way as I tried to imprint the depths of this moment, our return to the site of her first breath. We gazed at the quilted bedspread and homey flowered sheets that are captured in our first photos of tiny, wrinkly, red-faced infant Owlet. Were there any shadowed roots of recognition stirring in her toddler mind?
I love that my daughter’s first conscious exposure to birth was at home. Nothing else, not even her own birth center birth, is going to resonate as “normal” to her the way her brother’s home birth will. I actually wonder if she’ll feel a little slighted that she wasn’t born at home, too, but I’m pretty sure her abiding love for our home birth midwife is going to eclipse all else. Seriously, Owlet will pretend to call her on the phone, or knock a spoon against her high chair tray and say it’s our midwife, at the door, coming to measure our bellies.
I am honored to be a link in the chain of women reclaiming childbirth. My mother birthed both my sister and I naturally, in a hospital setting. I had my daughter at a birth center and my son at home. Both my mom and I grew up steeped in the myth of sudden water-breaks followed by overwhelming contractions leading inevitably to epidurals and therefore had to spend our pregnancies rewiring our brains in preparation for real birth. But the culture is shifting, especially in this little corner of the world. If Owlet chooses to bear children and wants to follow in our footsteps (and, given her worship of our midwife, this seems likely), she will be lucky enough to ride the growing wave of strong-willed, clear-eyed, mama-bear pregnant women successfully giving birth wherever and however they see fit.