(Regarding Birth Part I)
As the clock wound down on Natalia’s pregnancy, my mind and body was winding up — like a spring. I was sharpened up so much that when Natalia started to go into labour, she declared that I was being, “a little intense.” I thought I was being “cool” and calm. My brain had gone over the whole thing many times, playing out different scenarios. But all I wanted was for everything to be okay. It is the most simple thing in the universe. Yet, with a billion variables, things could easily be not okay.
So I feel like the luckiest bag of shit that has ever stank up the face of the earth. To have one perfect child, without incident, is one thing. To be in that delivery room a second time and have it go down even smoother and quicker is completely on a different level. I suppose there was just so much positivity surrounding us. I am grateful.
As mentioned before, when Neptune was born I sobbed like little child. I was in a state. I was high. This time around I was so lucid. I was very focused on Natalia, on the nurses, on the doctors and interns. I never payed attention to anything more in my life. The irony is I was also the most useless person in the room. That is not an exaggeration. Bruvs: you all know what I am talking about. The delivery room is filled with lingo, moves, professionalism — stoicism. There could be something going horribly wrong and you would never know it. Everything could be going perfectly and you would never know it. The health care pros have literally seen hundreds of births while we have seen one, maybe three.
Apparently, I was still being “intense.” They gave me four jobs. One was the to reset the baby monitor. As Natalia moved around it would stop monitoring properly. When that happened I had to push a button to turn it off and then back on again to reset it. The second job was ice chips. As Natalia’s lips became dry from breathing she would call out for “chips” and I would grab a few pieces of ice and drop some into her mouth. The third job was to hold her leg. Like a pat on the head, this would ensure that I would stay put and out of the way. To be honest I cannot for the life of me remember what the fourth job was. Probably, it was to simply try to remember what the fourth job was. That would definitely keep me busy.
We arrived at the hospital at around midnight. If we left the house any later, we would have been fucked. By about quarter to 2 it was time to push. Everything was happening so fucking fast. When it was over they told us that Natalia was pushing for a mere 7 minutes. It felt like seven years.
Natalia was/is amazing. She handled the whole thing so great. Hear this: I WILL drop anyone who dares to say anything crappy about her, maybe even slit their throat if I have to. She’s my baby mama.
They asked me if I wanted to see the sex of the child. I leaned over expecting to see a vagina because in my mind, that’s what we were probably gonna have. Instead I saw Frank and his pals, Beans; ballsack and wee-wee? I almost fell on the floor. This is my son’s package. I have a son. It’s a boy. Jesus H Christ. Genuinely, I was surprised.
While the whole thing was overwhelming, I didn’t cry at all. I was kind of too busy, mentally, for tears. After baby’s “skin on skin” time with mama, they weighed him, wiped him, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and handed him to me. We had a conversation about his name. I said to the boy, “we’re thinking of calling you Apollo. You cool with that?” He looked right into my eyes, didn’t look away at all, nodded his head and blinked. Maybe I was high on the moment but it kind of freaked me out. We immediately connected. I took this all as a yes. The boy’s name is Apollo. Apollo James Taras Yanchak Lightburn.
“Oh…it’s a space theme.”
“Oh…. it’s greek theme.”
Whatever. I guess we wanted our children to have powerful, timeless names. Neptune and Apollo. That, to me, is some pretty timeless shit. Naming a child is filled pressure. You want to avoid future schoolyard teasing. You want it to be special. You don’t want it to be boring. With this child, I imagine him in bar one day, buying someone a drink and in his old man’s baritone, introducing himself: “Apollo Lightburn…Scorpio.” I’m sorry, but I wish that could be me. Isn’t that what we want for our kids? To have it better than us?
Anyway, when the dust settled a bit in the delivery room, Natalia said, “aren’t you going to take pictures?” I gleefully pulled out the MX, 50/f2 on the front, a fresh roll of HP5 inside. I was getting 1/30 f2.8! Not too shabby for hospital lighting.
Above: Only a few minutes old, baby poses in the arms of mama while the old man fumbles around on the other side of the lens.
Pentax MX, SMC 50/f2, HP5, D76 1+1, 13 mins