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Another new family member (any minute now)

My sister Kerry is nine months and one week pregnant now. For the past few weeks I’ve been waiting for the call which will trigger my leap into action. At that point I will drop everything, call a cab, and race up to Old Chelsea, hopefully arriving in time to watch the baby emerge from her body.

Last time I just had to get from Rochester Street to Arlington Street, and I still didn’t make it in time. Nobody did: the midwife, my mother, the ambulance and my taxi all arrived at the same time, a mad convoy tearing down Arlington Street. Then we all dashed into her apartment, where we found her sitting in bed, holding wee Max who was seven minutes old and still attached by the umbilical cord. She hadn’t even had time to take her dress off. She’d barely had time to make a couple of phone calls and get into bed. In fact, she was climbing into bed when he was born, and she had to fish around in the folds of her dress to find him.

That was three years ago.

Arrow and Max, my favourite photoI did make it in time for Arrow’s birth, seven years ago. She was in labour for about three hours then, I think. Arrow emerged just like magic. I saw her face peeking out, and then one little arm reached out, and then she slid right out. It was unreal. This is my favourite photo of Arrow and Max; I took it a couple of years ago at Christmas.

Kerry’s oldest, Tyren, was born in Toronto, after five hours of labour. You can see she has a rich history of efficient home birthing.

I think Kerry could get a job as a birth coach. She could show people how it’s done. Let’s say you were pregnant and freaking out because from everything you’ve ever heard, giving birth is sheer agony. You could just go over to Kerry’s house, light a few candles, put some nice music on, and she’ll say “ooh” a few times in a nice peaceful meditative way, and then a baby will come swimming out of her body. A few minutes later she’ll get up and put some tea on and make a cake, and you can have a nice party to celebrate.

You might still end up having a normal birth, like mine, but you’ll go through pregancy thinking it’s at least possible to have a quick, painless, pleasant birth experience.

When I was in labour I was convinced I was dying but the nurses and doctors were shielding me from the truth.

“It’s alright,” I pleaded with them between contractions, “I know I’m dying. Just tell me, okay? I can handle the truth.” And I was at peace with it too, because giving birth is sheer agony and dying doesn’t seem quite so bad when you’re in sheer agony.

My baby’s going to be 25 on Monday, by the way. He and his girlfriend and his father are all coming over for the birthday celebration tomorrow.

I’m betting Kerry’s baby arrives on James’ birthday, after an 11-minute labour.

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