S. wanted me to post my version of the birth story. She claims I remember way more. (Which is actually true--now and then I'll be like "remember when you..." and she'll be like "no, I don't.") I suppose that is your body's brilliant biological/psychological reaction to massively painful experiences like childbirth--the end-product makes you forget about all the labor it took to get there.
I won't post my whole version--it obviously cannot possibly compare to S.'s--but I will say a few things about being there from start to finish as a birth partner. First of all, it is the most bizarre thing I have possibly ever seen, watching S. give birth. She has a very low pain threshold, so I knew a natural birth was going to be rough, but I had no freaking idea how she was going to do it. Doubted her? No, not doubted, because I knew how committed she was to having a natural birth. I just didn't understand how it was all going to actually happen.
So what was so bizarre? Well, I guess the fact that she was actually doing it, and watching her go through the most painful thing she has/will ever experience. She seemed like a different person, so close and so far. She needed me and our doula to be there, but at times I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I was there, helping her, but my other self was floating above, watching with disbelief as S. experienced each contraction.
Then it came time to push. As soon as our midwife said "OK, it's time for you to get on your back and push your baby out!" my knees just about buckled under me. The adrenaline pumping through my body made me quiver so hard I could hardly help hold S.'s legs up--or fan her!--but somehow I did it. And again, I watched in disbelief and S. did the most amazing thing I will ever see happen.
So basically, I came out of Theo's birth with a new perspective on S. She wowed me with her strength (even though she doubted her own strength many times throughout the labor) and stamina and most of all, the ability to tolerate all that pain. Maybe tolerate is an understatement, but she did it! I am so, so proud of her, and I look at our son and see her there, and remember all the hard work she did (and continues to do) for him and for our family.
And I won't say anymore about the actual birth, because there are pregnant women and partners out there who will just have to wait to experience those parts (the kind of yucky ones) for themselves!