I read all my comments. I love it when those of you who read make yourselves known (hint hint).
My lovely friend from the UK left this comment on the last post:
"I need some clarification. Your DAD was present during your labor?!? Your parents are amazing!!"
I must concur. They are amazing. When Homestead Mama went into labor, we were able to wait until the sensible hour of 6 am to call my parents so they could get on the road and make the six hour drive to be present for the delivery. They stayed a week after Pequita was born; H-Mama's father came to visit the weekend after they left. Her mom came to visit when Pequita was 3 months old. When I went into labor, we called them at 11:30 pm and they drove through the night, poor souls.
My dad was the photographer when Homestead Mama gave birth to Pequita, and also when I gave birth to Monito. When I say he had all access, I mean ALL ACCESS. We charged him with taking photos of everything, figuring we'd edit as needed after the fact. Well, Dad took his job very seriously (as we knew he would) and he has left us with a photojournalist-styled series of shots from both births. He even took audio recordings and short movies so we could have clips of us laboring, with all the vocalizations, swearing, and laughing that went on, and some of the discussions with the doc about major decisions, like should we move to c-sections. People are universally surprised, if not a tad horrified, that Homestead Mama let her father-outlaw in the delivery room with her all naked, bloody, distracted and out of sorts taking closeup action shots of her lady parts. (Truth be told, in the throes of labor they don't resemble the normal bits all that much. Also, while there is much dignity, there is precious little modesty in labor. Trust me.) People are only slightly less horrified that I had him perform the same function at my delivery. We are grateful to him, and pleased to have a personal record of the events. I don't imagine that we'll ever show most of the photos to anyone else, but WE have them. I intend to use them to illustrate the birth stories that we are writing. And based on my own love of hearing the story of my own birth while I was growing up, H-Mama and I will be videotaping ourselves relating the story of each of our kids' births to add to the memory boxes. I think it will be meaningful for the kids as they get older. We get so mushy and lovey and make moon eyes at each other when we reminisce, and have photos of the IVF clinic doc & nurses, we saved a plastic vial that contained the "donor sample" from the inseminations, each and every ultrasound pictures or movie, the amnio video and results, the hospital name bracelets from the delivery, and assorted other artifacts. Homestead Mama's family was very bad at keeping memorabilia - we have NO photographs of her younger than one year old as her mom lost them at some point. She feels this as a great loss of her personal history. I came from the exact opposite environment, and loved having the record of coming into existence. So from two different beginnings, we are united in our desire to keep a full history for each child.
With all this text about the pictures, here are a couple that embody the spirit of my labor and bring it all rushing back. The difference between these two faces/moods could be as little as 2 minutes. Forgive the black-out spots - there are some images of myself that I NEVER want to see reproduced on the web in their entirety.