Moka was born on the new moon in the middle of a typhoon. The rains brought welcome relief from months of record heat. The sound of all that falling water seemed to calm her. That’s how the story of my daughter’s life begins.
I don’t know too many babies who were born on the due date, at noon no less. I suppose that means she’ll be punctual and that she’ll never make her family wait.
Both Moka and Tomoko are doing well. They’re at the hospital now, and will be there under observation for five days. There’s nothing wrong; it’s just a Japanese health regulation. A sign of civilization that the US lacks. I don’t know how any mother would be able to leave the hospital after a couple days so soon after giving birth.
I was there through the contractions and the birth itself. And these are the things I learned:
Respect All Mothers
I have a profound appreciation for all women who have given birth. It was hard to see Tomoko go through all that pain. I’ve read about it and heard about it my whole life. But being there and seeing what she went through, I just thanked her the whole time. When Tomoko’s mom visited, I thanked her. When I chatted with my sister today, I thanked her. And when I talk to my mom, I’ll thank her too. And I resolved to always do what my momma asks me to do. If she gets on me about something, I’m just going to nod and say, “yes ma’am”.
I never want to put Tomoko through that again. By hour 7 of the contractions, I resolved to never get any woman pregnant again, ever. Tomoko laughed at my resolution. She thinks I’m kidding.
No Such Thing as an Easy Birth
And this was an ‘easy’ birth, according to the nurses and doctors. Trouble-free and relatively quick, they said. Lacking in drama, they implied. If this was an easy birth, I’d hate to be at one with complications.
Men Are Useless
No matter what the books say about the father’s role in helping the mom, the man in the delivery room is ultimately useless. Helping the mother breathe? She’s going to breathe however damn well she pleases. I found the breathing was more for me, to calm me down and give me something to do.
Giving her massages and stroking her? It’s not the kind of scented candle massage that I imagined. Tomoko mostly needed a frantic rubbing of the lower back during the contractions, which was every 2 to 5 minutes. When the big contractions came, she mostly didn’t want to be touched.
I’m not saying the father shouldn’t be there. He should. Every man needs to experience this just to at least appreciate his mother. And the man needs to be there for moral support, and do man things like time the contractions, do Mr. Miyagi exercises, and cheer on the team.
The Final Push
When it came time to push, suddenly there were five people in the delivery room, all women.
There was a cheerful youthful doctor who suddenly appeared for the first time . Other doctors had checked in on us through the night.
The funny, down-to-earth lead nurse spoke English because she spent some time in Petaluma. She patiently explained everything to me throughout the process. She looked a little and acted a lot like our friend Aska, so that’s what we called her.
The nursing student had spent the most time with us. She seemed to be the lead nurse’s protege. As part of her training she did almost all of the preparing of the materials. And to my surprise, she caught the baby! With a lot of guidance from the doctor and lead nurse of course.
Another nurse cleaned, measured and tagged the baby after the birth. It reminded me of a scientist tagging a wild animal.
And because I had had no sleep for the past two days, I have no recollection of what the fifth person did, nor who she was. I think she was just there as an extra hand. Or maybe I was seeing double.
The Final Final Push
You’d think after the baby was born, it’d be over, the end. But the placenta also has to be expelled and that required more painful pushing.
Tears of Joy and Relief
I’d been told by my male friends that I’d feel like a father the moment the baby squeezes my finger. Screw that. I felt like a father as soon as I saw that purple being come out of my wife’s vagina. I knew I would be moved to see the birth of my daughter, but I didn’t expect to straight up bawl out crying. They were manly tears of joy, mind you.
Moka was born on the new moon in the middle of a typhoon. The rains brought welcome relief from months of record heat. The sound of all that falling water seemed to calm her…
17 thoughts on “My Daughter’s Birth”
Beautiful Wind. Thank you for sharing. I love the vagina part:)
Give my love to Tomoko and Moka. Blessings to you and your sweet family!
Congratulations to you, Tomoko and Moka for making it through a most traumatic, joyful and emotional event. I have no doubt you will cherish many more memorable events together.
I am so happy for you guys. Moka is beautiful. I was in a sleepy daze, laying in bed this morning, when Erin walked in and said: “Wind and Tomoko had their baby. Her name is Moka.” To which I responded with a giant smile: “Moka! that is sooo cute!” and then urgently got out of bed to look at the computer. I can’t wait to see her in person.
Send Tomoko our love and support for all of her hard work. We miss you both.
See you soon.
Wow what a beautiful baby! I always thought that new born babies look like little aliens or old little people, but your daughter looks like an angel!
Congratulations to you and Tomoko, tell me more when you are back to work. Enjoy the beginning of your fatherhood! Very happy for you three!
Congratulations. The birth of your child is and always will be the most moving and incredible event in your life.
Wonderful!! Congratulations!! She is beautiful! Lots of love and hugs to all three of you!
thanks for all the kind words all. i’m still exhausted but it’s all worth it because i love holding that little baby.
Congratulations Wind and Tomoko and welcome Moka!
So happy for you all, the pictures are great, Moka looks so chilled it is ridiculous!
Can’t wait to see you all soon,
Love James x
Boy, I should have been checking your blog. I’m impressed with your resolution to stop at one. That’s a wonderful commitment for a lot of reasons and one that I just might be making myself soon enough. Jane I’m sure has other plans!
Congratulations Dad! Give my love to Tomoko.
“I felt like a father as soon as I saw that purple being come out of my wife’s vagina. ”
THIS might be my single favorite line of all time. So layered, so introspective…
Wind, this made me laugh and smile so. And I kick myself again for being such a shitty son! Oh well, can’t win them all.
It breaks my heart to not be there to see this beautiful child (whom I have already dubbed my goddaughter, mind you) grow and prosper from the love you and Tomo will provide. We’ll all see each other again soon. I know it. And HEY, don’t be so impulsive! I see you two having two more….
Love ya, bro
Congratulations for the new parents! Welcome to this world little Moka!
I wish all the best to your family!
Your daughter is beautiful and you’ve written this account with your characteristic passion and wit. Save this for her. It’s a lovely tribute to all three of you.
What a beautiful daughter you have. Despite all the sweat and hard work, each birth is still a miracle. Your reflections on her birth were a delight to read. Congratulations!
I am so delighted for you! Reading about your experience, I have so much empathy for you. My son’s father chose to get fixed within a few months of our family expansion. The juxtaposition between the beauty and the pain is immense. I am glad that you were present to what a sacred and amazing experience birth is.
I’m sure that by now, Moka is smiling and just starting to laugh. Starting to have longer and longer times awake and alert. Starting to let you get slightly more sleep at once during the night.
May you find the journey of parenting as inspiring, opening, and incredible as you did the birth. And may you have as much fun doing it as I have.
With abundant love,
thank you praj! thoughtful musings from a thoughtful friend.
All is so Beautiful ! Your daughter Moka, your wife, the emotion that springs out of your words, thank you so much for sharing these unique moments with us. Congratulations to all and best wishes for the small joys and great happiness that life will bring you.
What an absolutely beautiful baby!!!
Wind, it had been too long since I checked into your blog. Georgie reminded me by telling me that you now have a daughter. She is beautiful. I’m glad you and your family are well. Love to you. -Jon