6:00pm yesterday, walking into the hospital…”I cannot possibly do this.” 7:30pm, baby body parts start coming out of my friend, and I am a blubbering mess while she is composed and intense….”I cannot possibly shoot this.” 4:27 this afternoon….”I cannot possibly edit this video through 24 hours of tears spewing out of my face.”
Katie Merkle, to say that this was the most amazing experience of my life would be unfair. Because even words like that don’t do it justice. You invited me to the most private, intimate, and at times VERY INTIMATE day of your life, and I don’t even know how to thank you. To see you turn into someone’s mommy has been the most indescribable journey ever. When you told me you were pregnant, I wanted to build a cage around you and stand guard so that no one would hurt you….or her. I watched you in Mexico like a protective mother hen and wanted to stab the woman who was responsible for ruining your guacamole. I have watched you grow into a mommy to be with grace, like I knew you would. And in the recent weeks, I have been a wreck not even wanting to talk about how nervous I was that I wouldn’t be able to be there for this.
I am loud. I never shut up. I hate hospitals. I am intensely uncomfortable with seeing anyone in pain. And I have a tendency to steal babies. All of these things worried me. You are quiet. Reserved. Controlled. Married to a doctor, who seems oddly comfortable in intense and a little horrifying medical situations. I wondered if I would drive you crazy. I wondered if you would throw a camera at me. I wanted a safe word. You rolled your eyes at me and told me to “do whatever I wanted.” I promised you I would not take a picture of your lady bits, and I lied. Not on purpose. It just happened.
Your daughter came into this world waving. I’m not being symbolic here. I looked down and a hand was hanging out of you and it waved at me. That’s when the photo happened, and I’m really sorry about that. I am confident something in photoshop can help this find a place somewhere on your wall. Your daughter entered the world just as you enter all of our worlds, quietly, beautifully, without bothering anyone, without asking for anything, and I watched her soak us all in. She waited patiently for you to stop feeling like death. She looked around, with her huge, beautiful “not at all alien like” eyes. She let out only two little cries, to let us know she was ok, and then she fit seamlessly in to your lives as if she had always been there.
Yesterday, I held your head while you brought a human into the world. I saw your husband shed exactly one tear, and fall hopelessly in love with Alice. And today you woke up a mommy. Let’s face it, you probably never slept, and I’m going to be honest here…..I’m kind of excited to see how that plays out my sleepy friend. But nonetheless, you are amazing. And so is she. I look forward to torturing your whole family with my camera forever. And Alice, thanks for being born on a day without prime numbers.