My Laotian mother was the only person who didn’t have to be in the hospital room that day. My goodness, this was her first grandchild and she had called me every. day. to remind me she had her bags packed since my due date, “How you feeling? When you water broke?” It finally broke at 41 weeks and 3 days and my family drove the two hours to my hospital. Since my husband and my doula were the obvious mainstays, my mother was like Charlie Bucket with a golden ticket because I only allowed her out of my five family members to help pop the baby out! When my mother joins my little birthing team, I had just begun pushing by squatting beside the bed and visualizing my baby (The Natural Childbirth educator would’ve been oh-so-proud!).
I’m pushing and grunting with my knees up to my armpits with my husband pacing and my doula holding my hand. The nurses are all up in my grill with their stupid intermittent monitoring device. My midwife checks progress and recommends ideas of positions. I switch positions to the bar squat, side-lying, on all fours and I push so damn hard that, of course, I poop. I was warned that it was normal and in the heat of the moment I honestly didn’t give a shit (no pun intended). Everyone is so nonchalant about it, it’s sweet really then chimes in my Mom. In Lao:
“Mommy told you not to eat anything before… see? I told you.”
Yep, as I’m rolling with the contractions and trying to push out the biggest bowel movement of my entire life, she reminds me of her little fortune cookie advice. She was obviously embarrassed for me or she wouldn’t have berated me for doing what is expected in childbirth, right? Well, this goes on and on:
“What did Mommy tell you? Don’t you remember?”
The more I pooped, the more she kept reminding me! She pretty much kept up with her Lao pep-talk until the baby started crowning then a brand new person was in the room now, so she shut up. In that instant, my mother turned into a grandmother and despite the stereotypical Asian hard exterior, she and I cried when he was put skin-to-skin with me.
Though my mother was the birth poop police, she adored that baby as much as my husband and I did, if not more. She held him as much as she could before the evening turned into a late night. She spoke to him in Lao as much as she could. She gave him his first at-home bath because I didn’t know what the hell to do. She may have sucked at being a birth doula but she is one awesome Laotian grandma.