I completely missed it. I passed the six hundred and fifty baby mark a while ago, but didn't stop to think about how many babies that REALLY is... Well, they're not all babies now. Many are heading off to high school or university, but close to 70 wee ones are still waiting for their first birthday.
Photos arrive as each baby reaches his or her birthdays. Christmas cards arrive showing long-limbed children I hardly recognise. But I never forget a birth. Those flashbulb moments remain strong in my memory.
I can see one woman cry out, "I can't do it any longer!" I rub her back, and say, "You ARE doing it!" And she replies, "No, I mean, he's passed out and I can't hold him any longer!" Her dear husband fainted while we'd been in the middle of an earthquake, and she had been holding him and pushing at the same time.
I can see another woman roaming Queen Elizabeth Park, squatting by trees, waiting for her husband to return from his final immigration hearing. I can see him running across the park towards us, calling, "I will be Canadian!"
I see myself in the backseat of a mini, holding a labouring woman, on the hottest day of the year. Her partner is driving us through the blistering streets. We pull up alongside a throbbing car. The man calls out, "Are you all weird or are you in labour?" We laugh.
I see another woman hold open her oven door to check on the roast beef. In between contractions, she prepares Sunday dinner. We are told we can't leave for the hospital until we have all eaten. Yorkshire pudding and gravy included. The baby arrives 15 minutes after we step into the birthing room.
I see another woman, deep in labour, smiling as her contraction ends. "I love the breaks - they're just like the best cup of tea!" Her husband flies through the door, stripping off his clothes. "I fell through the ice!" he exclaims. (Long story)
These are only five moments out of the thousands of moments remembered. Thank you for letting me be a witness to these births, and one of the guardians of these memories.