Laura, Dumfries VA (1/4)
"I had my first daughter when I was 20. At the time, I was in college but had the luck of being local to my family. When the time came, I moved back with my parents and gave birth at the hospital my mother worked at as a nurse. It was hectic and stressful, and somewhat lacking the glow that the “normal” nuclear family births probably have… mine had the sting – the stain – of being out of wedlock. My mother is a devout Catholic so there’s a certain way you do things and this was not it. I wasn’t with the father anymore by the time I found out I was pregnant so in the birthing room, there was only my mom and my best friend. After I gave birth, there was a lot of tearing. For about an hour I was being tended to and stitched… and stitched… and stitched. Back then – she’s turning 17 soon – they whisked your baby away. There were a lot of babies born on the floor that hour so it took them a while to get to her and clean her off. I didn’t see her for hours. My family was taking pictures of her in the nursery and brought them back to me in my room, telling me she was still screaming. It wasn’t until about nine o’clock that night that I was able to hold her. Everyone had left and I remember holding her and looking down at her face, singing Van Morrison ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ to her. I remember thinking ‘Oh! there you are.’ So… not ideal."