In the end, what I appreciated most about Cady wasn't her command of the information, which was excellent. It wasn't the answers and solutions she provided, which were always prompt and thoughtful, at all hours and regardless of how silly the initial question. It wasn't her poise, creativity, and generally comforting demeanor. It was that, in the hardest moments of a rather unpleasant hospital experience, she made it absolutely clear that she was there for my wife. Not for me, though Cady was encouraging of my supportive role. Not for us, as a couple, though she knew when to give us space. And not for the baby, beautiful and charming though he is. But for my wife, who couldn't possibly have made it through 75 hours of at times agonizing pain without the kind of single-minded devotion and care she received from her doula. Thinking back on the entire process, I am convinced that the preparation counted for relatively little, and that the outcome of each individual decision and conflict was largely outside of our control. What mattered was that, for better or worse, my wife knew, even and especially when she could barely open her eyes or articulate intelligible sentences, that she was loved and accepted and safe. I could have told her those things, and did. But after three sleepless days and nights, I had neither the energy nor the clarity to make that presence felt. At least, not until Cady arrived. That was when I, too, knew that everything was going to be alright.
September 23, 2021