As gratuitous pictures of oneself remain a constant of 21st century life and "selfie" a vocabulary word, I thought I'd share some beautiful (although perhaps graphic) photos of the first seconds of life. During my obstetrical rotation in nursing school I was witness to the birth of seven babies, both vaginal and c-section deliveries. The very first section I saw was unplanned; the mother was wheeled into the OR after hours of pushing, strapped down, medicated with anesthesia while I'm wondering how every moment in both of our lives had led us to this sterile alabaster icebox. As she began to vomit, I wiped her face and told her she was the bravest woman I had ever met, that her husband would be allowed to see her shortly and that the only way I was leaving her side was with a police escort. We were two strangers sharing this intensely intimate moment completely lost in time.

When things started really rolling I was told by the RN to get up against the wall and not faint. I'll spare you the details of the crowbar and the organs and the blood. I was at the foot of the bed when the OB pulled out the baby. Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman" was playing as she took her first breath of air. I saw this new life before her mother did. And then if you know me, I did the most predictable thing. I cried.

Life is messy, it starts out really messy, but I think these pictures are beautiful. They remind me that in one moment everything can change, and to practice gratitude along the ride.

Be well and Happy New Year, #lenthern