Dr. Octavia CannonAfter her first 5,000 babies, she lost count.

Dr. Octavia Cannon has birthed a village, then a town, and is on her way to a small city. She still remembers the first. And the last. And she took an hour or so to talk to me while the next one was on the way (the laboring mother was a sorority sister). I value her time. I admire her work ethic. Talk to her for five minutes and you instantly see how she’s a great OB.

I still think the greatest sense of awe I have ever felt is not seeing stars in the desert or whales in the sea but my own child crowning. Seen it four times firsthand. Never missed one. And I’ve never felt that overwhelming sense that this is a miracle of the universe quite like witnessing childbirth. And when I talk to Dr. Cannon, she just adds to my sense of wonder at the process.

I am blown away how the infant’s head collapses on itself to fit through the birth canal and then reforms like a balloon on the outside. WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED??? You have to see it to believe it. First time fathers can be so disgusted at the process that they pass out. No lie. Or Dr. Cannon has even known a father to have a “code brown.” I shit you not. Ask her. Not me. I found it absolutely amazing.

But the coolest thing ever is what she sees thousands of times and yet still marvels at: on “final approach” the little head rotates like a plane on autopilot, positioning itself for delivery. The child can’t do that. The mother is not doing that. Not consciously anyway. It’s a kind of biophysics. It’s the way things work.

If you are a religious person, it’s the way God made it. If you strictly a person of science, its something akin to the Fibonacci spiral. But if you have any sense of aesthetics, it’s just too friggin cool. It’s right up there with the northern lights and the curl of a perfect surfing wave. It’s utterly beautiful. A miracle of nature. The beginning of a new human, unique in the history of the universe.

Octavia Cannon gets it. She’s seen it a thousand times. Well 5,000. More. It never gets old. The babies have gotten old. Her babies are having babies. But the birthing? Nope. Never gets old.


Dr. Octavia Cannon tells Stuart where babies come from (and a lot more) this Thursday @ManListening #podcast