Continued from "I Was Called To Birth Work"
When I walked in the door after being gone for less than 2 hours I looked liked I’d been put through the ringer. I flopped down on the couch and said, “I am NEVER doing that shit again!” Jerry Patterson encouraged and insisted that I do at least 5 births before I made a decision and I thought he was insane. So, imagine how freaked out I was when the phone rang 15 minutes later and I was asked to go to “The Birth Cottage” to attend my second birth!!!! I hung up the phone and my eyes filled with tears but, I made a commitment so I dragged myself back out to that beat up blue, Ford Bronco and SLOWLY headed for the Birth Cottage. I shut off the truck, opened the door and slid out. I took a long, slow deep breath of autumn air, picked my head up and walked to the door. I had a horrific image in my mind of what I would see, hear and SMELL when I walked in and holy shit…. Was I surprised!
As I pushed the door open, the gentle smell of lavender and mint caressed my nose. The air was heavy and light at the same time. I felt warm but could sense a cool breeze. I listened for screaming and cursing and instead heard the flow of running water. I followed the sound and found myself entering a beautiful bedroom complete with hardwood floors, a four-poster queen sized bed and strong feminine décor. I was greeted by a huge smile and a hug from Laura (the nurse) who was bringing towels into the bathroom. I introduced myself and she had me follow her into the bathroom. The expectant mom was just getting settled in the tub and her husband was turning off the faucet. The lights were dim and the music was soft. Laura put the towels down and slid a short stool to the side of the tub and had XXXX (the dad) sit beside his wife. XXXX (the mom) was relaxed and peaceful and looked at her husband with love and adoration. They were a team. In life, in love and in birth, a competent and capable team! The romance in that room was over powering and Laura and I stepped back towards the door to give them some space. Between contractions XXXX poured cups of warm water over XXXX’s belly which stuck out of the water and when she contracted, he followed and mimicked her breathing patterns. It was magnificent to watch and I felt honored to be there. Quite a bit different than my first experience, earlier that day….
About an hour passed and her breathing became more labored and more vocal. Mom wanted to get out of the tub and the midwife encouraged her to trust that instinct. XXXX helped his wife out and held her while Laura toweled her off and wrapped her in a blanket. The team made their way to the bed and climbed in together. Her confidence was amazing to me. She knew exactly what was happening. She wasn’t afraid. She embraced every moment of it as if the labor was the baby itself. Her husband met her every need both emotionally and physically.
XXXX’s legs began to tremble and her husband asked if she was cold. She shook her head no and the midwife with an innate wisdom smiled and explained that it was a normal part of labor and a good indication that she was making process. Mom changed positions and was now on hands and knees. She labored in that position for about a half hour with dad massaging her and offering her sips of water. With hours of labor behind her and all the support she could want, XXXX looked up and said, “POOP! I HAVE TO POOP!” The midwife encouraged her once again to trust her instinct and bear down. Dad was beaming with pride as his precious wife worked to birth their first child. I was mesmerized by what I was watching. I couldn’t look away. She was exhausted but had all the strength in the world. She was vulnerable and powerful at the same time. XXXX switched to a side lying position and with her next contraction, while she was pushing, she put her fingers inside her vagina. Her eyes opened wide and she said, “the baby’s head. I feel the baby’s head!” When the contraction ended her eyes went directly to her husband and she took his hand. She brought his fingers to the opening of her vagina and made him feel the baby also. As he did, they both began to cry. Within a few pushes, the baby was crowning and not long after that, Dad was guiding the body of his son out of his wife and presenting him to his mother, his strong, competent, phenomenal mother. They cried and cried as they held each other and met their baby. They became a family that night and all was right in the world.
Hmmm… maybe I can do this after all. I have seen birth the way it is intended to be and the way it is NOT intended to be. I learned lessons during those two births that remain with me today.