Friday, November 26, 2010

Divinity in the Room

To be with birth is to be with Divinity. To hold this sacred space and to welcome this new soul to the world is a true blessing. I have a belief that if every adult human could be present for a healthy, supported and planned natural birth, we could be many steps closer to peace. Is it possible to sit in that space and not recognize the glory, honor, courage, compassion and integrity of each precious being, both old and new? Perhaps, since I come from a personal background of a deep faith, this belief is pre-disposed in me. But I find it hard to believe that a person could be in that space and not be moved on some level......

The Divinity of a partner offering love and support through the wiping of a brow with a cool towel and gentle touches. The Divinity of supporters joining in the woman's birth song to lend her strength. The Divinity of the "second wind"; that well of fortitude that a woman is somehow miraculously able to dip from when she has exhausted all other energy sources. The Divinity of the power that can pour out of a woman's head, heart, muscles and very soul as she works to birth....

The Divinity that I have felt, moving through my heart and hands at birth. Honestly, I have been taught such humility in response. I have, in times of great stress and need, felt the support of Divinity working through breathe and massage and speak life into a tiny little baby...a deep knowing of when to stop "pushing" a woman and her baby....a sudden need to have a woman get out of the water, for no apparent reason, but then to have the reason become clear. In these circumstances, I truly feel unable to take full credit for these actions. Yes, I have trained and observed and prepared for these situations, but ultimately, they are not completely in my control....this has been a hard lesson and one that I will most likely be continually working on. I must constantly be on the lookout...the often spoken of 'eyes of a hawk', and open to the power of the mother and the power of Divinity.....

Monday, November 15, 2010

careful what you ask for

So...if anyone actually reads this will remember that recently I have been complaining about not catching any babies recently. Well, I should have known better.....last shift was literally busy with mama's for 24 hours! I was able to help three Mama's have thier little ones....two girls and a boy. Also, I was with a sweet mama who ended uo having to go to the hosoital after a long, long journey.

And actually...I was loving all of it....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

a long time coming, part 2

Please be sure to scroll down and read part 1 before starting part 2

OK, here I sit, ready to attempt to finish this story. Armed with coffee and a scone...I need comfort for this one.

I made my way back to Dad and little baby girl. On the walk over, I had tried to pull myself together, I didn't want to be a mess for the Dad. Baby girl was doing great, sleeping on Daddy. I did my best to explain to him what had happened. He was understandably upset, but soothed by the fact that she had been stable and resting when I left. We loaded baby into her car seat, gathered some stuff in a diaper bag and started the walk over to the hospital.

My phone rang and for some reason, it made my heart sink. I answered it and a voice I didn't know was on the other end....a nurse from the hospital...very urgently telling me that the husband needs to be there now! I turn to him, there holding his new daughter and worried for his wife, to tell him this. How do you do that? How do you tell someone this kind of news? How in a way to offer support and not crush? I cannot remember exactly what I said to him, but I remember him asking me what was wrong, what was going on? All I could tell him was that I didn't know and that we should hurry.

By the time we got to the hospital, she was back in the operating room. Dad, baby and I went to the waiting room and waited and agonized and waited. We held hands, we held baby, we held our seemed and eternity. Finally, the doc came for us....Mama was ok, she had lost a lot of blood, had transfusions, but was stable now and in the ICU. We rushed to where she was. She was so, so pale...but, thankfully alive and even awake. I will never forget the looks on her and her husbands faces as we entered the room. It was one of those times where you feel like an intruder in the intimacy. Somehow, I mangaed to talk the ICU nurse into letting me unwrap baby and put her skin to skin on Mama's chest...that was magical and mama was so relieved. Shortly after that, I had to leave. Other family members had arrived to help give support and I was just about at my limit.

When I got back to the center, I basically collapsed. The adrenaline that had been keeping me going wore off and I just folded into the floor. What had happened? Why did this happen? What could I have done differently? What sign did I miss? Had I done enough for them...could I have been more? It has taken a while for me to fully process this birth...and truthfully it is something that I still have to work on. Mama did recover, it took a long time, but she did. In the end, it was discovered that she had a placental implantation problem, placenta increta. There was nothing that could have been done to prevent her outcome, it is an extremely rare case. She is truly lucky to be alive. Eventually, she had to have a hysterectomy as her placenta had taken over the uterus. I try to focus on the fact that she is alive, that her husband still has his wife and that her daughter will grow up with a mother. Despite knowing the facts, I still am haunted by this experience and still struggle with doubt. I also try to focus on and remember that the birth had been beautiful, that she was blessed with that experince and will always have those memories....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

a long time coming, part 1

I have been trying to write this for a long time, and am just now feeling able. This birth story is from a while ago, and was during my intense time of trial by fire earlier this year.

The labor was amazing. A beautiful primip, working in harmony with her body. A loving, supportive husband, present in the moments. The birth was sweet, a lovely little dark haired girl welcomed into the world with trust and love. Enjoying the time of golden bliss and a babe who latched herself to her Mamma's breast. It is after these births that I just want the placenta to come on out, so I can exit the room and leave this new family to themselves. To explore this new creature and count all the fingers and toes, marvel at the smell of the head and just get to know each other in private.

Unfortunately this placenta had other thoughts. I was watching closely for the signs of placental separation and could find none. No lengthening of the cord, no little gush of blood, no change in uterine shape and Mamma had no cramps...not even after a lovely nursing babe. I gave her some medicine and asked her to close her eyes, breathe deeply, relax and talk to her placenta. It had done an amazing job and helped nurture and create this beautiful baby girl, but now its job was done and it was time to let go. Still nothing. I used my finger to follow the cord up through the vagina and to the cervix, to feel if the placenta was there.....nothing. Next, I tried some light downward cord traction, again nothing. During all this, Mama and baby are doing great. However, now we are 30 minutes out from the birth and this third stage has veered off the course of normal. I make the decision to transfer to the hospital. We are sad to do this...Mama will be separated from babe and Dad, but it is needed......

During the whole time to call the ambulance, get loaded up, the trip over to the hospital and getting in to her room, mama was great. The doc came in and evaluated her, the decision was made to attempt a manual removal of the placenta. This tough, tough Mama decided not to go to the operating room for sedation during the procedure and opted for IV pain medication, in the hopes that this would be quick and she could get back over with her husband and baby sooner. Everything is ready, all the personnel are present and the manual removal is attempted. I am with the Mama, by her head, explaining everything to her and giving her support. It is difficult to convey what happened after this...many things happened at once...when the doc attempted to get the placenta, it did not want to come and there was a lot of blood, followed by more blood and still more. I stayed with Mama, talking softly into her ear, reminding her of her gorgeous little girl, telling her she would be ok, that she was well taken care of...which she was. This went on for what seemed an eternity and through the amazing work of the doc and nurses, Mama was stabilized. During all of this, Dad was back with baby, wondering what was going on with his wife. As soon as I could, I called and updated everyone and then headed over to meet them. The plan was to get Dad and baby and bring them over to Mama, who would need to recover at the hospital. Plans don't always go as we would like...

As I am sitting here and writing this story, tears are streaming down my checks and I must take a break before I can finish the telling. I apologize for the two part post, but I must...

Thursday, November 4, 2010


So, another shift with no babies..hopefully I will be getting slammed on my next one....within reason please. I did however, get a lot of phone calls throughout the babies + much disturbed sleep = cranky midwife!