Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Their Names are Always With Me

Their names are always with me; the names of women that I have had to transfer to the hospital while in labor. I have wiped their brows, caressed their cheeks, massaged their backs, shoulders, arms and feet.  I have done countless flights of stair walking with them, lunge walked the hallways with them, supported them through multiple difficult position changes to encourage babies to rotate. I have fed them and made sure they were drinking.  I have shared this most intimate of experiences and forged a bond with them. I have had to look them in the eye and tell them that, in my opinion, the best place for them in that moment was the hospital. To tell them that all their plans and dreams for this birth will need to be drastically altered. I have shared tears with them over this decision, both in the moment and later in postpartum check ups.

This is what we do as midwives; we walk beside our families, holding space, guarding their health and sometimes making difficult and unpopular decisions. It is an extremely heavy responsibility that often feels lighter than it is. However, in these moments, every ounce is felt to the core. Like many midwives, I keep a Birth Log/Journal of all the births I attend and babies I catch.  I also keep a separate journal for these Mama's, their stories and their outcomes. In this way, I can remind myself of their faces and their strength.  I carry them with me always.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

And Then We Had a Picnic...

They were expecting their first baby. Her labor had come on fast and steady, more quickly than most firsts. We had a couple phone calls through the day and each time we spoke, it sounded as though progress was happening rapidly.

She arrived on a cloud of calm.  Glowing in that way, the glow of labor.  We went back to her room and she got settled. Baby sounded wonderful and all was well. Her contractions were strong but becoming less frequent in their pattern.  I did a cervical exam and she was completely dilated! She was concerned that the contractions were slowing down. I explained to her that sometimes women are given a "pause" by their bodies. A little rest after all the work of dilation and before the work of pushing. She thought about this for a moment, smiled and then said "great, let's eat!".  She began to tell some stories about a birth she had been to and other fun little anecdotes.  She was in the birth pool and we all gathered around, spread some food out and all enjoyed a picnic.  She continued to have contractions but they were relatively mild and still pretty spaced out.

Then about 2 hours after arriving, and after enjoying her picnic, she started to grunt. The contractions became stronger and closer together. Her body had decided that the time was now right and that the baby could make its appearance. She gracefully worked through pushing and brought her sweet little one Earthside, surrounded by peace and love.