Remember this disclaimer of my telling birth stories.
A short while ago I saw a mom blissed out on birthing hormones – and it made me feel both lucky to be witness to such a wonderful moment, but also a bit like an intruder in this family’s private moment.
Her labor started with light ‘pressure waves’ (this mom had taken Hypnobabies for her childbirth classes) and some bloody show. She gave me the heads-up earlier in the morning, but I wasn’t called in until 7pm. When I arrived she was on her hands and knees on the bed listening to her hypnobabies CD’s. The room was candlelit – and the air was warm with the scent from the candles. Another pressure wave hit and she breathed deeply through, relaxing her way from one end of the wave to the next before resting and waiting for the next. Dad is by her side, riding the waves with her. This man knows what hard work is as he is a coach and used to encouraging people to do their best.
Baby sounded perfect, so we went about our business quietly and quickly preparing our supplies and equipment to welcome a baby.
Before long mom said she wanted to get into the bathtub. We filled her bath for her which was lined with candles in preparation for her. She got into the tub and as each pressure wave rose within her she would breathe and on the exhale she would say almost like a song, “Release….releeeaaase….releeeaasse….release…release…”. When the wave would end she would smile and float in the tub looking angelic in the candlelight.
And then it came…she announced to the room, “My body’s pushing…” As that one ended she asked her husband to change CD’s to her music CD….and within moments music filled the room. Now…until now we had tried to be shadows in the corner, out of sight and out of the way of this magical moment they had created. When the music started I swear I had to actually consciously fight not to sing along! I loved her choice of music….the perfect balance between peaceful and uplifting!! It’s just an extra treat when I get to be at a birth that has music playing that I actually love! (yep, I’ve had a few in which they played music that makes you say, “HUH? Really? “ Metallica? Christmas music? Rap Music? Yup…I’ve done all of those births.)
She starts pushing – powerful pushes – and we see her efforts as her body begins to blossom open for her baby. In between she smiles….yes, smiles! And looks around in birthing bliss, eyes half closed, happy to be birthing her baby tonight. Her husband is kneeling by her side and holds her hands as she pushing their baby closer….closer…
Baby is crowning, and yet she smiles…and even laughs. She reaches down and feels her baby’s wrinkled head, and she laughs with joy at the touch of his hair. Daddy looks down and sees his son’s head – he doesn’t laugh, it’s much more serious business to him as he realizes he is about to become a dad!
Another wave…and another…more head is showing and baby is fully crowned. Mom still laughs and dad holds her hand, marveling at what she is doing! All of us are smiling- there is no tension, only joy. Mom smiles up at dad and says, “After seeing me do this you can never call me a pussy again!”
She laughs…we all laugh.
I ask this woman laughing while her baby crowns, “Did he really call you that?” She nods, so I say, “After seeing you do this, if he ever calls you that again you just call him your little bitch!”
He looks shocked at me like he can’t believe I just said that! (in more of a surprised look than an offended look) She cracks up laughing hard enough that we could see the head going “bump bump bump” downwards! I wink at him and smile and he smiles back – only half a smile as it’s overwhelming to see your first baby being born into a bathtub!
Another wave and she pushes…and another one and here comes the head! His head slips out into the water and dad is now on his feet, staring in amazement. Mom takes a breath and pushes for the shoulders. As the shoulders come out she reaches down and catches her own baby, lifting him up onto her belly. Seeing the entire baby coming out so quickly makes the dad physically step backward and exclaim, “OH MY GOD!! IT’S THE BABY!!” His eyes are wide with amazement and shock – he didn’t expect the body to come all at once!
The mom pulls baby up and cradles her son in her arms who releases his protest of cries that echo through the bathroom. Dad quickly regains himself and kneels down next to mom to meet his son! He touches him, feeling his warm skin, while mom talks softly, soothingly. They get to know each other in the candlelight of their bathroom – baby was born 11:55pm.
The cord pulsed for this little guy for a full 25 minutes! Pulsed so strongly that we could actually SEE it pulsing! When it was ready, mom birthed her placenta and continued to snuggle her perfect little boy. Eventually, with the placenta in a bowl next to them, we separated baby from the placenta that had sustained him so beautifully.
After baby had his first meal, we weighed him – 8 pounds even and perfect in every way!
I got some good cuddles in during our postpartum visits – mom and baby so wonderfully perfect! As I was writing this blog my husband was playing with our youngest on the floor and said to me, “What is that smile for, Steph? That was really a sweet smile…” How do I explain to him what my job means to me and how it makes my very SOUL smile to witness magical moments such as these?
I guess I’ll just have him read my blog.