Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In which I briefly discuss a very non-brief birth

I'm just back from attending a birth; I am very tired but I want to get this out.

Leigh told me I will learn something from each birth I attend, and to write it down fast after the birth otherwise I'll forget. So here goes: I learned patience and trust.

This birth was long. Not totally-outside-the-realm-of-normal long, more like the kind of long that as a doula you hope your client doesn't have, because you'll be gone so long that your kids will forget your name and you'll forget your own phone number, not to mention go into credit card debt paying the babysitters. It was that kind of long.

This client wanted to stay home. She didn't want a home birth, but she is a very natural-minded person who had no interest in labor augmentation, pain medication, or intervention.

So we stayed home.

Honestly, part of me was dying to "do" something -- listen to the baby with a fetoscope, get mom's blood pressure, something. But I purposely didn't bring anything with me, because it wasn't my role. I was just there to support.

The dad very strongly believed that his wife could do it. She believed she could do it, but she had moments of doubt, as most laboring women do, and moments of realization that she'd been awake for 48 hours and contracting every 5 minutes of those 48 hours and was very very tired. But he was a real rock for her. Sometimes she would say, "Let's go to the hospital," and he would gently tell her that going to the hospital wouldn't change anything (a concept that is completely foreign to most women. Or, as Leigh says, "They don't have any magical baby machines in the hospital.") I agreed, but it was still hard for me, especially as I became increasingly tired.

But we stayed home -- not until the last possible second, not so long that there was a chance she'd have a car-birth -- but long enough so that I had watched her body go from closed to open, and her baby from high to low, without any assistance, and it was incredible. It was amazing.


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