This birth had me on my toes for quite some time! Mama had so much prodromal labor, we were sure baby would come in June, but July was the lucky month after all. There was one night in particular after spending 15ish hours at another birth, I thought I would miss this one if I drove home instead of to this mama's house. But alas, baby gave us some time (thankfully for my stamina!)
I am so glad I was able to attend this birth, it was profound and left such an impact on me.
Two days after that false alarm, I got an early morning text- this was it! Her birth team was assembling, and as the sun rose that morning so did mama's power. We gathered in her home, all was still and quiet. Her other kids got settled with caregivers, her doula braided her hair and they began their dance together that would flow and ebb and twirl all day long.
Mama's breathe set the tone, slow and quiet and easy. The light peeked through the blinds, softly and gently as the day began. I took a short nap on the couch, and we all rested in the silence that mama emanated.
Mama was afraid this was another false alarm, but her contractions didn't fade, and she decided to head to the hospital.
When her doula and I arrived we spotted her carrying her birth ball across the parking lot, and her doula rushed over to assist laughing at the scene. We spent some time in the waiting room, and then mama spent some time in triage.
When we all met up again mama was settling into her room. She took a relaxing warm bath, with some super neat wireless waterproof monitors. Doula lined the tub with candles, and everyone got a little giddy. Mama was super far along in her labor, if I remember right it was around 7cm. Yet she was laughing, talking through contractions for a bit, strong and energetic. We were amazed! Her body was handling it all beautifully. Another VBAC victory dance.
Mama got out and all cozied up in some blankets when we couldn't locate towels, and used breath and movement to move baby down and labor along. She was connected to her doula so deeply, they rocked together, moved together, breathed together. They mirrored one another. They met in doula training classes that they had taken together, and were the perfect team.
I was so impressed with the resources for natural birth here, despite being in a hospital environment. They didn't overfill the room with staff, they had booklets on different positions to labor and birth in. They had birth balls, and peanuts, and birthing stools - which everyone tried out haha! They also made use of the birth bar thats attatched to hospital beds. The staff seemed very supportive of her natural birth desires, and offered any support she needed.
Her other births had been fairly quick, and her baby was very low. Because of how her body births, and other details, we all suspected that as soon as her waters broke he would be here! That was definitly spot on.
Soon the laughter died down, we admired contraction patterns, unique and beautiful to her way of birthing. She would have several strong contractions in a row, and then her body would give her a long rest before they would come again. It was beautifully instinctual, proof that our bodies often know best when it comes to these things. She got quiet, and internalized- exactly what a birthing women needs. To let your body take over in these moments, to get out of your head space and into your instincts is the way through.
When the well meaning giggles and excitement of the birth team got a bit much for her, she took some space with her doula and retreated into the rooms spacious bathroom. We respected her space and waited. We picked up the fresh fruit we had spilled (farm picked blueberries!) and quietly listened for what was coming. When suddenly, the silence was broken with a huge loud noise!
My heart stopped! It sounded like someone falling and smacking the floor hard!
But alas, all was well, it had been the sound of her waters breaking- the force of life rushing out! What a beautiful memory it is!
We rushed to help, and mama and doula rushed out, moments later she was on the bed, on hands and knees- unable to answer questions- baby was definitely coming. She was ready, steady, strong.
Nurses were supportive, waiting on the dr, encouraging mama. We had a bit of a hiccup as dr wanted her on her back "in case of distocia" which the nurses questioned as all of her babies had been small and there was no history of it. Her doula spoke up and repeated mamas labor wishes. (to avoid back labor and birthing, to prevent tearing and respect mamas instincts) Dr agreed to meet them half way and helped move mama to her side.
Baby was born seconds later, with a rush of fluid into a room of strong feminine energy. The joy was thick and tangible.
There were so many moments, the doula reassuring mama that she could do it when she gave her that look. Baby being placed on her chest. The tears I sobbed behind my camera. For some reason, this birth got me more emotional then any other one has. Perhaps it was the friendship I had with mama, or the incredible empowerment of an all women birth team. It was pure magic.
Everything after was slow and steady. There was the bustle of checking baby over, and pampering mama. Doula continued to be a rock of support as she held mamas hand during uterus checks and stitching.
Soon, everyone left and mama was alone with baby and her team. We all fawned and the oxytocin vibes were so strong. We fed mama peanut butter crackers and blueberries, it was so funny how she craved peanut butter before at the beginning of labor and again after birth. All those first details, nursing moments, baby measurements. It was just a happy happy birth day. Almost perfect.
I love that dad's get to be a part of birth so much these days, but I have to say there was definitely something to the old traditions of centering birth and birth care around women. It was so unique being in this space, watching mother loved on and cared for by other women. It was strong, and amazing, and completely unforgettable.