Friday, April 12, 2013

Precious BABY Q In a Wild Car Ride

Let me paint the picture for you. I get to my clients home in downtown Detroit around midnight. Mama had been so worried about calling me, unsure if she was really in labor. It was obvious talking to her on the phone that she was indeed in active labor. When I got there she was on the bed on hands and knees quietly rocking back and forth. The surges were "only" 40 seconds long but they were right on top of one another. Their dog Walter knew something was wrong and he was hyper, jumping on the bed and trying to nestle himself under Mama. He wouldn't last long in that position and then would come over to me while I am doing hip compressions and lick my face, my ears and my neck. Walter slobber in the middle of surges is almost funny! FYI this is a HUGE dog, probably 100 pounds of pure muscle.

Six months earlier I had gotten a call from Baby Q's parents searching for the doula that would be a perfect fit. We met at a coffee shop half way between our houses. I loved them when I first met them. We had so much in common. They had formed a non-profit helping the homeless. They had lots of questions and it wasn't long before we all figured out we could work so well together. They had wanted a woman of faith who would pray over them during labor and delivery and speak God's word during this monumental time of their lives. It was a perfect fit.  In the early months she would call once a month and talk about her doctors appointments and all the progress. We met again a month ago in their very cool and very old brownstone home going over their birth plan.  They had taken the class in Hypno-birthing and showed me how they planned on working together through labor using this method.  I was so excited for them.

So back to labor. Mama was nauseated so I went with her and rubbed her back when she puked, put peppermint essential oil on her temples to help her overcome the nausea. I had started a pot of herbs to help after delivery though it probably took 15 or 20 minutes to get it on the stove since there was almost no breaks in surges and I didn't want to leave her side.  When it was obvious these surges were staying steady at two minutes apart we decided it was time to go to the local birthing center. How do you get a Mama who is having surges less than 2 minutes apart feeling definite pressure down two complete flight of stairs and out into a very small Hyundai Accent?  One surge at a time.

Helping her get in was actually easier than getting her back out. We all decided Dad should drive so I could be in back with her. We had talked about having to deliver on the side of the road if necessary and I assured them I would be more than capable of handling things if we needed to. I always carry my emergency birth kit with me so I was prepared.

The car was unmerciful for poor Mama. She leaned into me and I did constant head squeezes using both hands, one on her forehead and one on the base of her neck. The roads in Detroit are terrible this time of year. Every single pot hole we found and towards the end of the ride she almost couldn't take anymore. I would say things like, okay, we are off the freeway now. Then, I see the hospital, I see the emergency room, one more bump and we will be there.  Later I told them I sure was sorry that I had not brought my Cadillac! LOL

Getting her out was a challenge. She was frozen and stuck. I essentially lifted her out with Dad coming from the other side of the car to help with momentum. The wheelchair was ready and off they went while I went to park the car and carry everything including a crock pot into the hospital. I had heard wonderful things about this birth center, which is connected to the hospital. I walk into this beautiful room with a huge jacuzzi made for two, a full size regular bed and pretty wood floors. If you are going to have an out of home birth this is the way to do it.

Her mid-wife Sarah was wonderful. There were times we got to talk about her job and how she arrived at the decision to be a midwife. She was so gentle with Mama, telling her, "you are doing beautiful".  Unfortunately the nurse came in at the beginning to ask a ton of questions which were on the paperwork they brought with them and Mama was in no mood to ask questions about the health history of great grand parents! Finally Mom was unable to answer questions and just wanted the nurse to allow her into the tub. I had started the tub for her and by this point it was ready for her but delay after delay prevented her from getting in. I had to use all my doula training to keep her from just getting up and getting in that warm tub!

Once in Mama was able to refocus. Dad got in and we dimmed the lights and turned on some pretty battery powered candles next to the tub, turned on soft music and just relaxed. I sat in the rocker next to them ready to get water or Gatorade or the peppermint to aide the nausea.  It was a wonderful time. Dad was so amazing. He would whisper in her ear helping her relax. Out of all the dad's I have watched he was the most effective in helping his wife. He was so gentle, relaxed and so affirming. I think Dad needs to start teaching other Dad's how to do it because he was a rock star!

Only a few hours went by and Mama was starting to feel the urge to push. Baby had made huge progress coming down into the pelvis. The surges were so strong that I started praying over her aloud and then started sharing scripture to assure that God was with her and was giving her the power to birth this baby.

The birth center doesn't allow water births so she changed to the bed and it wasn't long before Baby Q made her arrival. Watching Dad watch his daughter being born was a wonderful memory I will take away from this birth. He was smiling ear to ear. In fact, Mama turned to him at one point and said, "Wow, your in a good mood" and he shared just how happy he was that his daughter would be in Mama's arms shortly.

There are times when being a part of a birth is so intimate it's scary. BabyQ is one of those births. Watching this couple birth their baby together and to see the love they have for each other is amazing. I truly feel at times that I am standing on holy ground. When it was time for the actual birth I came over to Mama's left side and Dad was on the same side up at her head.  As the baby descended I would tell her when the head crowned, when the head was half way out, aw, "I can see an ear", and then "she has hair,"and then the final, "the head is out". Then the final push and baby is born. Sarah the mid-wife was holding her head when she told Mama to grab her baby and bring her up to her.  What empowering for Mama. She brought that baby up from the birth canal and just cradled her with tears of joy flowing freely throughout the room. Mama kept asking, is she okay, is she okay? To which I said she is just beautiful. She came out of the womb looking like a Gerber baby!  I quickly moved to the other side of the bed and went up to her head and put my hand on baby and with tears flowing I prayed aloud for the amazing miracle of this birth.

The golden hour was sacred. I had taught them about that first hour being golden during her pregnancy and how you want to guard it. The bonding is SO vital the first hour of birth. Skin to skin with Mama and Dad is crucial. Some dads don't feel comfortable but not so with this rock star of a dad. They had done their research and knew what was important and what wasn't.  This birth center allowed them privacey. No one to whisk away a healthy baby to weigh and measure, just time alone with their precious baby girl.

I stayed about four hours after the birth. Helping them get into an herbal bath, getting them food and all the other things that go with a birth. I did what we do at home. I stayed till Mama and baby and Dad were safely tucked back into bed with clean sheets and refreshed Mama and baby. After hugs all around I left feeling so thankful for the opportunity to witness another birth.

I walked out to the car around lunch time, still on adrenalin and just started laughing. Both of my front seats were pulled all the way up with the back of the seats bent over just like we had left them getting Mama out. What a wild ride this had all been.  A ride I will probably never forget!


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".