Monday, June 10, 2013

Baby T And The Soaked Dress

Me and Baby T
 Baby T

I can hardly believe that this was my 20th birth to attend as a student midwife. My how time has flown by!

I was privileged to be a part of the team from day one. This Mama is smart, well informed, highly educated, fearless and a lovely young woman. She was serious about providing the very best for her baby from day one. She ate well and took such good care of herself. For her, this would be her first baby.

My weekend was packed full. Our youngest son was graduating from high school, all of our children were planning on coming to town, all but one of my grandbabies, a special worship service and hosting an open house with over 200 people. Baby T’s Mama was not far from my mind.

At 8:15 when our last guests had left we all sat down to enjoy some down time, the exhaustion hit me. Michael had left the house with my keys by accident so I was just going to lie down on the couch till he got back. He and his buddies were going to do a bon-fire and needed smores so it was going to be just a short run.

Just a few minutes later I got the call. Mama was in labor! I had no car and no keys!  The adrenalin kicked in and I was no longer exhausted, I was ready to jump in the car as soon as Michael got back.

Mama is almost an hour away for me so Courtney got there well before I did. She had already checked Mama and determined there wasn’t a whole lot going on. When I got there a bunch of their friends were all just enjoying being together, watching a movie. I was asked to check her and afterwards I laid out her options. She was in early labor so she could just go back to enjoying her friends and we could come back tomorrow when things had picked up. I explained the more people in her space the longer the labor. Courtney and Wendy had figured out that for every person you extra add an hour to the birth. When you have five or six extra people that is a whole lot of extra hours of labor. Either way was fine with us. Our job is to lie out the options for Mom and let her decide.

Mama was ready to get the show on the road. She wanted to have her baby now and would save the party for after the birth. Dad explained the decision with their friends and everyone said their good-byes. We wanted Mama to rest and so we tucked her in with instructions and Courtney and I went to sleep in another room.

In less than two hours the pace started to pick up. Mama had gotten into the “zone”. She was totally focused on her labor and nothing else mattered. It is amazing how quickly a birth can go when Mama can just focus on her and the baby. I describe labor as a dance between Mama and baby. If Mama works with the baby and not against things go so much better.

It was time to fill up the birth top and get the show on the road. Wendy had another Mama in labor so it was decided that Wendy needed to sleep as long as she could so she would be fresh for the actual birth. We would update her so she knew what was happening. Mama labored just like I thought she would, fearless and on the top of her game! We did counter pressure for both her head and her hips. Everyone tells us that alone was worth the price of admission. It can literally take 50-75% of the pain away just by giving counter pressure.

With each contraction the baby moved farther down. Dad was fabulous, encouraging her and helping work through each contraction.  It was a pretty quiet labor.  By this point Wendy had gotten enough rest so she was now with us. Mama started to feel pressure, which was great. Her water had not broken yet so the pressure was due in large part to the water bag bulging.

Mama started pushing when she felt the urge. We tried several positions. I was still in my dress from church and leaning over from my waist up into the tub giving support to the perineum so she wouldn’t tear. After each push we would encourage Mama to take a break and rest for a minute. My sleeves were rolled up to my elbow but water just got inside and drained down my dress. I couldn’t sit up fully during the minute rest or I would drench her carpet.

For part of the pushing phase she would grab my fingers to hold on. Did I mention this woman is strong normally but women get super strength when they are in labor and her grip was amazing. At one point my wrist was bent back so far back I thought it would break so I mentally prepared myself for the breaking. I told myself to not make one sound. After the birth it could be fixed! I laugh now as I think of that scene. At another point Mama had my second and fourth fingers but they were being pulled in opposite directions. Again I told myself a broken finger is worth it so when it happens just to suck it up and keep working.

Wendy was on the other side of the tub and could apparently read pain on my face. She thought I was pressing too hard on her perineum and couldn’t understand my lip reading. NO I was not pushing her perineum my fingers and wrist were being moved into unnatural ways. Later, we laughed about it.

Labor and birthing become very intimate. There is so much going on emotionally for Mama. It is an experience like no other. I tend to have a more motherly approach (imagine that) and I think the Mama’s can sense that. This Mama was just letting me hold her and rub her back or head when she was resting. There becomes a bond that is just hard to explain.

At this particular birth every bone in my body was working for this Mama. By this point I was soaked to my skin and the adrenalin was pumping wildly through my veins. Each push got her closer to holding this precious baby in her arms. Closer and closer, the final pushes came on her back in the water with Courtney holding one leg and Wendy the other. Into my hands came this beautiful little baby girl. I slowly brought her up and put her on Mama’s chest. We all rubbed the baby and she pinked right up and gave her first little cry.

With that, I let go and for the first time in several hours sat back on my heels and just watched this beautiful miracle of Mama and baby seeing each other for the very first time. Dad was wildly excited and was just amazed. Mama was so beautiful and calm, tenderly touching her baby for the very first time.

After a few minutes I had to get up and get out of the room. I quietly went into the bathroom and just sobbed. I was so thankful that Mama and baby were together and that it was over. Rarely do I cry let alone sob. I just could not help myself.  I was so very thankful for this beautiful baby. I was so proud of Mama and the amazing work she had done to bring this baby out. All of her hard work had paid off.  Wendy had come in and just put her arm around me and let me cry it out. I quickly wiped my tears and went back in with a huge smile on my face.

Mama decided to deliver the placenta on the bed instead of in the water. It is somewhat of a tricky thing to move baby and Mama while still attached from the tub and into the bed down the hall. When the cord stopped pulsing the placenta was delivered and Dad cut the cord. By this point Mama is really uncomfortable again and needs to get up and use the restroom. I go with her and stand in front of her with her head on my stomach rubbing her back. Come to find out that is a normal thing to happen. She passed a blood clot and instantly felt better. I got her back in bed reunited with baby girl.

Courtney did the newborn screen and all was well. Later we tucked Mama, baby and Dad into bed, turned out the lights and closed the door. It was time for a much needed rest.

Wendy had a doula birth to attend so we didn’t do our normal breakfast together. Courtney and I went out to an I-hop and relived the labor and birth. I was still in my beautiful long silky dress now drenched in everything birth.

After out tummies were full it was time to go home. Imagine, Courtney did not want to give me a hug! I on the other hand couldn’t wait to get out of the dress I had been in for over 30 hours! After a hot shower I was tucked into bed knowing that not far from me was an amazing Mama, Dad and baby starting on their life journey together. I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

I pray this baby girl grows up to be a joyful, thankful and loving daughter to the most amazing Mama! She deserves it.

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

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