L and D, you are a wonderfully delightful couple! Your beautiful daughter is so lucky to have such amazing parents. Your journey began long before your daughter's birth day and, on that journey, you made so many amazing choices.
You chose to take an independent childbirth class, to hire a doula, to attend the play "Birth", to interview midwives, and to change your care from a hospital-based midwife to a birth center midwife.
Early on, you called to let me know that your water had broken in the early hours of the morning. You were patiently waiting for your contractions to begin and, in the mean time, you went for a walk and carried on as normal.
In the afternoon, you went to visit your midwife, who prescribed Cotton Root Bark to hopefully establish some contractions. Around 3 in the afternoon, you called to find out my thoughts on it. I reminded you to let your body start labor when it was ready, to not worry, and to take the cotton root if you felt comfortable with it.
Around 6:30pm, you called discouraged and worried. You were still not feeling much in the way of labor and talked about the use of castor oil. We also talked about the fact that, though your midwife was comfortable waiting on labor, her back-up OB wasn't. I knew, in my heart, that your body was in protection mode. I encouraged you to go on a date with D, forget about what your body 'should be doing', and allow it to start in it's own time.
At 11:40 that evening, I received the call that you were heading to the birthing center, your labor pattern was well established and you were in good spirits.
I arrived at the birth center within 40 minutes and found you in the bathroom, nauseous, and working through a strong labor pattern about 4-5 minutes apart.
You came from the bathroom and sat on the ball, which was at the foot of the bed, rocking through contractions, moving your hips in a figure 8, and grasping the hands of whomever was nearest to you. D held your hands most often, praying with you, brushing the hair back from your eyes, and whispering strength and encouragement to you.
At this point, everyone attempted a short nap, with you on the ball, D holding your hands while lying on the bed, and Jackie and I sitting up.
It was not long before you were active again, moving through your contractions and beginning to vocalize in deep hums and open 'aaah's. You asked for D to play for you and he brought out his guitar, weaving beautiful melodies throughout the room. You both sand a duet - L in the melody of birth, and D, in the melody of praise.
When the contractions truly began to come on you with insistence, you walked for a short bit, tried sitting on bed, but ultimately moved back to the ball after a short trip to the bathroom. You asked for a bath, which we drew for you, and soon you were lowering your beautifully ripe belly into the warm waters of the birthing pool.
You stayed in frog squat/kneel mostly, although sometimes you moved to all fours. Blissfully, you and D were both able to rest for short periods, and your body continued working toward the moment of birth.
At some point in the early hours of morning, before the sun rose, you chose to try resting on your side on the bed. You were able to take around an hour rest, slightly sleeping, before it simply was not working anymore. You moved onto your hands and knees and began to feel pushy a short time after that.
Jackie encouraged you to tune into your body and push only when you couldn't not push. You became very introspective at this point, totally tuning the world out and listening to your body. You moved your hips back and forth, side to side, and began lots of loud vocalization. We could all hear the slight push that began to appear at the peaks of some birthing waves. You were not quite ready, though, and chose to return to the warm water of the birthing tub.
Shortly afterward, we started to really hear pushing noises from you for longer durations. You moved to the edge of the bed and squatted... really feel more pressure and starting to 'wish push' with each peak. Jackie reminded you again to conserve your energy until you had no choice but to push. Like magic, within the next two contractions, your pushing changed, your body had taken the reigns and you were submitting to the power of bring your baby forth.
Jackie dropped a mirror under your bottom and we saw your babies head. You saw your babies head! You touched your baby and sighed, you were almost there! You were getting very tired from squatting and we suggested other positions. You climbed onto the bed and moved to your side. D laid at your head and continued to love on you, bringing you the support that only a lover can.
While I held your high leg with my left arm and the video camera with my right, your baby quickly began to crown. Jackie placed her hands gently on your babies head and you vocalized through the next contraction as your babies head slowly and gently eased out. The shoulders began to slip free and Jackie told you to reach down and take your baby. Baby continued to emerge slowly and again Jackie told you to reach down and take your baby. Your eyes were clenched tight and I don't think you knew she was almost here. So I loudly called you by name and said "L, reach down and catch your baby!"
Your eyes popped over, you cooed 'oooh!', broke into a smile, and took your baby by the arms, lifting her out of your body and into your loving embrace.
Beautiful family P! What a blessed event! The laughter in that room, the joy and triumph, love and peace! It was an honor to attend you during the birth of your beautiful baby girl!
Welcome baby Melissa. Born at 8:05am, 7 lbs, 2 oz, 20 inches long into the loving arms of her mama.