2.01.2013

Woman's Work

E, it was such an honor to attend you during your birthing time. I met you in a coffee shop and was enthralled with your stories of globe-trotting and world adventures. You were upbeat and joyful, telling me of your plans to 'strap baby on your back and continue your travels'. You were anticipating single-parenting, but that didn't damper your joyful outlook, or your easy-going nature.

On the morning of a doctor's appointment, you texted to let me know he was encouraging you to be induced. We chatted a little about options, including when it might be more 'favorable', when you might want to genuinely consider it, and more gentle encouragement options; I waited to hear from you after your appointment.

Around lunch, you let me know that your cervical check found that you were 5cm and nearly 50% effaced. You had decided on pitocin, and promised to call when you felt regular contractions.

Your mom and you settled into your room, and I busied myself getting ready for your birthing time. After 2 hours, you updated me to let me know that you were  having very mild contractions every 3 minutes but still weren't feeling them. You had your cervix checked and were 'a little more than 5 and 75% effaced, but baby was still high'.

At 1:30, you texted me "Ok, I'm ready to admit that this is really happening, haha. I'm feeling it "

I started right off toward you. Until this point, I was waiting with bated breath, as your mom and grandmother had had speedy births. When I arrived you were doing well, and I encouraged you to get up and move with your contractions.

Your nurse piped up that your doctor 'didn't like birthing balls', but you assured her you had already told him you 'would be using one' - and promptly sat down on my birthing ball with a smile on your face. We talked, kept it light, and moved at your birthing pace. Your mom kept a constant, loving, watch from the chair in the corner of the room.... and I was struck by the joy and love coming from the women in the room. Birthing as a woman's work.

You moved from ball to bathroom, then back to ball, then bed... you preferred to stay upright and I reminded you that those positions that felt more productive and more pressure full were the most productive. You smiled with a sheen to your face - you were happy to make it more productive.

Sometime later, you had your water broken. And then, soon afterward, as I believed you were entering transition and your labor really was working you, you asked your mom to leave the room.

At that point, you were lying down facing me when you mentioned you wanted something for the discomfort. I talked with you about your options, but reminded you that I really thought you were almost done. After weighing the risks and benefits, you chose IV pain medication, knowing that your baby might still be born soon.

Sure enough, an hour later and it was time to push your baby out. You brought him down quickly and birthed him in power. As he was handed to you, you covered him in love and looked admiringly at him. Your work had brought forth a son of beauty.

After taking time to get cleaned up and get initial nursing started, you invited your mom (and sister who was now also waiting in the waiting room) back in to meet your 8.5 lb baby boy. Congratulations globe-trotting mama! May your adventures as a parent be as exciting as your travels. And may your up-and-coming travel partner bring you much joy!

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