Christmas eve of the oh so famous year we call 2020, we were checking in over face time, calling each family member far and wide since we couldnt spend it with them physically. It was weird, we had awkward conversations, we were lonely and opening presents just wasn't the same. The excitement fizzled quickly and it turned out to be just another night at home. Before bed time we called my husbands little brother and his wife, shared what gifts we opened and she said "oh my gift won't be here till fall 2021" ... uhm wait a second... does this mean what I think it means?
For more than a few months now we were talking about this day, me and my "little sister", about her wanting to become a mama. So when they gave us this exciting news...I could jump out of my skin with excitement for them, I knew just how happy they were to have arrived at this day, to be able to announce this to us.
In the meantime I had registered for a doula certificate course, not knowing when I would get to go into the delivery room, but knowing the passion I had for birth it was something I have wanted to pursue for a long time.
Becoming a doula was a way to frequent this establishment with purpose. Being able to work with mamas to achieve the birth that they dream of, a birth that they are worthy of.
So the news of Em being pregnant came at the perfect time. She has always told me that she wanted birth photos and wanted my presence in the labor room, "apparently I have a chill vibe" *wink wink. But being a doula while doing this, while supporting her made so much more sense. I wouldn't just fill the room, or capture the moments, but I can be usefull. A tool in their birth bag so to speak.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared, full of self doubt, thinking maybe this is not the place, not the person I should be with on this oh so insanely important day.
But we did it, we casually met here and there, I gave her a binder full of information. I knew what her birth desires were and how we can achieve them. We practised labor positions and when they will be most usefull. But nothing really prepares you for the actual day. Babies are unpredictable, they will let you know when they are ready to come earth side and how they will accomplish that, well, lets say they just kind of roll with it and so should you.
Thursday evening Aug 12th 2021, the final episode of SOA. We have been staying up way too late for the past few weeks trying to finish bingeing this show. And so, at 11:21 pm I recieve this text from my brother in law "Have your ringer on, we might be going to the hospital tonight"
Needless to say I saw the ending of this dumb series but something way more interesting was going on in my head.
I revisited books, her birth plan. Checked my camera for memory and battery life "which I have been doing every night for the past week" but checked it again just to be sure. Oh shoot its 11:30... the baby sitter is probably sleeping and my husband has a meeting in the morning... how do we navigate this. I texted her anyway and luckily the kids were covered for the morning.
Who knows how things will progress but I was ready either way. I knew exactly where the hospital was but I punched the address into my gps any ways, gotta be prepared. Double checked my snacks, clean clothes, counter pressure tools, memorized my words of affirmation one more time, showered and went to bed, and managed to turn my ringer "OFF" instead of on since it has been on loud for the past two weeks...
My kid woke me up at 2:20 am ... oh crap, I have 5 messages what did I miss. I scrambled, only to realize all is good. They made it to the hospital and all was well, we still had time to get things moving. I could sleep some more.
At 3:30 her husband called me to say maybe its a good idea to head over, so I grabbed my things, got a coffee and hit the road. It was a 45 min drive to my destination and I didnt want to miss things on account of that.
When I got there the environment was calm. They were watching a show and comfortably laying in bed, soaking in those last me and you snuggles. I suggested we move her into a more labor friendly position, get things moving along since they are already at the hospital. She wanted to sleep, so we simply found a way to position her that is favourable for both labor and rest.
It wasn't long before things picked up. A long bath followed with some more movement and good resting positions. I felt relieved, things were moving along and for some reason whatever I learnt, actually found a home in my brain.
The early morning hours continued as such, movement, change of positions and her labor kept progressing.Things were going well. I kept pausing in admiration as her husband encouraged her in a soft voice, with the most kind and loving words. I could see that he appreciated her with every fibre in his body, that he truly understood the gift she was bringing into their lives. It was so beautiful to see.
7 am August 13th we were met with a coffee, courtesy of Dr. H. There was talk of AROM (Artifical Rupture of Membranes) to speed things along, but baby was still a little too high to accomplish this without risk. So I encouraged her to move some more, find some positions that could work in our favor and it did, 8:30 am came before we knew it and everything changed. Baby was lower, mama was almost fully dilated and her labor was getting more intense.
After a bath, it was time, time to do the last bit of work before getting to hold her, time to make choices that veers off the planned path but ultimately gets you to the same destination. The Epidrual was scratched as things were moving faster than anticipated, just like a marathon Em had to push through the last few miles, the finish line was so close, we could all see it.
A half an hour, 30 minutes of insanely hard work, a half hour of watching a girl grow into a mother. Making choices for not only her own but her child's well being. Choosing to fight, to "push" through till the end, till the moment they go from 2 to 3.
I have been in the labor room before and appreciated the strength that lies within each woman to accomplish this amazing thing. But after learning the why's and what's, it made more sense. The sigh of relief after the birth was so vivid, it was so rewarding, the love that poured from this little girls father in that very moment, priceless.
Gosh, if I didnt have two kids and a plate full, I would probably run back to school and become a midwife.
"My little Sister" is now a Mommy, I can't believe it. I am still coming off of the rush from it all. And already looking forward to the next baby I get to help navigate their way earth side.