The other day I attended a birth.
It was birth number two of three mamas all due within a week of each other.
Yeah, yeah. I know.
Kind of crazy.
As it works out, Mama number 1 goes into labor almost two weeks early. So now I am just waiting for Mama number 2 and Mama number 3. Both of who have various complicated circumstances possibly requiring inductions.
So it is Wednesday and I get a text from Mama number 2: I am here for my check. They are admitting me to start induction tonight.
I can tell M2 is not happy. It is a week before her due date. This is not the way she was hoping it would go.
I text: It is ok. I know it is hard. But try not to worry. We will do everything we can to get things rolling. They will prep you tonight and I will meet you in the morning.
She texts: Ok.
I text: Meanwhile, let’s see if we can get ACUPUNCTURIST to come to the hospital.
M2 texts: YES!
A few phone calls and approvals and we make the arrangements. Acupuncturist will go to the hospital and work on M2!
I text: Woo!
M2 texts: I know!
This is very exciting reader. Acupuncturist has had very good results helping labors get going. Very good.
I text: Ok. Call me if anything starts happening. Meanwhile, rest!
I begin to prepare for the upcoming festivities. I make the necessary calls to get my yoga classes covered. I sit down with the family and go over the next 24 hours with them.
“I do not know how long I will be gone.” I tell them.
And I make sure everyone knows THE SCHEDULE.
So they can DO ALL THE THINGS while I am away.
Morning comes and I wake at 5:30. I look at the phone. Nothing. I think: I will wait until six and then I will call.
Right at six I get a text from M2: I have been having three or four contractions an hour!
I text: Go acupuncture!
She texts: OMG yes!
We make a plan for me to meet her after getting daughter off to school. By the time I am ready to go, I get a text from M2 husband: Contractions four minutes apart.
I text Doula Mentor: I got to go!
It is rush hour and so it takes me 40 minutes. When I arrive the parking goddess has left me an excellent parking spot. I pull right in.
I grab the DOULA BAG and scurry up to Labor and Delivery. When I open the door to M2 room she says, “Is that you?” in a little laboring voice.
“It IS me.” I say. And I go over and give her a big hug. “How is it going?” I ask.
We discuss all the happenings between contractions. M2 is having a lot of lower back pain and so husband and I are trading off with the counter pressure. In between I give M2 a little massage.
Everything is going really well and then suddenly, we stall. Everything slows down. Midwife comes in for a check. She tells us, “Not much progress. I think we should add just a bit of pitocin.”
M2 looks at me. I know she is a little scared. I give her the it-is-ok nod.
Not too long and the pitocin is hooked up. Inside I am a little nervous because I know how intense things can get in this kind of situation. However, the Birthing Goddess is with us. After just an hour of pitocin M2 is almost complete!
Woo! I do a little Doula Happy Dance.
“Soon you will see your baby!” I say.
Preparations for pushing begin. Instrument trays are rolled in. Lighting is adjusted. Gowns are put on. This is the part where I get very excited. In fact I have to work to contain myself. Soon, a new life will come into the world, right here in this room.
M2 is a champion birther. She pushes for less than an hour. Right in the middle she says to the room, “This pushing part is great!”
When baby comes out baby’s eyes are wide open! M2 reaches down and pulls her baby right onto her chest. That baby is looking all around reader. ALL AROUND.
M2 cries. I cry. M2 husband has the camera. M2 looks at me and says, “I feel SO good!”
She is all hopped up on her hormone birther goofballs.
I smile and I say, “I can tell. I am so glad!”
This time when the staff takes baby to do all the weights and measurements I go over there to be with baby. Baby is a very alert baby. We look at each other for a long time. I tell baby, “You are going to have a great life with these parents.”
Soon, it is time to transport the whole situation over to Maternity. And it is time for me to head home. M2 says, “I am glad you will make it home in time for dinner.”
Ha! This is funny because she is really serious. These mamas, they take care of me you know.
“Ok.” I say. “Text with you later! Congratulations everyone!”
“Yes! Thank you!” they say.
I grab my Doula Bag and walk to the KIA, waiting for me in its most excellent parking spot. It is just starting to get dark. I think: It is almost like an ordinary workday.
Except that on an ORDINARY workday you do not usually get to see a brand new being open it’s eyes for the very first time ever.
No, you do not.
That is what it is.
Ode to Daughter June 2016
The second born, graduating high school just after her brother just graduated college.
It has occurred to me, now, as a mom, that sometimes the second born seems to get SECONDS. I myself am a first-born. And so I do not have this experience.
And so, the second born will graduate. But there is nothing SECOND about this graduation. Daughter will sit upon the stage. She will be receiving a special award.
We do not yet know what this award is for exactly.
I have a few ideas, knowing who she is and what she has accomplished.
As many of you know, daughter has had her challenges. She has met them one-by-one. If you have a child with a learning difference and a special talent you KNOW this takes time. Effort. Communication. Travel. Expense.
Basically a lot of extra work.
But this day is not just about difficulty. This day is about accomplishment. And strength.
This day is about DAUGHTER.
Her ability to turn things around.
And to let go and move on.
The beauty of her voice.
Her innate ability to relate to children, and their response to her.
The gift of her writing.
Her politics and passion for the rights of all people, everywhere.
The comfort she freely offers friends and family.
Her interest in how the mind works and her amazing ability to empathize and sympathize
And her tenacious nature, applied as necessary.
Tomorrow daughter will be a graduate.
She is already a young woman, full of dignity and grace.
I stand today, so proud of you daughter.
For your accomplishments.
For your resilience.
For everything you are.
For all you will become.
Rock on daughter.