Water broke at hour 20 with no action. Tick tock, tick tock…if the damn clock was working, that’s what it’d say. That’s what is on everyone’s mind, anyhow. They know what the birth center regulations say, and that hour 24 seems so near. Sent them to the mall for a walk, but they return with nothing to report. Smiles, yet underlying doubt and discouragement. My best midwife reassurance that there is still “plenty of time,” and not to worry. Even if that midwife herself had doubts. An hour later and that 4th time momma labors hard, her first unmedicated birth. Sirens blazing outside in downtown Anchorage and roads surrounding us blocked off. A suspected bomb right down the road. Sirens, fireworks, people in the streets. I reminisce to myself, “This sounds like Haiti.” Downtown Anchorage on a Saturday night. We ain’t in Palmer anymore, Toto.
Low quiet noises and that momma repeatedly apologizes for how loud she is being. This is a real-life lesson on our individual Reality and Perception…such a funny thing. Wanting a waterbirth and realizing it ain’t for you. That’s ok. Pushing past that pain, and a baby boy is born.
Those parents thanking you for what you’ve given them, but you being thankful that there are families out there who give you the opportunity.
The very next day, in that very same room, within those 100 year old walls…
First time momma contracting every 2-3 and she means serious business. Partner like a deer in the headlights, looking at anyone, everyone, whoever for reassurance. Little does he know he is probably one of the best support I’ve ever seen. He asks the midwives, “Are you scared?” He’s stone faced serious, but we laugh. I would hope the midwives aren’t scared! A room full of strong women, supporting this first time momma. She doesn’t bat an eye at the laughter and clatter in the room…she is what we call In The Zone. Mary is primarying- midwife speak for the person primarily responsible and catching the baby- she’s front and center. I’m directly behind her on her left, but even more so her proverbial “Right Hand Man.” The head comes out and Mary looks at me, and states matter-of-factly, so, so serious, “The.head.is.out.” I’m not by any means normally witty- it’s a characteristic I seem to have been born without- but it comes out without skipping a beat, “Thanks, I see that.” We laugh at that she felt the need to state the obvious. We can pretty much read each others minds, so this makes it even more comical. A baby girl is born, welcomed into the world by the hands of a midwife that I trained, and the hands of her mother and father. The sun shines in through the window. It’s 8:58 am and a beautiful Fall day in Alaska.
I’ve been up for two days straight…but all I can think is…
This. Right. Here.