So at the end of last year, the midwife I work with, Diane, and I began seeing this amazing young couple, who I’ll call Annette and Mark to preserve their privacy. They are so friendly and creative and thoughtful, we knew right off the bat that they would be perfect candidates for an out of hospital birth. We clicked so well with them, and they were so interested in learning all they could about the birth process, how Mark could support Annette during labor, and the different testing available for expecting mothers. We were overjoyed to work with such a curious, fun couple. Then, their insurance didn’t jive with our practice, and we had to say goodbye to them at about six months into the pregnancy. Diane and I were both very worried for what their hospital experience would be like, and kept Annette and Mark in our thoughts for the next four months.
Well, on June 25th, Diane got a call from the very pregnant Annette asking her to attend her birth, after her doctor discontinued care because the couple didn’t want one of the tests he recommended. The best part? Her labor had already begun! Diane told Annette to get some rest, then call when things got more intense. The next morning, she got the couple situated at the center, and then called me with the news.
At 11 a.m., Diane and I arrived to check mom’s progress and see where we were at. Annette was going back and forth between the tub, the bed, and the birth stool, and having much more intense contractions. When Diane checked her, Annette was complete! We were both surprised, since she hadn’t seemed to be progressing that quickly earlier in the morning.
It was at this point that Diane asked me if I would like to receive the baby. My first. I could not stop smiling as I agreed. I couldn’t have asked for a couple I felt more connected to than them!
For the next few hours, Annette worked through her labor. She found a position that was really feeling good to her, sitting on her heels on the bed leaning forward onto a birth ball, and stuck with that for about two hours. Mark was such a great support to her, constantly reassuring her and applying counterpressure when her lower back started to hurt during the contractions. I specifically remember Annette murmuring “You’re so good at that” as he massaged her. It was magical watching the two of them work together to bring their baby into the world.
We weren’t surprised that Annette’s labor went a little slower after she was fully dilated, and we really didn’t want to rush it. It was so important to this couple that they be allowed to really figure out the process themselves. Annette didn’t sleep much in the 72 hours leading up to birth, so we were very happy to see her resting during abnormally long breaks between contractions in the last hours before the baby was born. We continued monitoring the vitals of mom and baby, and let them go at their own pace.
At around 2:30, the contractions became more intense again. This time, Annete was really ready to get down to business. She had expressed concern about not knowing how to push, so we made sure to tell her after her first one that she was doing it exactly right. We could literally see the baby move and work with the contractions, since Annete is so trim and strong. About an hour later, we started to see hair, and I was in charge of making sure her perineum didn’t tear.
At 4:12 p.m., the baby was born! My very first catch. I will never forget the feeling of that baby spinning into my hands, seeing Annette’s face light up, and Mark’s smile and obvious immediate love for the baby. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced, and will always remember this special family.
Annette and Mark didn’t find out the sex beforehand, and we didn’t get a great look before wrapping the baby up, so we thought it was a boy just from first glance. We were calling it a him and talking about the name they were going to give him. Then, an hour after birth, we unwrapped him to weigh him and lo and behold, it was actually a girl!! Such a surprise to everyone, and really an accomplishment for the mom and dad because they had lots of boys in each of their respective families. Annette had actually expressed remorse at first that she wouldn’t get to dress the little boy in this one really adorable outfit she had seen in a magazine, so having the baby actually be a little girl was huge for them.
I learned a lot during this birth. I got to learn how to prevent tearing in practice, rather than just in theory. I helped deliver the placenta, and helped monitor mom’s blood loss after the birth. Most of all, I got to experience a new part of this amazing career I have been called to. I couldn’t have imagined making this transition in a more beautiful and wonderful way. Thank you to the family for including Diane and I in your experience, thank you to Diane for having confidence in me to catch this baby, and many more after this, and thank you to my parents for helping support me through my training. I am so blessed. I couldn’t be more in love with my job!!