Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Birthing with a smile

Sometimes, just sometimes, I go to a birth that just makes me feel at peace with the world.  I seem to have had a string of women who have had to fight and fight to get normal births.  Women who have had to spend the last few months of their pregnancies arguing with consultants and registrars who aren't prepared to take their births as a unique experience.  Yes, I know that we have to look at risk factors, but if we stopped doing things because there were risks attached, well frankly we would have to be dead for there is risk attached to everything. 

Anyway.. enough of the dark thoughts.  This was a ray of sunshine in the middle of 'battle' (don't you wish birth wasn't a battle?)

In what seemed to me an act of symmetry, I was having dinner with a past client, who had just been introduced to my current client.  I laughed when I found out (a few weeks previously) that they had been introduced and slipped past client some cash to ensure a good reference.  Oh okay, I didn't.  I finished the evening early as I had a feeling that I needed an early night.  Shortly after I arrived home I received a call from dad to be.  Contractions had started at 7pm but not long and rather erractic.  They were now beginning to start properly but still not very long or close together.  I tried to sleep, failed so played with social media for a while and then closed my eyes.  At around 2am I was woken by a call to say that things were getting more intense.  I could tell that I needed to be there so suggested that I pop over.  It took me less than 10 minutes to walk over.  I do love local clients. When I arrived it was lovely to see my lady labouring beautifully in a dimly lit bedroom.  She relaxed as she saw me and I sent them to bed.  I took myself off to the sofa bed, which would have been lovely but there was a large birth pool in the room, so there would be no extending of the bed.  It's a doula's life for me. lol.

At 6am a large contraction woke me.  I can't say that I was sorry to leave my 'bed' but it was lovely to see daylight filtering through the blinds.  My lady was in the bathroom, relaxing on the toilet.  She said that is was so wonderfully comfortable and that she had dosed for ages.  Fabulous.  Rested women labour so well.  After  a while, I suggested that she change position and move to the bedroom.  A huge projectile vomit made that moot point for a while, but as I always say (or was that my mum) 'better out than in.  Your body is just clearing out for the baby'.  Dad got busy with a mop and towels.  Mum drank some water and moved to the bedroom.  She had already ripped her TENS machine off.  It was irritating her.  I could hear that labour was intensifying and asked Dad if they had updated the midwife yet.  This was to be a homebirth (my favourite type of birth.  I get to leave them snuggled up in bed together peacefully).  The gorgeous K said that she would be about 40 minutes but to call if we needed her sooner.  Less than 5 minutes after that call I took the phone to another room and called her again.  I could see a lot of bulging in the anus and worried that this might be a BBA (Born Before Arrival).  I assured K that I would call 999 if I thought that the baby was going to arrive before her and I prayed that it wouldn't.  

There was such a spirit of peace the whole time.  Dad was busy filling the birthing pool (he got told off by the lovely K for not filling it before).  To be fair to Dad, they had spent most of the night asleep (in his case), dosing (mum and I) and things were suddenly moving at quite a pace.  Neither Dad nor I were sure that the pool would fill in time, but it did, just!  K was such an unobtrusive midwife.  She moved gently around, carried out her observations, wrote her notes and messaged the second midwife.  She had such a way with her words.  She would smile at Mum and say 'You are stretching beautifully.'  She didn't asked questions, she watched and smiled.  Then she suggested that Mum get in the pool, which she did and it was lovely to watch the feeling of peace across her face.  The doorbell rang and the second midwife entered.  Not as silent as the first but a good midwife nonetheless.  It was only a matter of minutes before we saw the beginnings of baby's head gently easing itself out into the world.  Then it slipped back inside, so I reassured Mum that her baby would be here soon.  A few contractions later, a beautiful girl glided into the world.  The cord was round her neck twice, so the beautifully slow birth was perfect as there was no tension on the cord (which could have happened with 'purple pushing').  The cord was unwrapped and mother and daughter sat gazing at one another in the water.  I'm amazed that Dad didn't burst, I could feel the oxytocin pouring from him.  

Soon the midwives had completed their checks, weighed the baby and left.  Dad emptied the pool, I made breakfast for us all and then left them all 'blissed out' together.  My abiding memory was the smile on Mum's face as her daughter was born.