Just about every year, the celebration of her life and birthday is dampened by a touch of sadness about her birth, the longing for a better birth for her (and me), the desire for it to have been different, the going over and over in my head to replay and see if there was anything at all I could have done differently. The haunting of the painful memories often linger closer on that day, always in the background of my mind, in spite of rejoicing at how blessed I am with my precious miracle.
Well, not this year!
It's September 12th, 2011 and I got a call just after 2am from a client's husband, saying she's in labor. Her's has been a birth I've especially looked forward to, a precious mama going for a VBA2C, and delivering with the same doctor I used for my VBA3C, so I knew it was going to be amazing. Since things still seemed pretty early and manageable, I told him to update me in an hour or when contractions got closer together.
Ok, I do have to confess here, I was a touch bummed. Lina and I had made elaborate plans for the day of her "golden birthday" (12 years old, born on the 12th, to kids this is apparently a BIG deal!) and we had been praying for God to hold the space for her day for a couple of months! Our 10am Starbucks date, shopping at the mall for Toms, some girl time over lunch, it was going to be special! I said out loud, "well Jesus, you knew the desires of our hearts, I just have to trust you will work it out and give my girl grace."
I try to go back to sleep, but something tells me I better not. Right about 3am I get another call from my client's husband, saying she was still managing well, but had thrown up in the bathroom, her water broke about 5 min after the last time he had called me, and was now in the shower, contractions are now coming every 4 minutes and are more intense, but tolerable. I ask if we should just plan to meet at the hospital. I tell them if we get there and it still seems early-ish, we can walk around before checking in. He asks me what should we look for, just to make sure they still have some time. We run through the list of signs and symptoms of transition, and other than throwing up that one time, and the fact that her water broke, she doesn't seem to think she's in transition. I tell him I'll start heading their way since it seems she's ready for extra support, and if they decide to start heading to the hospital just to call me and I'll turn around and meet them (they live about 25 min south of me, and the hospital was about 25 min north of me).
I wake my birthday girl and tell her I got called, and give her a big hug and tell her we'll reschedule since it appears I won't be available by 10. She says she's going to pray it all goes quickly. I nurse my toddler and get on the road.
I have been on the interstate about 5 minutes when I get another call from the dad. I assume they are heading to the hospital and before I even answer I'm checking lanes to get off at the next exit and start heading back north toward the hospital. What my client's husband said caught me a bit off guard to say the least... "uh Katie... she's feeling like pushing and says she can feel the head only about an inch inside..."
me: "uhh... ok.... well.... we have 3 options then.... we can call 911 and have EMS come, go to the nearest hospital, or I can try to find a midwife to meet us hopefully before baby gets here"
I hear him ask her and comes back and says she says to try to find a midwife. I tell him get her out of the bath, throw a shower curtain on the bed and have her lay on her side and try not to push till help arrives.
Now I am flying down the interstate (the only time I *ever* speed is to births, and now even more than usual, dear Jesus, now is *not* the time to get pulled over, ok??) It takes a couple of calls, but I get one willing to come, she's a bit farther, but Kim is my all-time favorite midwife and the one I'm hoping to apprentice with, and I feel peace about it.
I violate my personal policy about not texting and driving and send her my client's address. Dear Jesus, take the wheel while I do this, ok?
I arrive at 4:10ish and let myself in. S is on laying on her side, doing amazing.
Me: "So, are we having a baby today or what?"
S: "Who, me? Uh, nah, I think I changed my mind."
Haha! Glad to see you still have your sense of humor hon!
I remember a pair of gloves I had tucked in my purse (you never know when you'll need a pair of gloves, right?). I take them out and put them up on the dresser. In Jesus' name I'm not going to need these.... because doulas don't catch babies, right??
I update Kim that we can't see baby's head yet. That begins to change really quick and by 4:25 it becomes clear that baby is coming soon, and that Kim likely won't make it. I had a touch of fear, and reverence for the fact that even though I'm NNR certified, I am not yet trained to do this, but I feel God's presence and peace. I grab for those gloves after all and pray, "Jesus, this needs to go perfect, please!"
I put her on speaker phone so she can walk dad and I through this. Crowning at next contraction, then head born with the next one, then a bit of a lull, (all normal, but a bit unnerving to mom and dad) then with the next contraction, one shoulder then the other, then at 4:38am, baby *GIRL* is here, born right into her daddy's hands, with a bit of doula assistance, and then right on mom's chest!
Baby pinks up right away, and lets out some sweet little cries. She's had a perfectly gentle birth, no one pulling or poking at her, or rushing to clamp her cord, no bright lights, no loud voices. Its a beautiful moment, and I am in awe of what God just did for this family. Just simply amazing! Praise You Jesus, You rock!! :D
HBA2C, mama S is a rockstar! She just birthed like a pro who had done this 10 times before! :D
Kim arrives about 5 minutes after the birth. Placenta is born a few minutes later, and mom and baby are both perfect.
Then the birth photographer gets there (whoops!)
My clients' oldest wakes up a little while later, comes in, and says she could hear a baby crying, what an amazing moment! Funny side note, my client's childcare that she had lined up for their older girls never did answer the phone. So had they tried to leave, they would have had 2 tiny spectators along for the ride! Jesus provided a way to work out all the details, and every loose end was tied up!
We all marveled at how the common theme was that Jesus provided for *everything*, even if it wasn't exactly how we had planned it to go! (or actually, even close to how we had planned LOL!)
I got to my babysitter's house to pick up Lina and Sergio at 9:45, then we had our Starbucks date and an amazing birthday celebration day. :)
If anyone had asked me 12 years ago, what I would be doing 12 years from then, this would have been the farthest thing from my mind. But this day will go down as another defining moment in my life. Thank you Jesus for golden birthday blessings for me too. :)