Quietly we drive, on a beautiful sunny day, up the winding mountain road. We are anxious and hopeful, praying silently for God’s guidance. We pray for the mother and family that we are serving today, thankful we were able to find the home a few weeks earlier at the 36 week visit. We pull into the drive, and unpack a few large suitcases and bags from the back of the van. We tote them through the front door and up the stairs. The sound of a busy, happy family fills the air. This mother is busy, walking around, fixing snacks, and getting her older children ready to go with a relative who will soon arrive. She pauses occasionally, rocking her hips, swaying with the waves of her labor, her eyes closed. We begin setting up our supplies, and I go to her, check her vitals and listen to baby with a Doppler. All is well. All the family is excited with anticipation for the baby’s arrival which is soon to come. Her husband begins his task of setting up the birth pool, and we all work together in preparation. She continues to walk and sway, rocking her hips gently. The doula takes pictures of them all together before the children leave. The midwife, Doran, and I chat about how well she is doing and how long we think it might be until she meets her baby. We stay out of her space, only checking vitals and baby’s heart tones at regular intervals. We are watchful, attentive, yet unobtrusive… the guardians of her sacred space.
She decides to rest for a while after the children leave, and enjoys some quiet time with her husband, still rocking through the waves of her labor. We have everything ready and in order, so we settle in on the sofa. Over the past several months with Doran, I have learned the quiet patience of a midwife. The water in the birth pool is still a bit too warm, so our client, her husband, and her doula decide to go outside for a walk. While they are out, we eat some snacks, chat about our day, and I take a call from my sister. W had suspected that our client’s labor might “kick in” stronger once her children had left, and when she felt like everything was in order for the birth. So, we simply wait quietly to see how things will progress. We trust God, and we trust the natural process of labor.
Then suddenly it was time… the doula burst through the door saying our client was ready to push! Next entered our client, hurrying up the foyer stairs, saying that she needed to push! She was obviously excited and a bit frantic, but Doran, in her calm midwife manner, slid on her gloves and told her it was okay to push her baby out. The doula and I dumped 2 more pots of hot water into the pool so that it would be warm enough for a baby. She then stepped in, and I’m not sure if it should even be called pushing since it was more like a few grunts, but within a couple minutes we saw baby’s head emerge. Doran reached in and caught that beautiful baby, lifted her up to her mama’s waiting arms, and that mama held her with the kind of joy that comes straight from Heaven. That mama and daddy smiled so huge they could light the world. Sweet baby girl was calm and peaceful, as she took her first few breaths cuddled to her mama’s chest… warm, loved, safe. I covered her with a warm towel, and dried her tiny head and face. She cried just a tiny bit, and while she was still cuddled up, I listened to her heartbeat and breathing with a little stethoscope while she turned beautifully pink. She stayed there for a few minutes, peacefully awakening to her new world while we waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing. My heart was filled with joy for this sweet baby and her family. Doran then clamped the cord so daddy could cut, and then we moved mama and baby to the bedroom where they could stay warm and cuddled. The placenta was then born with minimal bleeding, and she settled in to breastfeed.
I went about doing the usual clean up and inspection of the placenta. As I did this, I thought of a doula birth that I recently attended in the hospital. I thought of what that mother had gone through… the monitor cords and IV lines, and how difficult it was for her having to push all that monitoring equipment for just a one lap walk around the nurse’s station. I had told her she could’ve totally had a homebirth, and I wish she could’ve been here to see that birth didn’t have to be like what she had experienced.
We ensured baby was latching and nursing well, checked mama again, made sure she was eating, made sure everything was cleaned up, and laundry started. I performed (under Doran’s supervision of course) sweet baby girl’s newborn exam, and all was normal and healthy. So, we went over postpartum instructions, and after a few fun pictures, tucked them into bed….. And so, this is my “job”. I witness the blessings of God. I help Doran ensure the safe passage of babies coming earth-side…Blessing God’s Way.
– Jodi Jones