I was talking with some fellow doulas about ways we mark births, or record them, for our own purposes. I shared that I often will journal a birth in 300 words -- not only is it an exercise in brevity, it helps me really focus on the what I want to remember. There was a lot going on this day, and with a back-up midwife very ill, the on-call midwife needed a little more of herself to spread around -- which is why I was invited to this birth, never having met the parents before. It was a beautifully simple birth.
The phone rings at 6:30 – I am still asleep. A midwife-friend asks if I can come help a couple birth their baby. I shower, grab my bag, kiss my baby and husband goodbye, and head to the hospital.
I see him first. “Alan?” I introduce myself as he applies counterpressure to the heap of a person lying in front of him. She is the beautiful Audra. Her face glistens with sweat, sticky long strands of hair cling to her cheeks. In the throes of this labor, she looks Snow White-ish and other-worldly.
This work is intense. Her voice cries out. Her own mother brings comfort -- soft hands and sweet words; mother did this for her daughter, and now daughter does this for a son. Head-to-head, their noses reflect their sameness. One face is molded with effort, while the other is shaped by concern. In the mother, we first learn love.
Alan has her now, cradled in his arms as she rocks toward him. I press, press, press on that bulging place on her back that signals a baby's passing – that upside-down triangle which starts where flesh dips and thins at the top of her warm buttocks. I smell her – the smell of life – spicey, earthy, and hot, and tinny. Alan's fingers graze mine and for a blink we connect with this woman's power. It won't be long.
Her baby emerges in a bag of egg-drop soup, wearing his cord as a scarf. The midwife gently unwinds his traveling clothes and hands him to his mother. He squints his eyes and searches, following his hands like a blood-hound on the trail. The power that expelled him caused her breasts to force out shiny beads of honey. As he suckles, mother and baby are brought back to their circle of one.
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)
Stacie Bingham, LCCE, CD(DONA), CBS(LER)
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