A Time to Be Born
It happened a few years back, during a visit to my parents in California at the time I was living in India. My mom, a midwife, had a couple of assistants on call for the births she attended, but this time (though I can’t remember the details why) she asked me.
“Hey Pete, a lady just called. She’s in labor and sounds like things might move quickly. Want to be my assistant?”
(Yes, my mom calls me Pete, and yes, she is the only one allowed to call me that. And no, it wasn’t because she wanted a boy and I came out instead – just to clarify those points.)
I had read a number of labor and delivery books. My mom had given me classes on all that’s needed at a home birth. And I already had a couple kids of my own (without a doubt, for me, the greatest excuse to help a laboring woman – “I’ve done it too; you’re not alone. You can make it.).
Of course I jumped at the chance and within minutes, we were opening the front door of a home after a woman called, “Come in.”
We stepped in. A woman on her knees was leaning the top half of her body on the living room couch, her large tummy drooping below. The concentrating look on her face made it clear she was in the middle of a contraction. Mom gave me a few instructions as she knelt by the lady and waited quietly.
“Good, deep cleansing breath. You’re doing great,” Mom said, once the contraction had passed. “How you doing?”
“Fine.” The woman sat back for a moment. “Do you need me to get in any certain position? Do you need to check anything?”
“Just be comfortable. Stay in whatever position is best for you and that baby.”
“I think I’ll stay right here.” The woman suddenly closed her eyes and began to focus on her breathing as the next wave commenced.
As I pulled out a chart, a young man came down the hallway. “Finally got her to sleep.” He sat next to his wife and held her hand, speaking softly as she managed another contraction.
“Looks like she’s pretty close,” Mom told me. I started pulling out a few items that she asked for as she stayed by the woman, timing her contractions and not leaving her side. The woman remained in that position the entire time, including when she pushed the baby out, and into my mom’s waiting arms.
Mom rested the baby right on the new mother’s tummy and waited until the cord had stopped pulsing to tie and let the father cut it.
“It’s a boy!”
I couldn’t help but getting teary at the elation of the new father and mother. I concentrated on straightening a few things up.
Mom did the baby’s first check up. He got a good APGAR score. “And you deserve a medal,” she winked at the mom.
A few minutes later, a little girl came stumbling into the room. Once she noticed her new baby brother, she was wide awake, and stared at him the rest of the time we were there.
Overall, it was under two hours before we were driving home again, letting the family get to know their new bundle of joy.
“They don’t always turn out like this, do they mom?”
“Nope, hon, sometimes I’m with a laboring mom for 24 or more hours straight. Dad says I go down the rabbit hole, cuz he doesn’t hear from me for a while.”
I wondered if I’d have the stamina to do something like that. Somehow, I don’t think so.
“It’s amazing how smoothly you delivered that baby.” I thought back to my own births, lying on my back at the behest of the doctor, trying hard to push against gravity to get the baby out.
“The mamma delivered the baby. I was just there to catch it.” My mom smiled.
Over the years, my mom has clocked thousands of miles, driving from one town to another in a 150-mile radius as a home birth midwife.
Her vision is to open a birth clinic in the city, to give mothers a natural and healthy option for delivering their babies.
She and the midwives she works with are some of the most amazing and dedicated women I know. They give all they have for mothers, fathers and babies to have their ideal birthing experience. Every mother deserves to give birth in the way she is most comfortable. Will you help them in their vision?
[Search for A Time to Be Born in Mission: Small Business. They are awarding grants to up to 12 small businesses, and your choosing A Time to Be Born just might make it possible to help many women see their dreams come true. The deadline is June 30th, coming up fast, so please don’t wait!]
Posted on June 28, 2012, in Fathers, Uncategorized and tagged A Time to Be Born, Central Valley midwives, childbirth education, home birth, labor and delivery, midwife, Mission: Small Business, small businesses. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.