The first birth I ever attended was a complete fluke. I had been working at a birth center for awhile as an administrator. One dark and stormy night, after locking up the main office, I went to the birthing house behind the garden to check on Kelly*, our midwife. I knew that Jae had been labor for a few hours and went to see if they needed anything, not that I could do anything more than order them some food or run some water in the birthing tub.
Little did I know, this night was to be a glorious one. Jae was going to be a single mom. She had many friends present but no family. She was scared and none of her friends had had any experience with childbirth and they too were frightened by the process.
Kelly was doing a wonderful job caring for Jae but was a little panicked that our on-call nurse was delayed because of the torrential down pour that had her bridge underwater and would keep her from being here in time for the birth. Kelly pulled me aside and handed me a list of items to prepare. I had the birthing tub full of warm water, towels tumbling in the dryer, and several other things set up within minutes. Kelly was relieved to have an extra set of hands, she was able to focus her energy on what Jae might need emotionally. It was overwhelming to hear the amount of advice being thrown her way from well meaning friends. Kelly and I exchanged looks and in a minute I knew what she was thinking. Kelly ushered all but one of Jae’s friends into the “living roon” of the birth house to prepare a celebration dinner for the new momma.
Jae was instantly more relaxed. I dabbed her face with cool wash cloths and kept a warm spray of water of her belly with the shower head. Within the hour, Jae was ready to push and our OB nurse had arrived! She asked for my help, could I help her sit up on her knees? I answered yes before I had thought of what that would entail, this woman was not leaving that tub!I kicked off my heels and shimmied into the tub behind her and she relaxed herself against me. With a few strong pushes her beautiful baby girl was born! She had the fairest skin, deep blue eyes and a tangle of black hair.
It was the most awe-inspiring moment of my life. A moment ago there was a scared would-be single mom and now there was a family. I’d never seen two people happier to greet one another.
After everyone was happy and settled, I finally headed home in the rain. I hadn’t expected to be apart of a miracle that day. I decided that from there on out, I’d have better get some training in case I was ever in that situation again. And it wasn’t long before I couldn’t help loving that “situation” and the people who find themselves in it.
*names are changed for clients and providers privacy.