Northern Colorado Birth Stories
Northern Colorado Birth Stories, told by local moms who wanted to share their experiences. Childbirth is such a miracle, and we all experience that miracle in a unique way. Please consider sharing your story below. Here's one to get us started. It's told from the view of a friend attending a home birth in Fort Collins.
Witnessing the beginning of life
Current mood:In Awe
I finally got to experience (firsthand) the birth of a child other than my own. I feel intensely grateful and fortunate that I was asked to be the support person of E., my friend T's four-year-old daughter.
While mama had many 'false alarms' and I spent a fruitless night on her couch two nights ago , I was called about 12:45am on Saturday and told "It's time."
I pulled on some pants and put a bra on underneath my jammy shirt, brushed my teeth, and then RACED (within reason) to her home, which during the awake hours of the city would take about 25 minutes, and got there around 1:05. The whole time I worked at calming my beating heart by deep breathing and soothing self-talk. One, I was really anxious that I would miss the birth (the other friend I had offered to be a child-doula for had her baby within a few minutes of notifying me that she was in labor, so I missed the whole thing!) and two, I was scared I would do something to mar her experience. In my opinon, screwing up someone else's labor and birth is one of the worst things a person can do.
When I got to her home, she was in the birth tub - a horse trough - and was beautiful while she labored. She moaned softly through each contraction. I snapped several photos, aware that I was capturing some of the most intimate moments that humans have, and so, so, honored to be a part of it. Her husband kneeled by the side of tub, lightly stroking her arm or hair, whispering affirmations of her hard work and success at dealing with contractions.
About ten minutes after I arrived, the primary midwife (B) arrived. She quietly got her things ready, and talked to T. In between contractions, T was her usual cheerful, talkative self, and then she would slip into contraction-coping mode, and then back to herself. Within a few minutes, the assistant midwife (L) got there and made sure all of the equipment and supplies were in the proper locations, checked T's blood pressure and pulse, and monitored the baby's heart rate. Then both midwives lay down on the big bed. When T would work through an especially difficult contraction, either or both B and L would give a little sigh or moan at the end to acknowledge her hard work. Sometimes they would tell her what a good job she was doing. B dozed just a bit, but woke up every half hour or so to monitor the baby's heart rate.
T asked to have her cervix checked when she started to have more difficulty dealing with contractions. B said, "No. It's working, T. You're doing fine." As labor progressed further, B and L moved closer, touching her arm, offering more affirmations. T would cry a little bit, cuss a little bit, moan more, breathe more deeply. It was intense and amazing to watch, and I was so proud of her, but not surprised by her strength.
As my main job (other than continuing to snap photos) was to watch E, and awaken her when the time came, I waited for a cue from the midwives. When they said "Go get E" after a push or two, I was so entranced by the process unfolding before me that I didn't hear them. G, E's dad repeated it, and I zoomed across the hallway to awake E. I said "Do you want to watch your baby be born?" She barely nodded. I swooped her up and carried her in and set her right next to the tub. With tears in my eyes, I took pictures as T lifted the baby out of the tub and onto her chest. E was smiling from ear to ear. It was about a quarter after three a.m.
T told E that she had a baby brother, and E replied (still grinning that adorable, full-face grin) "I always wanted a baby brother." And, every few seconds: "isn't he so cute?"
Everyone was safe and healthy, as expected, and baby's gentle start on the outside was one in his own home, in dim light, kept close to his mama, touched only by the people who needed to, and loved by everyone there.
I videotaped E singing a song to baby about love and believing the best in people, of hope for the future, and acceptance. Everyone in the room cried - even the midwives who have seen hundreds, maybe thousands of births and sweet moments. It was such an innocent display of what I often forget to notice on a daily basis. At that moment I wanted to simultaneously be snuggled in bed with my family and right there, with the energy of a new life and the love that filled that home.
I wish everyone had an opportunity to witness birth in this pure form. T had no cervical checks, no medication, no orders to change position, no hindrances, no fear. Only trust existed.
I was and am inspired, incredulous, and hopeful for the future.
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