All good things come to those who wait. (Yes bold Em, I'm talking to you).
Today I was unexpectedly sent to LBS.
I arrived 4 minutes after the birth of a little one, to a primip who had laboured beautifully and quickly, a few stitches (not by me), done and dusted. I had a student midwife with me who was just terrific, really efficient with obs etc. The couple were pretty pleased with themselves, baby fed promptly, gave him his top to toe check on Mum's tummy, he was really relaxed. All was good.
Mum was in the shower and almost ready to go to the ward when I was called to another room.
It was another labouring primip, already 7cm dilated. I took handover and she stayed standing up at the windowsill. She was attended by husband and mother who were doing really well with massage, and she was rocking, not making much sound.
After a while she informed me there was 'something there'. I peeped and there was a pouting bottom, that went away with the contraction's end. But I knew there was a baby not far behind!
I kept peeking up her dress with contractions, seeing a bit of poop here, a bulge there. She was trying not to push, just let the contractions do the work.
It worked. What a genius, what a natural she was.
On the fifth look, there was definite perineal bulging and .....a head on view! I got the hubby to push the bell to call another midwife for the imminent birth, and asked her if she wanted to stay standing up for the birth. No, I want to get on the bed. Then you'd better be quick! I replied.
The second midwife turned up, I got my gloves on and the head was there, then slipped back after the contraction. Just enough time for the student midwife to come skidding in the door and scramble into a pair of gloves. We caught the baby together after a slow and gentle crowning, then a quick restitution and baby slithered out in a hurry, with a hand under the chin.
What is it? Mum asked - I don't know - you tell me! Its a girl! she cried Yes! I prayed for this!
There were sobs of delight, repeated thankyous and much joy in the room. Baby A blinked and looked around at all the grinning adults, pink and perfect and alert. She was calm and observant and very pretty. Her parents were just delighted, and so they should be. We midwives were most fulsome in our praise for them too. Such a clever woman, such a fantastic labourer, she made it look easy. We were stoked.
Unfortunately there were quite a few stitches needed here and there, nothing catastrophic but a bit ouchy initially. She was really great again, and turned to me for support during the stitching, which doesn't often happen, but I was really pleased to be 'with woman' in this way. She slipped her hand in mine, our heads were close and she asked softly that I tell her a story...so I began.
Once upon a time...there was a lovely young woman who was having her first baby, and when it was time to labour she was really brave and strong and beautiful and stayed home for a long time while her contractions came thick and fast. And when she got to hospital she was already near the end. And so she kept labouring beautifully, talking to her midwife when she needed to and telling her when the baby's head was there. And then she pushed out her baby easily and calmly, and everyone was very proud of her, and she was proud of herself, because she had done an amazing job bringing her baby to the world. What a miraculous thing is the female body, and the process of birth. God is very good.
It was such a special thing. I have never had a woman ask me for that before, and I was surprised that I slipped so automatically into storytelling mode, as if she was a child. She wasn't of course, but it seemed right. And she responded shyly but with delight to hear her tale already the stuff of legend. I told her that she should think about having her next baby at home, or in a birth centre as she had done so well she was an ideal candidate.
The baby remained calm and alert, and fed well and easily. It was really special. Her prayers were answered...and so were mine.
How delightful to spend the day with two new mothers who birthed with such power and ease. With two sweet, calm babies who didn't fuss but just responded well to their natural instincts. And to work with a student midwife who was so competent and thoughtful. We had a chat at tea, about how moved we frequently are at seeing women birthing so strongly, trusting their bodies to follow the physiological process, and how it all can go so smoothly. It is a privilege like no other, to be a witness to these births.
To top off our lovely day, on the board where the women's names are logged room by room, and they are noted as 6cm, delivered, or whatever, next to our room the coordinator had written:
I love being a midwife