C.P. - March 7, 2021
My first client was also my friend. She was due right as my training started, and I was lucky enough that she trusted I would be beneficial to her birth experience and wanted me on her team. CP had a homebirth with midwife Blyss Young. Her first birth was a hospital birth with epidural and she wanted a different, more personal experience for her second child.
I met with CP and Blyss for her final prenatal meeting. I enjoy meeting providers prior to labor because it gives me a chance to feel where they are coming from and give us a chance to get on the same page before we work together to bring this new life into the world.
CP texted me in the morning of March 7 to say she was in labor, but it was very early. She spent the day eating and relaxing at home. As I was talking to some mutual friends that day, I mentioned that I bet the baby would be born around 10:00pm.
Around 3:30pm I went to her home with my daughter (our kids are about the same age and love playing together). The kids played while I spoke to CP and her husband, T, and assessed where she was in her labor. She was slowly moving into active labor so I brought my daughter home for dinner, changed my clothes, kissed my family goodnight, and was back to CP's home around 5:00.
CP was tired from almost a full day of early labor. She laid down on the couch to try to rest and relax. After a while she moved upstairs to get in the shower. I was timing contractions and listening to her during to try and hear when she moved into more active labor.
While in the shower, I could tell she was progressing well as she stopped making as much conversation and started to concentrate inwards to the task at hand. She squatted down on all 4's and I remember thinking how powerful she looked in that position. We let Blyss and her assistant, Kim, know what was happening and they arrived around 6:30pm. At this point, CP was on the toilet (a WONDERFUL place to labor!) and doing well.
She needed encouragement throughout the end of labor as she was having a hard time relaxing and feeling calm. Her pain was scary because she hadn't experienced it before. Her first labor was with an epidural so all these sensations were new. I kept repeating to her "This feels hard because it IS hard. Not because you're doing anything wrong." Labor can sometimes be difficult for people-pleasers or perfectionists, simply because they want to do everything "right" instead of just letting go and listening to their body.
Around 8pm the birth pool was ready and CP stepped in. She enjoyed the warm water and leaning forward against the side.
Her 2 year old son was very interested in all that was happening. He got scared as things progressed further, though. CP was roaring her baby down and it was not a sound he was used to. T went downstairs with their toddler and I stayed in the bedroom with CP. We tried switching at one point, but their son only wanted his parents at that point.
CP was getting increasingly more uncomfortable as the baby descended. She was on the bed and on the toilet and in the pool trying to listen to her body and figure out what it needed. When she started complaining on leg pain and her legs felt "out of control," we knew it was almost baby time. She requested Kim check and see how dilated she was. When Kim examined her, she asked CP to check herself as the baby's head was only an inch or so from the finish line. In hindsight, I wish I had suggested that CP squat like she had in the shower. I think that position would have assisted her in supporting her own legs and also ground her a bit.
Right after that vaginal exam, Blyss got her birth stool and CP was moved from the pool to the stool. A towel draped over her shoulders and me right behind her, CP pushed once and the head was out. Baby was still in her bag of waters. I am not sure if Blyss broke the bag or if it broke on its own, but at that moment there was a gush of water as the bag broke. We called to T, but he was occupied taking care of his son. CP pushed one more time and baby girl was born. 10:30pm on the dot.
T came into the room only moments later. I was worried he would be disappointed or upset, but he was just thrilled. Speaking with him a few days later, he said that it was meant to be. Their daughter was born into a circle of women and into that female power and energy.
I feel so privileged that CP allowed me at her birth. It is such a sacred space that must be honored. As I gain experience and knowledge, there are certain things I wish I had done differently or wish I had known at the time. But I am proud in the work that I did and that experience was really one that solidified for me that this is the work I am meant to be doing. Birthing people are warriors. We fight and we work harder than we ever have before. Birth is a struggle that we should not have to go through alone. I am so fortunate I could be there for CP and help guide her.