It’s nice to think we are in control. But, alas we learn, life is actually somewhat unpredictable and uncontrollable. I’ve come to learn that control is an illusion. We can plan and dream, but the outcome has to happen in trust. Trust Birth. Trust women. Trust the something more that guides us behind the scenes. I will forever be changed by the events of September 25th, 2011. Any perception that I might think I am in control…I surrender that now.

Carrie called me at 8:30 pm, having just left church where she was beginning to have some serious contractions. I listened carefully to her voice and it sounded as if she was in early labor, she was calm , but wanted to let me know she was going home and pack and head to the hospital.  We had several conversations about the speed with which her last child entered the world and we didn’t want to risk the 45 minute drive to the hospital.

I was drumming outdoors with my drum group and decided to finish up and take the drums home.  I was able to go home, change clothes, pack and get on the road  before I heard from Carrie’s husband that they were headed to the hospital.

We decided I would meet them there. It was 10:17 pm. By 11:00 I arrived at the hospital to find the two of them walking the halls…Carrie looks at me and says “we got some work to do…” Her cervix had been checked, contractions had stopped for the most part and she was found to be 3 centimeters. We walked the halls and gave her a chance to tune in with her body and see if we could get things moving again. It is not uncommon for labor to slow down once woman get into the hospital environment. But it is unpredictable how long it can take to move back into a good rhythm.

As we walked contractions picked up, but were erratic. We had about an hour before they checked her again and when they did they found no changes to her cervix. The mid wife suggested Ambien so that she might go home and sleep for  a few hours. She was happy and chatty and still a bit modest and those are signs  usually indicative of early, not active.. labor. Later I was very grateful that Carrie chose not to take anything to sleep. She promised to try to rest on her own.

The level of pain isn’t usually  the best monitor for where a labor has progressed. It’s usually the attitude and atmosphere of the mother.  Carrie was relaxed, coping well with her discomfort and still very much engaged in what was going on around her. Perhaps she was feeling nervous, but it didn’t show.

However, once we got to the exit and it was time for her to get in the car  she gave me a very serious look and asked me to come back to her house with her. I was very relieved she asked.  After all…birth is unpredictable.

Once home I encouraged her to shower and try to sleep. I could tell from the sounds I was hearing that she wasn’t going to rest much…I decided to squeeze in a power nap while she tried.

Her husband reports from the balcony down to me in the living room…Carrie felt the baby move significantly while in the shower, thinking perhaps she changed positions, she had been feeling a good deal of back labor and we had been trying to guide the baby in to a better position.

NO naps for any of us, they came downstairs pretty quickly.   Things still appeared as before but seeming to intensify.   By all indications she was moving in to active labor.  I did mention…the hospital was 45 minutes away…I say to her husband…time to get ready to go…well….no….maybe not…

and

suddenly, in a quick turn of events that had us all in a prayerful moment little Olivia insisted it was her time.

YES…NOW.

She arrived very quickly at 4:55 a.m into the world,  in her home, into her parents arms…pretty and pink…just like we like them to be.  It’s mind boggling to think that a mere two hours before we were standing in the lobby of the hospital contemplating our next step.

There were 5 things that I asked Carrie to list for me that were the most important things for her to have for her birth. I think they deserve to be repeated here…I believe she had them all.

  1. Healthy baby
  2. Fast labor process
  3. Immediate connection with baby and parents.
  4. Medication free
  5. Plenty of love, less “clinical” introduction for baby to the world.

I especially love number 5. I know that it wasn’t planned to happen in the living room of her home and being transported to the hospital holding her baby…but I have no doubt that this little girl got exactly what her mother hoped for. Fast…oh my yes….she was born with an immediate connection to her parents, into a beautiful space of devotion and love, yes…medication free and certainly…no clinical birth for this little girl for sure.

As for me…the doula… well, let’s just say I will never be the same. I am grateful for the love and guidance that takes me through life and places me exactly where I am meant to be with divine timing. I am grateful for the 37 years of motherhood that prepared me in the ways of handling crisis…act now…freak out later 🙂 and I thank little Olivia for the inspiration to embark on taking some midwife classes. Who knows where that might lead…