Today is my birthday.
Today is also the birthday of Apollo, born at 6:15 this evening.
My birthday began last night with dinner with a great group of friends. I was careful to only have one drink because I knew that my doula client was more than a week overdue and I was sure the baby would be born on my birthday. I met a friend at 8 a.m. this morning for a walk around the lake, then my husband and I met my dad for coffee and a bagel. I spent the bulk of the day running around with my husband, doing random things. At some point we decided to drive south to a movie theater in a nearby town.
I got the call at around 2:00 that my client (let's call her Suzy Q) had taken some castor oil and contractions began about 15 minutes apart. James and I bagged the movie idea and headed back to town. At 3:30 I got a call that Suzy Q's contractions were now 4 to 5 minutes apart and she and her partner were supposed to meet the midwife at the birth center at 4. Instead of heading over to their house as was planned, I decided to meet them at the birth center because I didn't think I had time to get all the way over to their house in time to meet them to go. Suzy Q and her partner arrived at 4:05 and the midwife checked her to find that she was already dilated to 6 cm. Her labor was moving along quickly!
Suzy Q and her partner got into the tub, a large, triangular tub situated in a nice cozy corner of the room, and he and I helped Suzy Q ride the waves of her contractions. With every breath, we held her--he at her knees, holding her hands and breathing with her; and I at her head providing support with my hands planted on her shoulders. She rode each contraction beautifully, always breathing and remaining poised and relaxed and calm. She was absolutely radiant.
After about an hour in the tub, the midwife checked her again and discovered that she was 8 cm, almost complete! She sat in the tub for a little while longer before moving to the bed. Almost as soon as she was situated on the bed, she began uttering these primal noises with a contraction--a sure sign that she was almost ready to push. On the next contraction she could no longer not push. She rolled over onto her back and gave one good push and we could see his head. We could see his soft head and hair through the amniotic sac and fluid. Then the most amazing thing happened: she pushed once more and the baby's body came sliding out, and he was still encapsuled in his amniotic sac! This is known as being "born in the caul," and is seen as a sign of good fortune. There are even legends that children being born in the caul have clairvoyant gifts.
This birth took just over four hours from contractions 15 minutes apart to the birth of the baby. I am honored to share a birthday with Apollo. What an amazing experience.