Wednesday, February 20, 2008

All Things Birthy

Friday, February 8th was my best friend's birthday. It was a significant day for three reasons...the first being the most was a day to celebrate the birth of one of the best people I've ever known. Happy birthday, Emily Marie--I love you! The second reason was that Emily gave me a wonderful gift--a book called Babies In Her Saddlebags, which I read in just a couple of days, and recommend to anyone who loves a good midwife story (this one happens to be true).

Keep reading to hear the third reason.

We went out that Friday night, beginning with dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. It was just Emily, Patricia and me. Brilliant. Then we began the pub crawl that Emily decided was what she wanted to do in celebration. I had a beer with dinner, a beer at the first bar, and a shot of tequila at the second bar, which also happened to be the bar I used to work at. (I had those three drinks over a four hour period...I swear I'm not that irresponsible!!) Then I stopped drinking because I had a feeling...

...that my client, who was already eight days postdates, was going to have a baby. I left the growing crowd of celebrators at the third bar, a good two hours after my shot of tequila, I headed straight home to go to bed in anticipation. I was home for no more than 20 minutes when I received a call from my client that she had been having contractions for a couple of hours.

I arrived at her house around 12:45 a.m. to find my client working hard and the student midwife already there. A cervical check revealed about 50% effacement, 2cm dilation and a bulging bag. Her contractions were coming about 3-5 minutes apart and they were hitting her pretty hard.

A couple of hours later she was 90% effaced and 4cm dilated. At this point she had settled into a coping rhythm and she was singing a low song through her contractions with a little tremolo. It was a very beautiful song that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

By 6:45 am, she was 90% effaced, 8cm dilated and heading straight into transition. This was signified by a marked change in her song. It went from low and rhythmic to higher and more sing-song. Still beautiful, but I knew what the change in her song meant. She would be holding her baby very soon! When her cervix was completely dilated, she got a well-deserved break for a few minutes before the pushing contractions started.

There is truly nothing in the world like the sounds a woman makes when she is giving birth. It's virtually impossible to accurately recreate the primal music that accompanies childbirth.

At 7:49 am on Saturday, February 9, 2008, the world was blessed with a brand new little girl. She weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces, was 19 and a quarter inches long and was very pink.

Welcome to our world, Magdalena. Thanks to you, your momma, your big brother, and your bubbe for giving me the honor of being present when you took your first breath.

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