Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Births & Blessings

Photograph by Robin Baker
I haven't blogged in awhile but I have kept true to my old fashioned journal. Also I confess my Facebook addiction eats up way too much of my time. I've missed blogging. In these final days of 2014 I would like to share a few important memories that I also would like to document and hey maybe someone out there will read this and feel some connection to the story or to me or to their present situation. Isn't that why we write and read, to feel connected? I love to read. I love to feel like the writer is writing about me or I like to read things that stretch me and make me learn or help me to examine my beliefs. Maybe a belief out there that I never really looked at, that is no longer necessary, maybe holding me back or causing me and those I love pain. Maybe there is a belief out there that wants to bring me more joy, love, peace. My wish is that you have more of all that in 2015!

...When did I write that last paragraph? What interrupted me? I'm laughing out loud. I've learned to laugh at myself more, at my attention deficit disorder and my 'too many to count' imperfections. Hold on, off I go to gather my journals. I can't find my leather one. It's precious and full of birth stories and I am sure it will surface. But I found other pieces of stories to share with you. As I look forward to 2015 I want to give thanks to God for all the ways He blessed me in 2014. When I sit under the stars some nights and talk to God here is the abbreviated thank you list, "Thanks for my grandchildren, my children, my parents, my siblings, my nephews and nieces, extended family and friends near and far, a roof over my head, my dogs, cat, chickens, for my day job and for calling me to birth work, to Doula work!"

This year I want to thank every woman who invited me to accompany her on her birthing journey. Thank you to her partner who welcomed me with open arms and who allowed me to witness some tearfully tender, intimate, moments between the two of you. In our prenatal time I heard about your love story, sometimes your first kiss, sometimes your proposal, but always in the partners words, in that voice she loves. I love those prenatal hours when we can talk about everything under the sun. Where we came from. Where we're going. Our most painful and passionate moments. I know we won't be able to speak like this in labor. Labor is when we breathe. We speak softly and use words sparingly. Our hearts are already entwined. We share looks and hands signals so as not to disturb the birth process. Your beloved.

Thank you to each baby who I was honored to meet on that special birth day! Thank you Scout, Fletcher, Ember, Anna, Faith, Elijah, Donovan, Olivia, Brielle, Bodie, Liam & Elena (vaginal born twins), Mason, Cameron and Alexis. I'll love you forever!

I was surprised at so many turns during each of your journeys earth side! You taught me so much! Some of you came so fast that I have needed to re-examine my prenatal time spent preparing parents for the normally long stages of labor when they can (usually) linger on their favorite walking trail, and carry on and "live life until you get the urge to push". One of you came when I stepped out of the hospital room into the hallway for a moment. I was talking to your grandma on the phone, reassuring her that all was well. It was meant to be that you would come with just your mama and daddy together with your nurse. After all your sister had been born to a room full of family and you wanted to be more private. It was special because daddy had just returned from his deployment. He'd missed so much but he didn't miss your quick-as-a-wink birth!

You all brought me to my knees. I heard your mama's heart, her deep desire to birth you vaginally, or naturally, or standing on her head!  Hahaha! got cha there! Oh how I wanted what she wanted!! I knew your story would go down in history, I like to call it "herstory" because it is your mama's story. Your birth story will be told and retold for generations and we all know that your mama is a brave, strong, birthing warrior, fearless, and so confident! But as ancient woman-to-woman care made good sense to her, she paid me well to help ensure this day would be all she hoped. Not all went as planned. Three of you were born by Cesarean birth; one emergency Cesarean, one repeat Cesarean and one primary Cesarean. I firmly believe that there is a time and a season for everything under heaven. And I believe there is a reason that you, my three Cesarean babies, were born this way. Not what your mama expected or wanted but in that decision she was born a mommy, answering your call for help as she always will. We know you did your very best to come safely into our arms and I know your mom and daddy did their best to help you come in the safest way for you and I know I did my best so that is that, you came in the perfect way for you!

Each of your mama's was, in my mind, holding on to the hand of God, calling to her God and exhibiting supernatural powers when doing the work of birthing you! I saw wonders, miracles, the unthinkable happen before my eyes. Then you were here, in her arms.

Statistics don't mean much when I consider your individual labors, births, families, and your very unique and special personalities. But just for the books 81% of you were vaginal births, 19% were Cesarean births. Of those born vaginally 25% of you were naturally born and 56% of your mama's had some form of medical intervention, like medication to start or speed up labor or medication for pain, or artificial rupture of membranes, or assisted birth with suction. Two of you were born at Birth Centers, Fourteen of you were born in hospitals, Two of you were Vaginal Births After Cesarean (one VBAC, one VBA2C). Four of you were caught by a midwife. One of my clients this year was a repeat client who I've had the pleasure of being invited to all three of her children's births! You can't imagine how special this birth was! Baby was born into water, caught by her Mama. I'm looking forward to two repeat clients (that I know of) in 2015!

One of your birth notes read:
 Text @ 10:30PM, waters leaking.  2AM phone chat. Mom sounds great!  It sounds like Dad is up and keeping her company.  Surges 6 mins. apart, still short. Walking, hands & knees, watching TV, showered. Didn't like ball, doesn't want touching. Will try heating pad. Very exciting happy day! Baby born @ 6:16AM
Even after I arrived at your home, sometime between 3AM and 4AM, your mom was acting typical of early labor. But it was her desire to go to hospital. I have learned to always do what a birthing woman wants, her instincts are usually right on! We got there just in time!

Thanks for sharing this walk down memory lane with me. Thank you for remembering to send prayers my way throughout the coming year. I will do the same for you. Thank you to my teachers, besides the Mama's and Babies. Thanks to teachers like my Doula Sisters (you know who you are), my Midwife friends like Joni Nichols, Nicole Morales, Jewel Hernandez, Thanks for the Rebozo training Gena Kirby, I cannot say how many times I reference your work Anna Verwaal, and Karen Strange, and Gail Tully of Spinning Babies, and Pam England and Virginia Bobro of Birthing From Within. Mostly thank you to my mom who showed me when she carried each of my seven siblings, in her belly and in her arms, how to be a soft, loving, strong and wise woman and mother, how pregnancy is a privilege, birth is a miracle, and life is a gift.

Happy New Year All! Here are some moments from 2014

My mom and me

My daughter and grandson

My son and grandson

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