Monday, May 12, 2008

My First Homebirth

I have experienced my first homebirth! Not with my own child, but I was able to assist a midwife friend at a birth last night. I had mentioned to her back in the fall that I was interested in learning to be a birth assistant and if she needed one and/or wanted to train me then I was game. A little over a month ago she told me that she had a client due in mid-May and wanted to know if I would be ready to start assisting births. I gave her an emphatic "YES"!

We met soon after so she could show me all of her equipment, how to set up a birth, and run through my role during the birth. I also went with her to a prenatal appointment with her client so the client could meet me. Jon said I came back from both meetings glowing.

I was on my way to bed last night and my friend called to say that her client was in labor and that she would call me back when it was time to head over to the mamma's house. I tried to sleep--and did, a little--all the while dreaming that I missed her phone call. She called back at 3:30am and came to pick me up. I had already gathered my stuff together so I just had to finish getting clothes on and waited for her to pick me up.

We got to the house, set up and waited for the mom to birth her baby. Due to client privacy I can't share any details about the mom but her baby was born shortly after 6am and it was beautiful! Before going to the house I was a bundle of adrenaline and nervousness because I wanted to please my midwife friend and do a good job at assisting her throughout labor and birth. I helped keep track of times that the baby was crowning, the head came out, the body was out, the placenta was out, first nursing etc. I held up a light for the midwife when she needed extra light and handed her any supplies she needed for the birth. I even took pictures for the family. Basically I was the go-to girl.

It was one of the most rewarding and adrenalizing experiences I have ever had. It felt very surreal and after I got home I kept wondering if it had really happened. Of course my heavy eyelids were a constant reminder that yes, I was up almost all night.

As a woman who has given birth I knew what to expect but it was enlightening to see it from an outsider's perspective. For example, I was always paranoid about pooping while I was pushing out my babies and knew that the birth attendants would say it was no big deal. But as a mom it still feels a little embarrassing and you don't want to do it. Now that I was a helper during a birth I realize that it really is no big deal. You just clean it away. I teach in my birth classes about all the different stages of labor and it was such a privilege to see someone else go through their own journey of labor and birth. I was also a supporter and advocate for homebirth but had never had one of my own, nor been to one. There is something so natural and pure about having your baby at home. The mom birthed her baby and then eventually moved from the living room to the bedroom to rest with her baby. No poking or prodding by strangers. Just time to enjoy the baby in a familiar environment. Wonderful!

It was amazing to watch her hit transition and to see her handle her contractions as they increased in intensity and her body prepared for her baby to come out. I was a birth junkie before I attended a birth but now I am hooked for life! There is something very worshipful about being an observer of God's creation. I feel very blessed to have been part of such a beautiful event.

I was able to get in 2 short snoozes today but every time I closed my eyes the events of the night kept crowding out my desperate need for sleep. I wondered how midwives do it. I love to sleep and I think that it would be hard to be up all night and then have to be up all day dealing with your own family responsibilities on a consistent basis. I know from reading what other midwives have written that midwifery can take a toll on the family and it isn't an easy calling (for many reasons) but that it is truly rewarding. If it is your calling then I know that God somehow gives you the grace to deal.

Jon asked me if being at the birth inspired me to become a midwife. I don't feel compelled at this point in time to become a midwife but I do take great joy in being an assistant. I am looking forward to doing it again-- and now that I have experienced a birth I have a MUCH better idea about how to do it better next time.

I should have gone to bed an hour ago but I wanted to process my day and share about something that touched my heart. I am truly thankful. God is good.


Darlene said...

That is SOO flippin awesome! GREAT job!!

Sharon M said...

Wow, that's great Amelia! I'm so glad you got to do that.

The Herd said...

That is so amazing you got to go!!! I would love to do the same--or be a doula!

mamabrown said...

After we talked this morning and then read your blog this afternoon, it is too bad that the total sound of excitement isn't as pronounced in the written word as it was conveyed in your voice! So very glad you had this opportunity to be their during the birth. I know you will be thinking about and savoring this memory for a long time. So happy for you, sweetheart! Love you so much!!!!

Anonymous said...

It is a miracle, I say as I look at my belly all full of baby, wondering yet again--"HOW is this huge thing going to come out of me?" ;-)

It is fun to hear about you having a chance to pursue your passion. It will be fun to see all the places God takes you with it.

Amanda said...

That is so exciting! Hopefully you will get to be an assistant again soon. Of course, after you get some sleep! Thanks for sharing your experience.