A beautiful mama had a successful VBAC last week and I was privileged to be there with her. As I handed the baby to his mama she began to cry. Now there are a lot of fantastic things about being a midwife but seeing the joy on a woman’s face when she does something she wasn’t sure she could do, something really hard and then she rocks it – that is so, so sweet.
I love it when a mother weeps at the sight of her newborn baby. It reminds me of when I first wanted to be a midwife – when I became a mother.
Way, way back in the olden days, when I was just a young slip of a thing I went to a rural Canadian hospital to have my first baby. I had read a lot about natural childbirth and totally believed I had the whole thing figured out.
On the morning that the contractions started I jumped in the shower, curled my hair, put on my makeup and waited in all my glory for my husband to get home from work to take me to the hospital.
I fully believed that in a few hours I would be holding my newborn in my arms, hair still curled back into Farrah Fawcett waves, makeup glowing. But no.
The nurses weren’t very impressed with what they found when they checked my cervix and they wanted to send me home. We lived a town away, a good 20 minute drive, which looking back doesn’t seem that far, but on a cold autumn Canadian evening the nurse just didn’t have the heart to do it.
So I stayed at the hospital that night and the next night I was still there. My friend’s husband was the doctor and she told me later that after dinner she told him he had better go see me. Although I had been contracting for over 24 hours I wasn’t making much progress.
He took my husband into his office and pulled out some big, fat textbooks to look up statistics and bell curves and there was talk about cesarean delivery and such, an option that wasn’t available except by ambulance ride to Calgary.
Meanwhile I had a ride on a gurney to get an x-ray of my pelvis. Remember this was in the olden days, before routine ultrasound. I had already snuck a look at my prenatal chart and read that I had a roomy, bony pelvis and the x-ray concurred – lots of room for a baby.
As it turns out, getting up and rolling around on an x-ray machine is exactly the kind of movement needed to get a baby moving into a great position to be born. I had a few agonizing contractions on the way back to my labor room and when I got there I headed straight for the bathroom. I needed to go!
That’s when I had a light bulb over the head moment: I had read this in the childbirth books. Feeling like you need to poop means you are fully dilated and need to push.
I asked the incredulous nurse to check me and when she did she wheeled me straight into the delivery room where I pushed out my 8 pound baby boy in two pushes (that’s how I remember it anyway).
If I live to be 100 years old I’ll never forget the feelings I had when I became a mother. The exhilaration, the relief, the happiness was so gratifying after all the pain. I was the strongest, purest, motherliest of mothers that ever had a baby. My babe was the most beautiful, sweet, good baby the world had ever seen. I loved him so much I couldn’t stop staring at him. I put him to my breast and the deal was sealed into a package deal. I was a new person, a mother, so full of joy I couldn’t sleep. Literally. For the next 18 months. But that’s another story.