I'm so lucky. I get to fall in love over and over again. Just when I think my heart can't burst anymore with love and protection and awe, it does. I meet a new couple, we talk about their birth plans and who they are and this new amazing thing happening and I start to fall in love. I see my Mama's glow like a new bride during their maternity photos and then their birthing time begins. I get to be with them for hours and remember my own births and how my own husband held my hand and comforted me. And I stand in honor as these warrior women rise up to their birthing journey. It is theirs, it is their story and is everything. I get to document this transformation and it is flooring.
I met this family last fall amidst my own families displacement. I had meant to take off the month of December and so thought that if I didn't feel connected I would refer them to someone else, especially since a Christmas Eve due date would would be a hard sell to my husband. But of course, I knew after our meeting that I could not say no if they wanted to to hire me.
So on a hazy morning on New Year's Eve, the call came in and I rose and headed up the road to be with this family. Having my friend as their doula was icing on the cake. We spent the morning chatting with them off and on, weaving in and out to support and encourage as the day progressed. We told stories and laughed and watched this strong woman tackle day 3 of laboring with grace and resilience. We found out she's ran 8 marathons, biked 87 miles in a day, and at 6 months pregnant hiked part of the Appalachian Trail! She also gets the award for best birthing time music mix tape. You understand something about a person from the music they are drawn to. We connect over music, at concerts, hanging out with friends and more than once I had to stop myself from singing along.
We headed to the hospital after she walked the tread mill and played ping pong, which we estimated was when she hit transition! Her husband is one of the most supportive Dads I've seen, although they are all so good, so sweet and strong, I felt his pride and esteem for her. This man beholds his wife and it was such a tender palpable thing to witness.
There are so many things to say with this birth. The doctor was patient and expressed true joy when this Mama was ready to push her baby out. The nurses were hands off and let us support her in the way she wanted. Her family and friends spent the night in the waiting room and there wasn't a dry eye at the birth of this boy. For 31 straight hours she did not falter, did everything she could to birth her son in the way she had set out to.
She crossed the finish line, with weak knees and a strong heart.
Sweet baby Jackson was my first birth of this wonderful New Year. At 8:22 am he made a family and weighed exactly the same as his Papa did at birth and looks just like him.
Tonight I fell in love with you and all the thing I never knew. -AS