The call came at 6am.
I was in the car at 6:15am.
Arrived at Mama K.'s house 6:50am.
I begin to unload the car
and begin the set-up
while the Midwife checks out Mama K.
I bring in the birthing stool,
O2 tanks and birth kit,
just as the Midwife is kneeling over
Mama K. who is laboring on her hands and knees
in her room.
She is quiet and focused
with her younger sister, Kate
is loving on her
with warm hands.
I leave to set up the rest
--place the instruments in boiling water on the stove;
lay baby blankets, baby hats, a tiny diaper and socks
on a heating pad and turn it on;
pour witch hazel on the pads for later
and tuck them in the freezer;
get out the towels
a bowl of ice water
for cool compresses
which will feel so good to Mama K.
once she really starts working.
Because, you know,
Labor is hard work.
By the time I get back in the room,
Mama K. is in the labor pool.
There is soft classical music playing.
Papa N. is there,
and Mama K.'s 4 and 2 year old sons
are there too.
She is composed,
she looks so comfortable
I wonder if she's really in labor?
The Midwife says she'll check her cervix
after the next contraction wave...
which is only every ten minutes.
She checks her once
Mama's dilated to 9cm and is stretchy!
Could it be?
She doesn't look like a woman in transition!
She is resting between contractions,
Papa N. is supporting Mama while she changes positions
to a supported squat...
she likes this position
and tries a few pushes.
At first, she is unsure if she's pushing
but soon learns how to push with her body
and makes each contraction count for progress.
"Dig Deep!", says Emily, the other assistant.
"That's right!", says The Midwife.
"Push that baby out!", says Papa.
Sister Kate changes the cool compresses
whispering sisterly love
in Mama K.'s ear.
Everyone needs a sister like Kate.
Mama changes positions to hands and knees--
she's not sure she wants to try that at first,
but then discovers it's easier to push that way
and really likes it...
she's making progress quickly.
Soon we can see the head crown
thru the water
and one more push
the head is out!
one more wave
and there is another son
in the family!
little 7 lb. J. is born!
smiles all around...
the room is filled with love and joy.
Mama stays in the pool with baby
until the placenta is delivered 10 minutes later.
Then we help Mama to the bathroom
then to her bed with clean dry clothes
and dryer-warmed covers...
she melts into the bed
with a serene smile on her lips.
Granma brings in the older brothers
who smile and greet their new comrade.
I can just see these boys growing up together
and all the fun and trouble they will have!
The rest of our time in the home is spent
caring for mom
watching her body recover
and warming the baby skin-to-skin with Papa--
as well as
leaving no trace that a baby was born
in that home.
Sister Kate says
"Wow, this was great!"
We pack up and head home.
Just as we're pulling out of their driveway
a coyote runs across the street
right in front of us.
The sky is gray and white,
I notice snow clouds.
By the time I am home
it is a storm of snow.
Time to settle in for that little family.
There's nowhere they need to go
the home fires are warm this night.