It’s going to be Eli’s first birthday. I’m not Eli’s Mama. I didn’t carry him in my belly but I know his birthday is coming up without looking at a calendar. I feel it in my bones, his birth day anniversary is coming up. How do I know? Why do I FEEL it?
I was his mama’s doula. For a brief few months I spent time with his papa and his big brother and I fell in love with his mama. She is a long legged, soft spoken, organic gal. Honest, she is so honest, purely truthful, even with that sweet turned up smile, even when it’s not what you want to hear.
We haven’t seen each other much since the day Eli was born, but Eli’s mom and I think about each other a lot. We have that kind of connection. We emailed back and forth for a few weeks after Eli’s birth day. There was one email that especially made my day. It says something about the profession and the value of Doulas. Here’s the sweetest words from this powerful beautiful goddess like woman, about me!
You are amazing. I think about what would have gone down without you and can’t imagine. I think your rate should be more like “$100 a sentence and well worth every penny”. No one would believe it until they lived it.
Here is her birth story, The Day Eli Was Born, written by me, the Doula.
Dear Eli, I had the honor of meeting you on your birth day. I was there beside your mom as she breathed you down and hollered you out. She barely waited for her doctor to get into the catchers position. She was surprised that without drugs, completely organic, she preferred to birth you on her hands and knees. Like a tree in the wild she would bend to what nature demanded of her. After Dr. Cobb caught you he gently slid you between your moms’ legs and into her arms. This is the story of your birth day as I remember it. I was the doula.
I met your mom, dad and brother in the autumn of 2011. It was a special meeting; today we were focused on you. Your mom had a vision for your birth day. She had selected the best doctor, one who supported gentle, safe, and natural birthing women. She learned a lot when your big brother, Finn, was born. Since then your mama had studied birth options and learned so much! Your mama was the picture of health, fit in so many ways! Mentally and spiritually balanced, she was emotionally a strong force – that was what I felt when we first met. I also know that Birth is a teacher. You would teach us all something. I knew your mom’s strength would be tested and I wondered how and when.
The testing happened when your due date passed and your mom was now 42 weeks. When you came you came quickly but the waiting to meet you was almost unbearable. You and modern medicine didn’t see eye to eye (1744). We expected you to come around January 4. That day came and went; ten more days came and went. Now the doc was getting anxious and wanted to induce you to come on Sunday, January 22nd. It was Thursday, the 19th when I sat with your mom in the front yard of your home talking things over. We sat in the sun and turned all the possibilities over and over. Your mom so badly wanted to give you an intervention free, undisturbed, technology free, birth. Would she decline the medical advice of her doctor? Would she end up inducing you and enter into the medical system? Even if she put off the procedure a few days? Or would you come before Sunday? Would you and your mom be able to accept whatever the stars and universe had determined? It was a tear filled talk. Surrendering to her hot tears your strong mama surrendered to what will be. Would you and your mom bow to whatever came next and make your birth day the celebration of a life time? We didn’t have to wait long to find out.
The next morning, not 18 hours later, your moms’ surges started. Her contractions were 10 minutes apart all day. At 4PM they changed, not gradually, but almost instantly the contractions were 2 minutes apart. I got a call from your dad at 4PM. I arrived at the house at 4:30. We got to the hospital at 5PM and you were born at 5:37PM! Wow! When you found that baby chute you really wanted to ride it!
My favorite memories of your birth day were when I walk into the house, down the stairs and find your mom in the tub. Right then your amniotic bag of waters release. Your mom said, “I heard a pop, was that my waters?” I figured it was and noticed that the fresh current of water in the tub was clear, a good sign that you were happy. Then I remembered how fast 2nd babies can come after the water bag is broken. That bulging bag of waters that was gently opening the birth canal is gone leaving baby’s hard head to finish the opening process. As you can imagine, your hard head is much more efficient and since you don’t have the cushion of waters you probably wanted to get out NOW! With the next surge your mom starting making those pushy grunting sounds that are usually such welcome sounds. But a home birth wasn‘t mom’s plan. Off we went.
The car ride to the hospital was what I fondly refer to as “Mr. Toads Wild Ride”. Your dad was calm and a great driver. Your mom was on her hands and knees in the back seat of the car. I was in the passenger seat reminding mom to blow, blow, blow (blowing makes pushing impossible). Even without actively pushing the contractions were bringing you downward. I’ve been to over 300 births and have not caught a baby. I know how to catch a baby and thought that day I would catch my first baby – you. I prepared your mom to catch you. I knew she could do it. It would’ve been preferable to just landing on the back seat of the car. Your dad pulled up to the Emergency Entrance to the hospital. If your mom wished for you to be born at this lovely hospital, then I’d rather it be in a room and not in the parking lot or hallway. Your mom somehow walked through the hospital doors before the next surge and assumed her hands and knees position right there on the floor in the Emergency Room waiting room. Soon she was wheeled up to Labor and Delivery and into room 511. She was checked by a nurse to be 10 centimeters or completely dilated (duh!). You were at station +1. Wait! Dr. Cobb wasn’t here. The party couldn’t start without Dr. Cobb. Oh well, it was your party and however, whenever you wanted it to happen was fine with us. As the nurses did their obligatory admission stuff, your mom breathed, pushed, blew through contractions. The questions from nurses seemed endless but the distraction was probably why Dr. Cobb was able to arrive and get in his catching position and there you were!
Such a holy moment in time!
The world shifted.
The world paused.
Eli was born!
You were beautiful, pink and chunky. You were quiet and alert, looking at mom for awhile and then meeting dad and grabbing his fingers. The familiar voices of your parents were calming and you made the transition from your watery world to this side, earth side, seem easy. Your mom made giving birth look easy too. No I.V. needed (although they tried AFTER you were born), not one medical thing was done to your mom or you before you were born. She got her organic birth!
Thank you Eli, Robin, Sarah and Finn for allowing me to be a part of your family for this season of new life! I will always cherish these memories and keep you all in my heart and prayers.
Love, Rosie Peterson