There are few things that will have me happily tramping through more than fourteen inches of snow at eleven o’clock at night. A woman in labor is definitely one.
Over a week ago, we had a storm that dumped more than twelve inches of snow on us. It caused our first snow in ever. What I didn’t mention is that just as I was getting for bed the night of the snow in, I received the call that my neighbor’s water broke.
I hit giddy super speed mode. Seriously.
Running around grabbing the necessary items. No, I wasn’t going to deliver the baby, but I was blessed to be the doula and birth photographer. And when I say blessed, I really mean blessed.
I will also never forget Anna’s labor and Jacob’s birth.
As I trekked through snow that was above my knees in some spots, I was giggling and shouting, “This is the best ever!” over and over. Paul was laughing behind me. He escorted me to the barbed wire fence to be sure I squeezed through. Yup, seriously.
Then I clamored over the next fence and kept going. All uphill. All in crazy amounts of snow. I’m not making this up. How Little House on the Prairie of me, yes?!
I arrived to a smiling, beautiful pregnant woman who was also giddy. Isn’t she adorable?
Her husband, Jason, gathered a few thing and took care of a few tasks around the house. Thankfully, Anna had convinced him to shovel out the driveway an hour earlier. Still, when we did leave, we got stuck just before the road. Jason shoveled. I prayed. Anna clapped her hands while saying “I’m so excited. It’s time to have Jacob!” with the biggest grin on her face.
Clearly, she was in early labor with no contractions yet.
Contractions hit when we were halfway to Albuquerque. She breathed and closed her eyes. In between, she called her mom in Utah and the hospital to tell them she was on the way, chatting with excitement and joy.
I absolutely LOVE watching women give birth. Truly. There is nothing quite so amazing.
Anna’s labor was special to me in a unique way because she had had two c-sections previously and one natural birth. All of her babies are breech for extended periods.
The first boy stayed breech, so she had a c-section. Second boy flipped, so she was able to deliver naturally. Third boy didn’t flip, so she had her second c-section. This boy was breech, but a chiropractor was able to flip him six weeks earlier and he stayed head down, thankfully. So… off to have a natural birth, LORD willing.
I was thrilled that Anna was going for a 2VBAC and her doctor was supportive. Super wonderful! While I am grateful for c-sections and advocate for making them beautiful and natural, I still prefer natural births when possible. And I am a huge fan of women not be required to have c-sections once they’ve had one. Or two.
And I was going to get to be a part of it, in a small way, even more wonderful!
Anna wanted to labor in the tub for as long as possible. At first, the doctor wasn’t going to let her because he needed to monitor the baby. As God would have it, the nurse searched for a water monitor and found it. Then went to find batteries for it. Answer to prayer.
As a doula, my job is to be the woman’s support in every way possible. I am to help her in the ways she desires. It is a privilege and a responsibility I don’t take lightly. Since Anna and I had met the week before, I knew she was concerned about back labor. She suffered for a long time with it in her natural delivery and was scared of having it again.
Jason and I provided counter pressure on the bed for awhile. Then Jason pressed in the tub. Then back in the bed.
The back pain was incredibly intense and so the anesthesiologist gave Anna an epidural. As she was having it put in, I noticed that Anna looked, sounded, and behaved differently. Seriously. Though she had been at a seven less than an hour earlier, I knew.
The nurse and I made eye contact. We knew. It was time for Jacob’s arrival. Anna knew too.
Though the epidural didn’t do all she had hoped, it did take Anna’s back labor away, thankfully.
It was time to push. Time to bring forth her fourth son. Time to meet Jacob.
It just never gets old seeing a woman give birth. Never.
It just never gets old seeing a baby being born. Never.
It just never gets old seeing a family grow. Never.
To be there for a labor and delivery is a huge gift. To be there when a woman does something many women don’t try and manydoctors don’t allow, raised the bar for me. To hear the doctor say, “Well, Anna just joined a very select club. Two c-sections and then a natural birth. Wonderful.”
Yeah, that was pretty stinkin’ great. Seriously.
Even though I was up for twenty-six hours straight, I loved every minute of it. From the hike in the snow. To the gaze of Jacob’s parents as they filled with gratitude. To bed at a friend’s.
What a gift the entire ten hours was to me. I am grateful to Anna and Jason for allowing me to be by their sides.
I’d trek through the snow all over again to witness the beauty of the entire experience.
Isn’t childbirth amazing and worth a snow hike?