It’s been awhile since I posted a birth story, and here we are. Do you believe my job is an important one? When I dropped off the USB to this mom we chatted for a tad about the birth. I was telling her my point of view and she honestly could not remember half of what I was recalling. Without these images she would have a very limited physical recollection from the birth of her daughter. If you are a parent you most likely have experienced your memory fading, the details becomes hazy and hard to focus on. I preserve these moments for you forever. Welcome to the Portland Birth Story of Merrick Brigid.
3:30pm – Arrival.
4:00pm – Arrival.
Safe inside the birth center and the midwives are breaking Sarah’s water as I watch a storm begin to roll in. Glad that I made it here early instead of stuck in standstill traffic on the freeway.
5:15pm – Early Labor.
Sarah tenderly runs her hand over her bump. I always wonder if moms realize that this might be one of the last times they feel baby inside rather than outside.
5:45pm – Early Labor.
Mary (midwife), Jacqueline (birth assistant), and I are watching to see if Sarah ‘s labor will start progressing after having her water broken. She wants to get in the tub and usually this means things can slow down. Time for me to go grab some dinner, this might be a middle of the night event! I let everyone know that I am just a phone call away and will be right down the road.
6:45pm – Labor.
As I’m eating my last bite of dinner Jacqueline calls my phone and tells me I better get back to the birth center. Glad I took a break to eat when I did – in a manner of 30 minutes Sarah went from relaxed in the tub to progressing quickly.
7:00m – Labor.
During my own birth class my doula really stressed the fact that we neeeeeed to take a breather and break between contractions or we won’t have any energy for what happens later. I take a deep sigh with Sarah, she has more hard work to come and I hope she can feel my energy pouring into her.
7:30m – Active Labor.
I can see the contractions rocking her body. She is still trying to remain guarded – grin and bear it in a way. “Okay okay, this isn’t too bad, just get through this next one.” You can practically hear her inner dialogue.
8:00pm – Transition.
Restful periods are starting to feel few and far between.
That peanut ball. I mean, it’s great, but I wonder who thought about inventing it. When I was in the hospital they gave me a peanut ball that must have been meant for someone over 6 feet tall because it was way too big and annoyed me more than anything.
8:30pm – Transition.
Ryan is an amazing partner and husband. Each time she cries out he is right there holding her in just the right spot. Sarah just kind of melts into him and lets go of control for the briefest second. Their exhale is the same, their teamwork is bringing that baby closer.
8:45pm – Transition.
“Midwifery is a balancing act between art, science, and care.” This is the second birth I’ve attended with Mary and she embraces all of these and so much more. She is strong and supportive when you need a push, she is tender when you need a breath. When I left to get dinner I told her I’d be in the area but that this would probably be a midnight baby. She smirked and said, “You never know.” Her intuition is beyond.
9:00pm – Transition.
For the last few hours this man has not eaten, he has not used the restroom, and he is tired. Our partners labor so hard right alongside us. Ryan is ready to meet his baby. Are you ready to meet this baby?
9:15pm – BIRTH.
“I can’t do this anymore.” My eyes were welling up because she was so exhausted and I felt so so so hard. I know she’s capable, and I could have switched places to push for one minute I would have. But, SHE’S HERE! Sarah, you are stronger than you know, and this baby is lucky to have you.
9:16pm – Post-Birth.
Do you think birth centers are full of hippies who just leave everything up to good energy? Oh no, these ladies are trained, fully equipped and I am always amazed at what can materialize as if out of nowhere.
Sometimes baby needs a little oxygen, and that’s ok. (This was one of the parts that Sarah told me she didn’t remember happening. I was so surprised because she is is literally looking at her daughter’s face.)
9:25pm – Postpartum.
Are they seriously doing the same thing with their hands? Yep. Man, I still can’t believe I happened to catch this moment.
9:30pm – Postpartum.
Midwives are crazy about placenta. Like, “Tom Cruise Jumping on a Couch” in love with placenta. In love enough to stop and pose themselves for this photo 😃
9:40pm – Postpartum.
That hair. The leftover vernix. Dad reaching out to pick up his daughter. (The lovely manicure on Sarah ‘s hands).
10:00pm – Postpartum.
Soaking it all in…just how many fingers can he be wrapped around? Because I’m pretty sure he’s caught on every single one. And with good measure – she is everything good in this life.
10:05pm – Postpartum.
There is nothing quite so sweet than tiny, baby feet.
10:10pm – Postpartum.
Family have been waiting with anticipation. This truly is a cool age of technology that you can share the newest member with everyone without them even getting out of their pajamas. I’m down with that.
10:15pm – Postpartum.
These two are so enamored and I have the biggest smile on my face. A brand new family and I was there to see it happen! Gotta pinch myself…yep, this is really my job. Birth is empowering, not just for the parents, but for the birth workers too.
11:30pm – Postpartum.
“I will laugh with you
see you smile
be your best friend
hold your hand
and be with you
forever.” There is no greater bond, for me, to document than watching a woman become a mother. It could be the first, third, or eighth time she has done it, but it is beautiful and unique all over again every single time.
11:40pm – Postpartum.
Live. Love. Latch…on to mom’s hand 💛
11:45pm – Postpartum.
And so concludes the Birth Story of Merrick Brigid.
Kudos and love to Sarah + Ryan for being so open in having me share such a vulnerable, private time with all of you.
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