Every day that I step into the clinic I wonder what birth lies around the corner, what unveiling of the inner most sanctum of a woman's world will I be priviledged to experience.
Most doulas and new students who have experienced hospital births revel in the birth that shows the primal. The woman squattting, the woman shrieking, the woman pushing her baby out on hands and knees. Birth without interference. Birth without the intellectualization.
At MLL I have seen lots of those births when the woman follows the natural flow of her body. Over and over that is what I see. There are a lot of fast births at the clinic. Fast fast fast.
My last shift a woman came in with contractions spaced about every 5 minutes apart that had begun an hour prior, I was the only one to do the labor check. The clinic was a bit busy (understatement) and so I went through the normal set of questions to see what was happening with this womans contraction pattern. This beautiful woman smiled and answered my questions. The only way that I knew she was contracting was that she would take a deep breath at what seemed like the peak of her surges. She was incredibly serene in the midst of what seemed to be intense laboring. About 5 minutes in, after listening to heart tones, I saw a thin sheen of sweat on her forehead and felt her back. She was working hard and the temperature of her skin gave it away.
I checked the front of her chart for any pertinent info (that is where we document if a woman wants a water birth, if she is RH-, etc..) HISTORY OF FAST LABORS written in bold lettering. Ok, well still need to do the intake process.
I felt like I was bothering her a bit with all of the questions required for this process, so I took a minute out to observe really what was going on.
In that minute she stated "ay, I feel something below" her voice became elevated and her smile was gone from her face. She wanted to push.
Ok, time to get to a room.
She walked, rather gingerly, head held high, smile on her face to one of our birth rooms. I called for staff and this woman lay down, was checked for completeness (per protocol) and pushed her baby out into the world. The baby had a nuchal hand, a nuchal cord weighed 8lbs 12 oz and it came gently into my hands despite all of this.
This all occured in the clinic without anyone knowing what was going on besides me, the staff midwife and another student assisting.
And this is not the 1st time this has happened to me, usually I am awoken at 2am, barely have time to put on gloves, and at 2:15 am have slippery beings glide right into my hands.
It is incredbily, quite ordinary.
Sometimes I feel it is a bit dangerous to post stories like this, even though our culture needs to hear more of them. Most of us don't have births like these.
I know, lots of questions, lots of things to ponder. What makes it so easy for this to unfold over and over and over again?
Trust? Faith? A fit body?
And then judgement that we have for ourselves if our birth is not like this, if our birth doesn't unfold so easily, if we are not smiling during contractions.
What key does this woman carry to unlock herself so easily?