it was the middle of the night. we knew that when he decided it was time to be born, he would waste no time doing so. so i drove like a speed demon down the dark highways up to the oakes' home north of the city, turning a normally 30+ minute drive into something closer to 20. when i came in the front door, kathy looked up from the work of her labor and said, "you must have flown!," then she got right back to work.
kathy and ben's older children were all awake, snuggled sleepy and pajama clad on the L-shape sofa around the birth pool, silently watching. ben was right by kathy's side, offering gentle touch and cool drinks, and midwife leslie also hovered always at hand with her confident support.
within 15 minutes it was evident that birth was imminent, and i patted myself on the back for having arrived so quickly so as not to miss it.
the midwife gently suggested a move to the birth stool because the water in the pool was a bit low and there wasn't time to replenish it. kathy obliged, but sat on it all of two minutes -- all the while pounding her palms onto her knees and saying "uh-uh, uh-uh, no, no" -- before she went right back into the soothing water, and there proceeded to give birth to her son completely on her own. she focused hard, reached down, and delivered him out of her body, through the water, and up to her chest.
soon she was surrounded by the attentive help of her midwife and assistant and all the children who came closer to see their baby brother.
judah completes this beautiful family. and it was such an honor to be present for his arrival, particularly as i have such history with this couple! i've known kathy since kindergarten, and ben nearly as long, as we all grew up going to the same small private school! we never could have guessed then that we'd be sharing such a moment together in our 30s! :)