what is astonishing about birth is that it works at all; that a 6 to 10 lb baby can find it's way out. and so there are times when it seems NOT to work, and when interventions become necessary. that was the case with nicky's first birth, which ended in an emergency cesarean. coming to terms with that outcome was difficult, as it is for many women. though she has since made peace with it, there was a part of her heart that still really wanted a home birth. she comes from a home-birthing family, and that was a really normal idea to her. her husband jake was the one who encouraged her to give it a try with their second baby. he believed that they could do the thing that it seemed couldn't be done the first time around: that this baby could be born vaginally AND at home.
their seeking led them to Yolanda, the city's longest practicing midwife with thousands of births under her belt, and many of them HBACs (home birth after cesarean). her experience and encouragement bolstered their confidence, and they made plans to have this baby at home.
over their entire home while nicky labored was a thick peace, that kind of peace that exists when the Holy Spirit's presence is near, and when a laboring woman is surrounded by a birth team that believes she can do the impossible. jake, me, yolanda, and nicky's mom and sister were all with her as she labored, while her dad and son were playing downstairs. it was a textbook labor, but not an easy one. she had a long-ish pushing stage (which she had never had to do before) to move that baby down and through, but she never complained or whimpered, just pressed on, steady and sure. fearless.
jake was a rock -- supporting her emotionally and physically with such natural ease that i feel he could possibly be one of the world's few male midwives.
when at last baby's head was crowning -- which meant birth was for sure going to happen in the way and place she dreamed of -- she reached down to feel his fuzzy head and gasped with joyful disbelief at how close he was to being in her arms. after delivering the shoulders, yolanda invited nicky to reach down and grab her own baby, which she did!
this was a moment of true triumph and redemption. absolutely beautiful to witness. and the baby at the end... well, he's pure sugar. ;)
so enjoy these photos! know that there are many left out due to nudity, but i think what remains here is still sufficient to tell the story quite well. and there are still lots of them (130 or so... i need to get better at culling things down maybe). grab a cuppa and a box of tissues...
Thanks for riding along on these birth story adventures. I hope that the more we can see birth working well, and mamas surrounded by loving support, the less afraid we can be of it. It's powerful, miraculous, and mysterious, but it is not something to fear.
contact me if you have a fearless birth story you're about to write, and which i can help you document. i'm taking 2 births per month at most, so don't delay.