I had the honor to be at a birth last spring and it was one of those painful as fuck types to watch, because mama was working so hard and it was an epically painful back labor, and also because I knew a transfer (and possibly a surgical birth) was going to really throw her for a loop. LOOP. Like a Loop of doom. Ugh.
So afterwards, this creative and innovative lady created healing rituals to let the pressure out of all these bottled emotions. The first was a Rebirth Ceremony, and if you think stuff like this doesn’t help, I’d invite you to pop over and give this talk about how the brain works a listen. Or a read.
Anyway, this is what it looks like in pictures, and letters to herself. Thank you Blue for sharing this journey with me. And you, gentle reader.
Letter to herself:
Dear Body, I pray that some day I will learn to trust you again. I still don’t understand why things happened the way they did. Why I was in so much pain from the beginning. Why I felt to push when I wasn’t ready. Why my baby was in distress in the only thing that felt right in my labor. Why I felt that you failed me. But then I remember that for nine months, you grew the most perfect baby. That we were both healthy. That you’ve healed beautifully after a major surgery. And although it may be little, you are providing nourishment to my son. I understand I may never have answers to my questions, but I hope that some day I may find not only closure, but peace. And I hope that peace brings trust. Enough trust to some day let you lead me through a natural birth.
And Thats How You Have A Vaginal Breech Delivery in Houston To hear Angela tell it, her baby called me to him as her doula, crafting the perfect birth team. And later he called the perfect doctor to him, because if the stars and moon had not lined up just so, this birth would of had a way different ending. Angela is a gifted meditation teacher, and she co~teaches with her horse Takoda, so we hit it off well and I was pumped to be her doula. Her husband Tracey wasn’t quite as sold in the beginning on me as the best doula fit, but in the end it took all key players and I was super glad that i had landed this doula gig. Thank you Tracey for taking a chance with me. On Thursday morning during an ENOURMOUS storm like we get in Houston, I started getting texts that A’s water was leaking, mild contractions. She was 39 weeks, first baby, and I seriously was like we have at least another two weeks, just go back to sleep, its the storm and just probably vaginal goodge in over drive. Two hours later I get a phone call from her hubs, and he’s like, “Uh no Rowan, this is strong.” So we strategize a plan cause by now we are gonna need an ark to get to the medical center, and they are an hour away, but this papa is a TEXAS STUD and he assures me that he can get her to the hospital in his Texas sized truck. So I’m all like, well, could you come pick me up? Because I’m pretty sure the Metro Rail does not have submarine capacity and my Honda Element is pretty low, and Rock Steady says, “sure, see ya.” They swing by and get me, and Angela is working hard in the front seat of the truck, and I am NOT DIGGING AT ALL the way her belly looks, but when I try to crawl over into the front seat of the big truck she says,” DONT TOUCH ME ROWAN!!!” which from this lady was some strong words. So I sat back nicely into my chair. Hubs drops Mama A and I at the front door of the hospital in the med center, and these crazy town valets are all like “SIT DOWN!” and keep telling us we need a wheel chair, and then again a transport aide accosts us and tell us we NEED a wheel chair, that she has to SIT DOWN, to which I pretty much tell them to step off, I have it handled. Contractions are coming every two minutes or so, and she is doing so well, and also telling me she’s ready for this to be over. Oh, and that she doesn’t want to sit down. I snag her a wheel chair, sling all our stuff in it, the wheel chair stabilizes her walking, and gives her something to hold onto during contractions (I locked the wheels), and she reiterates that for serious she does not want to sit down. We run into PJ the Placenta Picker Upper in the lobby, and I let her know we’ll be needing her soon. A couple of detours later we end up in triage, hubs catches up with us, and right before she gets checked, I suggest she grab a pee. I go in with her to the bathroom, and she’s getting sweaty and red faced and frankly I’m concerned because this woman has been so smooth and quiet and surreal in her calmness, and now she’s getting a little erratic. When she sits her undies reveal a black tarry mess, baby poop, so I grab the midwife and reassure Angela that we need to let the midwife see this. The midwife gets her onto the bed, and I can tell by the check that 1) something’s up and 2) that baby is real LOOOOOOOW. Midwife calls for an ultrasound, and a quickie reveals that baby is breech, and that the midwife had in fact felt a bum. Hospital policy is all breech births are surgical births, so we are quickly running down the hallway to the elevator for the next floor, the surgical floor. I’m running after grabbing all the bags including the midwifes (yes, I accidentally stole her purse) and whispering in Tracey’s ear that the only slim chance in hell we have for a vaginal birth is if an experienced doctor is the back up and will allow it. No such luck, newer totally awesome doctor is the doc on call. Staring down the gun of a C Section. We get in the surgical prep suite, and y’all its a tiny tiny room and there are like 5-8 people in there, and now mama is saying, “Its burning!!!’ and the midwife is encouraging her not to push and keeping her hand close by, and that’s when the midwife says, “I think we are going to probably have a general anesthesia, it’s to late for an epidural.” Y’all, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t look into the eyes of this beautiful, effervescent woman after the fact and tell her that if she had just pushed her baby out in that OR prep room that she could of avoided a general anesthesia surgical birth. So I’m all shaking, standing next to her, and I put my lips to her ear and say, “You still have choices. If you don’t want a surgical birth, push.” And there is pretty much no part of me that didn’t think that bad ass midwife couldn’t deliver this baby. And I’m right here, happy to assist. The midwife, by the way, didn’t like me saying this at all. And said, “What are you telling her Rowan?” to which I replied, “That she has choices, but she’s gotta own them.” So now Angela is saying, “My baby’s ok? Why are we doing this? Why am i getting a c-section?!!!!” and the nurse starts yell-telling her that she has an unproven pelvis, that the baby’s head could get entrapped, and is over talking everyone else. I get it, it’s an excitable moment. So now Angela is yelling, “I don’t want a c-section, I can do it, I can do it, my baby’s ok, I can do it,” and then the sea of people parts and a kind faced older doctor who immediately brings a sense of peace and calm to the room walks in. And by older I mean more my age as opposed to my adult children. The doc looks at mama for a long moment, and then the midwife, who says, “Small baby, right here, roomy pelvis,” and stands back and looks. And looks. “I can do it, I can do it!” More looking. And then after a small eternity doc says, “I’ll deliver vaginally if you only listen to me,” and Angela looks at her husband, says, “What do you think?” to which Rock Steady replies, “I think you should push our baby out.” Lets just think about this for a minute. It is totally hitting the fan, and everyone is either telling you that your baby’s head is gonna get stuck in your wife’s vag or something else might go really wrong, and he says, “Push our baby out.” He was educated, he’d read the books, gone to class, but mostly, he believed in his wife. He believed in his wife. That was stronger than all the circus going on around them. #RockSteady So now it’s really crazy town in there, because we need to get her off the surgery transport bed and onto a different bed, one that breaks down for delivery. She gets moved over, Rock Steady on one side, me hand holding and leg holding on the other side, and midwife and Miagi doctor coach her to push against closed mouth, pressed lips. Out of her vagina comes a blue scrotum, and all I can think of is that OF COURSE this man has a baby that’s born balls first. Sheesh. Then we have a little tush, and Papa says to Mama, “Boo, I see him, I see our baby!” with a little hitch in his voice and it was so sweet. Next a torso and then some legs that are STICK STRAIGHT and kinda kicking/goose stepping, and when only the head remains and the anxiety is through the roof and it is WALL TO WALL people, like really think a Black Friday rush at the electronics store, Angela says, “I’m tired, I can’t push anymore!” Panic at the disco. Seriously, the energy of the room was like flames from a Nasa rocket at blast off. Anxiety to the max. I think to myself, no way sister, one more push and she’s gonna have a baby in her arms, so I encourage her to have one more strong push, push hard with a closed mouth, and pop, out comes the baby! A little cheer goes out, but its kinda subdued, so somewhere between a golf clap and a tennis cheer, because everyone who wasn’t busy in all of Houston is now in this room, and we are all AMAZED at this woman and her husband, and the doctor and midwife. Baby and mama and papa are cooing and loving up, and he’s on her chest and pinking up, and I can see where his little foot has been up by his ear, his legs jutting out like little sticks. At one point the doctor tells me to put her leg down, which I had completely forgotten I was even holding, and starts to address the placenta. I look over at the midwife, and mouth one word,” Fuuuuuuuck,” because as she says “The stars and moon aligned, and we got a magical birth,” and I don’t even know who Dawn is, but I want to kiss her on the mouth. Why? Because the doctor, the one doc of a small pool who even has breech delivery privileges at this hospital, who somehow happened to be on another floor, was called by Dawn, and told what was going on. THANK YOU! She maybe doesn’t want a kiss from a queer doula, but I officially from now until the end of time super heart her. #LOVEFOREVAH The best description I have for the doc comes from Rock Steady, who said, “That doc, he was just as cool as the other side of the pillow.” You got that right. Thank you Tracey, Angela and baby Garner for inviting me to the party. I’m a better person for being there. #gratitude. Wanna know more about Rowan’s doula services? http://doulamatch.net/profile/12605/rowan-twosisters
2339 Commerce St. Suite 135
Houston TX 77002
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w/Preggers Can Be Choosers