My love for birth is not so much about the babies. Yes, they are cute and squishy but it's more about the transformative aspects of their newness that gets me in the feels. The moments when they breathe for the first time and their skin feels the air, and they see the light, and hear the sounds. They crossed a threshold from a water world to a world of air. Their entire beings and their mother's entire being changed and became profoundly bigger, more, different, exposed, raw, fuller. That shimmery, surreal doorway when the season of pregnancy ends and earthside life begins.
As a birth doula, I treasure and take pride in being a guardian of those moments. I see them and honor them and hold that space as you move through. I speak up to help you remember when to be assertive about your wishes even if the doctor clamps the cord anyways, even after you speak up saying to please to just wait a bit longer. I also hear you and honor your disappointment when we talk about it later. Your feelings matter and are valid.
This photo is a perfect example of what I love about birth work. That baby is downright gooey and messy but what a magical moment of change as that very first breath of oxygen molecules fill her lungs. That first cry when her parent's hearts burst wide open. I honor both the magical and the messy because, especially in birth, you can't have one without the other and I think that is the case with a lot of transformative events in life.
This particular doctor has total shit bedside manner but as I looked at the photos of this sweet baby in his hands, his hands are kind and gentle. I remember him wiping and stimulating her to breathe with a kindness that does not always get transferred to the parents. He is good at saving the day but not so nice about it, however he seems to be sweet with the babies for the brief moments that they are in his hands.
That bursting wide open is happening right here as these two meet their daughter.
This birth was titled "Baby Fest 2017" and it came in the middle of three births for me that weekend. So, totally a Baby Fest weekend for me! Sarah and David had color changing lights going in the room and lots of plans to have a fun and happy party atmosphere in the room. Then Miss Della decided to make a fast entrance and only the festival lights were hung. A celebratory beer may or may not have been consumed after her arrival.......
She transitioned well but needed a bit of blow-by oxygen to keep her oxygen saturation numbers up. I did learn from the nurse practitioner that blow-by oxygen makes babies cold and that they might stay in the warmer longer. Next time I will remember to suggest that the parents suggest a blanket on their baby to help keep that heat in. Babies have a hard time regulating their temperature when they are brand new.
The 4th trimester is truly a thing. Babies are still so vulnerable for the first few months and need you to help regulate their temperatures, heart rate, and respirations and why they demand to be held pretty much all of the time. The benefit to mothers is that they are forced to sit and nurse their babies and REST!
Together at last.
Feeling accomplished and blissed out.
Little wrinkly hands holding onto mama.
This may be one of my favorite photos of all time. That moment of finally being a family of three.
Checking her out and finally getting to see all of her.
Folded ears and fuzzy hair.
Nurse Mackenzie was lovely and it was a perfect last birth for her to attend at Harrison before she moves to Portland.
David is now an expert at putting a diaper on a wiggly little baby.
The family transferred care from Salmonberry Birth Center to Harrison Hospital but the midwives are still there for families. It was lovely to decompress with midwife Holly after the birth.
Talking about the birth is so fun!
Sarah made an amazing heart shaped placenta with cool little spiral nodules on the cord.
The world is a better place because you are in it, sweet baby Della. It has been a pleasure to be a part of your birth story. Thank you to the family for allowing me to post the photos of their birth. I love to snap photos at births when I get a chance. We laughed about how a bunch of Washingtonians were complaining about the sun being too bright in the room but it did make for fabulous light for photos.