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First Assist

posted Jan 11, 2012, 10:49 AM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated Jan 11, 2012, 10:49 AM ]
It's funny how things just land in your lap, don't you think?  There I was talking to another student at school, when the midwife I work with at a local birth center calls me and texts me to see if I can come assist at a birth later that day. "Sure," I say thinking that would be a fun thing to do tonight.  I have waited for this day to come for so long, that I had forgotten that it could even happen.  So, I get some lunch and go to a postpartum visit with one of my amazing families.  Going about my day like nothing is really any different.  I was surprised about the lack of nerves I was experiencing.  After getting deep into conversation about how to maximize the amount of sleep to new parents can get while caring for their brand new baby, I get a phone call from the birth center that they need me to head on over.  Such is the life of a doula/midwife assistant, I'm always on call and it seems like every time I make plans with friends, family or even clients, I get called away to a birth.  This is especially true when I really want to hang out with someone special like my husband.

So, I explain to my clients that I will need to come back in a few days to finish up with our conversations because duty calls.  They are excited for me and now I am really excited too.  I'm going to assist!  Right now, not tomorrow, yay!  This is going to be fun.  I love birth, truly I do.  I get into the car and call my husband to let him know that I won't be home tonight.  I had to leave a message, which was sad, because I really wanted to tell him in person.  He's going to miss a very important networking mixer tonight and I felt bad.  Why can't babies come when things aren't planned?  Sigh.

I get to the birth center to find mama in the birthing tub moaning and groaning and was immediately put to task charting heart tones, getting more drinking water and reheating her rice sock.  Everything looks great.  Papa is in the tub supporting mama on one side, with her doula on the other.  The head midwife was nearby watching and tells me that she thinks that she's almost complete, the student midwife looks back at me and smiles mouthing the words...  "she's doing so awesome!" 

The she being referred to was the mom, and awesome is right; she was working so hard and doing fantastically. She didn't complain of pain , she just took each contraction one at a time smiling in between.  Just then, she wanted to get out of the tub and was grunting the familiar sounds of pushing.  The room was filled with a new energy.  The mom was wondering when her water would break, which was an awesome moment for me because rarely do I see a mom get to complete in the hospital without the doctors and midwives wanting to break the water and speed things along.  This mom had intact water and was complete and feeling strong urges to push.  I wondered why the mom had come out of "labor land" to inquire about her membranes?  The head midwife indicated that there was really no need to break them and that they would probably break on their own after just a few pushes.  Mom wanted her midwife to break her membranes, she was ready to have her baby.  Her midwife commented on how the mom probably knew it was time.

When the midwife checked on the mom's next push the membranes broke easily and there was a tiny bit of meconium.  This is something that we would normally transfer a mom and baby to the hospital for , but the baby was very low and doing very well.  The midwife talked to the mom about how she had to work really hard to get the baby out, so that we didn't have to transfer her to the hospital and mom nodded her head in agreement.  She didn't want to go anywhere, she just wanted to push her baby out. 

The next 90 minutes were full of intensity.  I charted, while the student midwife took heart tones and the lead midwife gave perineal support. Mom got into her pushing rhythm while we supported her every move.  Out of the bed, onto the birth stool, standing up, laying down and finally squatting her baby out with glorious relief!  The lead midwife hadn't even gotten her new gloves on before the baby came slipping out! The tears and kisses commenced between mom and dad just as their new baby received a little suction to keep her from swallowing meconium.  It was an amazing sight... there I was holding this new precious life in my hands to that she wouldn't wiggle around too much while being suctioned.  I dried her off with blanket after blanket and soon she let out a cry.  

It was an amazing experience, one that I won't forget any time soon.