I delivered a BABY this week!
Aaaaaand... Let's back up.
When I was pregnant with our first, Patrick, Joe and I took a birthing class together. It was very inspirational about managing pain and going naturally so I wrote up a perfect little birth plan which absolutely DID NOT work out. Labor lasted forever and ever, which gave me plenty of time to get pretty upset with my husband, who was pretty upset that I was being nasty to him (who's in the wrong here? Obviously Joe! You can't take a laboring woman personally), and by the end of a 32-hour labor we were both exhausted. Emotionally exhausted, yes, but I was also physically exhausted, had a c-section, and now a newborn on my hands. Contrary to all our great plans, it was not a great experience!
When Kari got pregnant with their first I informed her that she needed someone besides her loving husband there to be a labor support, and I pretty much told her I would be there whether she liked it or not. I would save their marriage from labor insults and frustrating lack of support! She chose to get an epidural and labored in peace, though, so I was only mildly helpful in cheering her on when it came time to push. She pretty much didn't need me there at all! BUT, it was such a cool experience for ME, I loved being there for a delivery where I wasn't the one on the table, I asked her on each subsequent delivery if I could be there. She said yes, and I ended up being much more helpful during those when epidurals were delayed, or not given at all thanks to disbelieving nurses. Each experience was AWESOME! Maybe not for her, but I really loved being a support and rubbing her back and encouraging her during contractions, and then seeing the delivery always just boggled my mind.
A friend here in Pueblo was due with their third baby and she came to me for some labor advice - her second delivery was a c-section and Pueblo can be a tricky place to have a VBAC, so what doctor did I recommend? Would I recommend a doula? A midwife? How were my own VBAC experiences? I filled her in, recommended getting a doula (we had one when I delivered Eli, she was fantastic), and in the absence of a female family member or a doula I offered myself as a labor coach. To my surprise, she accepted! So we met a few times to discuss her labor plan, talk about her previous deliveries, talk about my previous experiences, and get ready for the big day.
Enter the Big Day.
She texted me around 8 a.m. to say she'd been contracting all night and today was the day! I had just set the kids down for breakfast so I told her I'd finish feeding them and be right over. I got to her house around 8:45; her husband informed me she was upstairs and pretty ticked at him so he was handing off the pregnant lady. She was in her room, timing contractions with an app on her phone, so when one started I hopped right in and massaged her back. When the contraction was over she said she needed to use the bathroom, so I waited in the room and she went across the hall. I could hear her struggle so I called to her to see if she wanted me to start timing a contraction, but instead she called "Kirsta, can you come in here?" Sure! Rub her back through a contraction or something. Instead, sitting on the lavatory, she looked at me with concern and said, unbelievingly, "Am I going to have this baby at home?" Ummmm... no, I don't think so..... I figured she was in transition, where you get all shaky and lightheaded and labor gets crazy, so I told her to husband to get a towel we could sling between her legs to get her to the car, and I would take her pants off to do the slinging, but then looking where that towel would go I immediately changed my story - she was crowning! "Yes, we ARE going to have a baby at home! We need to get you onto the floor here..." At this point her husband asked what he needed to do so I sent him for some towels for the delivery and some pillows to help her be comfortable. He came back quickly, we got her fixed up, and in only another minute she was pushing some more. I was kneeling down on the floor, front and center doing all those things I've witnessed at those 4 deliveries (plus my own 3 VBACS), and within 2 pushes there was a head, a huge gush of fluid, and I delivered the baby!
I mean, SHE delivered the baby, seriously - it would have come whether or not I was in the room. I remember being pretty frustrated at more than a few deliveries that the doctor comes in as you're ready to push, they catch the baby and call it good! Anyone can catch a baby, it's laboring that's tough! But being able to be there, to be the one to catch the baby, was one of the absolute most amazing experiences of my life.