It’s an early October morning. My daughter and her husband are picking me up to head to the hospital. This is it! THE day.
I’d just started my doula training earlier that month. I was green, and this would be my first birth…first birth as a practicing doula, and first birth of a grandchild. With 17 years having passed since I gave birth to my youngest, I was a little rusty.
The hospital hadn’t changed much, but the practices and procedures within had. I remember asking the midwife how often they would do a cervical check. She responded that they don’t do them unless they are necessary or the birthing person requests it. How refreshing!
They had these new mobile monitors that could even go in the tub or shower. Amazing! I was fascinated at every turn…
My daughter and her husband had a birth plan. A well thought out guideline for everything they did want, and everything they didn’t want. I studied that plan over and over, I wanted to make sure it would be followed as best as possible.
After pitocin was started, contractions came steadily. The nurses were wonderful, reminding her of all the options she had while laboring. We walked, we swayed, she got in the tub. Her midwife came regularly to check in.
Back labor set in and her husband and I were trading off with counter pressure maneuvers. We took turns sitting by the tub after she went in for the second time. Applying cold cloths, and reassuring her with words of encouragement and power.
Completely an emotional wreck, watching my daughter labor had me in near constant tears. She and her husband were going to meet their son! This baby who everybody loved already. I felt honored and excited to be a part of this momentous occasion.
After a long labor, a midwife change, and 2 nurse shifts later, a healthy BIG boy was brought into this world. He was perfect. They were over the moon. I couldn’t believe it…he’s a whole human, and he’s here! I watched both of his parents cry right alongside their precious baby…and, not going to lie, the tears were pretty free-flowing for me too!
As I went out into the hall to call my daughter’s dad, every emotion from the past 26 hours came rushing out. I could barely speak. “He’s here! She did great! Dad is holding him now, and everyone is perfect!” What a ride.
I got to stay until they were transferred to the mother/baby unit. I lovingly watched as my grandson latched for the first time, skin to skin with his mommy. Laughed as I saw her husband feed her Doritos while she nursed in bed.
When I arrived home, I put on my pajamas, crawled into bed and asked my husband to bring me some much needed food! I cried all through my Arby’s burger…completely in awe over what had just happened. I scrolled back through the pictures and cried even more. I looked at my partner and told him, “this is it. This is what I’m meant to do, it’s so right, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Then I slept….like a baby.
Over the next several months, I was privileged to be able to help my daughter and her husband during the postpartum period. Staying overnight so they could sleep, changing diapers, burping, swaddling. But also assisting with laundry, dishes, kitchen clean up, animal care. Encouraging eating, drinking, and resting.
My grandson turned 1 a couple of weeks ago. And I’m still so sure about where my life has taken me. As I’ve continued to learn, expand my knowledge and resources, and my business partner (and best friend) and I grew our business, we’ve just become more focused on how we can help anyone who needs us in our community.