It is weird the way births come in droves and then...... nothing. Heard that it's the moon, or that it's the weather. Maybe..... I'm sort of more of the thought that my mamas and their babies are somehow communicating with each other. That's really what it feels like.
It was just over a week ago when my last birth drought ended. I had been feeling typically antsy, just the way a birth drought makes me feel, when L, a fourth time mamma called. L was having her fourth boy ("Oh well, that's just the way it's supposed to be, I guess" she philosophized). Her first birth had been a typical, rather unpleasant hospital business. Her second, at a birth center, had been a miraculous revelation. Birth could be quick, smooth, energizing, wow! She and I had expected the same with number three. It was an uncomplicated water birth like the second.... but L found it more challenging than the second (ever heard the midwifery chestnut about the jinx of the third birth?) (Actually, I don't believe it at all). As she labored for the fourth time, L kept looking up at me "This is really hard, I can't do this" she hollered again and again. I worked with her, but she struggled. The baby slid out into his father's hands. L was relieved and happy. L accepted that that was the way it was supposed to be.... but I didn't understand it.
That thursday morning. I saw people for prenatal visits through the afternoon, and was pretty tired by the end of the day. That evening D called. She is a first time mother who thought her water had broken. No contractions. Nearly 42 weeks! OK. Went to bed later than I should have done (always).
Middle of the night, a phone call. D? No! S! S is having her second baby. Her husband's grandfather died and he left town to go to the funeral. We had had a conversation a few days earlier about what to do. She was 38 weeks along. Should she go too and risk having the baby in some random hospital in Lubbock?! She could stay behind and risk going into labor without her husband?! As we thought she would probably not have the baby anyway, it was of course, a purely theoretical discussion. (I always feel like babies are going to stay in,.... until they decide to come out). Well, S was in labor. The birth of S's baby was textbook beautiful. She eased her out gently, reaching down to catch her as she came out of the water. What joy. But sadly, the baby's loving Dad was present only on the end of the telephone. I suppose that was the way it was supposed to be too.
Home by 4am and up before 8 to do interviews and tour of the birth center. (I act kooky and delirious when I do tours in that state). D was having occasional contractions but was not in labor. By the 24 hour mark I was wondering if she'd been mistaken. Maybe her water hadn't broken. So we met up at the birth center at 7pm. Sterile spec and litmus paper left no doubt. Water broken. Discussed options. Decided that to go to the hospital in the evening and get induced all night didn't make sense. We'd sleep on it, keep an eye on her temperature and hope for some real contractions overnight. In the night they called a couple of times convinced that the baby was flying out the exit. I was glad their was some action but wasn't convinced. Early morning we met up. She seemed to be laboring pretty well! But, she was only 2 cms and it was now 36 hours after water breaking. Baby sounded good. No fever. But..... it was time for the hospital. So, off we went, tearful but resigned. Helped her get settled in. Baylor really is a pretty supportive place (as those places go).
Home for lunch and relax (!) a little and then C called. Now C has been feeling that she is in labor for most of the last month (or so it seemed) But all pregnancies do come to an end, and her moment had arrived. So off we went. C screamed "It hurts". She screamed "I want this to stop" She screamed "I want Mommy". I was right next to her and the screams were exploding in my head. Now I write this in my blog because it's true and that was how C labored. I may put some people off. I will tell you that VERY few women scream like that. Most moan. Many shout. Some holler. But very few women scream and keep it up. But that was birth for C. That was the way it was supposed to be for her I suppose. And her sweet baby came out too. And she stopped screaming and held her close.
And I went home to bed. Ready for another birth drought.