The First One…

16Jul09

I watched my odometer closely, the tenths clicking away.

“Just a bit more,” I thought.  “That must be it at the top of the hill.”

I put my turn signal on and slowed down.

“This is it.  I’m so glad I’m doing this for the first time in daylight,” I thought as I looked up at the sun, shining brightly in a clear blue sky.

I glanced at my directions then turned onto another new, unfamiliar road.  My foot went down on the accelerator, only easing up as I went over hill crests or around tight curves.

“Another turn coming up…”

I stopped, looked both ways, and pulled out.

“Okay, now to find that number…  I hope the person behind me doesn’t mind me slowing down at every driveway…”

“Oh, rats, that was it!”

I saw the number just as I passed.  Quickly I flipped on my turn signal and turned around.  I signaled again and turned onto the driveway.  The gravel crunched under my tires.

“Wow, can’t even see the house from here!  I hope this is the right place…”

The house came into view, and as I pulled into the space between the barn and the house, I recognized the other two cars parked in the shade of a solitary tree.  I came to a stop, put the car in park, and quickly decided to leave the windows up (“Too many flies around here.”).  I jumped out, grabbed my bag, and stepped onto a perfectly manicured lawn.

“Which door should I use?!” I wondered, faced with two choices.

I knew I wouldn’t be greeted, but my mission was expected and somewhat private, so I went to the “back” door.  I knocked lightly before pulling the screen door open.  The mudroom where I found myself was immaculate.  I went left into the house, and just as I entered, another door opened and a known face smiled at me.

“Hello, come in.”

“Thank you,” I said, smiling back.

I stepped into the bedroom and immediately thought how peaceful the whole scene was.  Midwives quietly sitting on chairs or the floor, a woman resting in bed, and her husband ushering me in to join the group.  A gentle breeze played with the lace curtains hung at the two open windows.   I slipped my flip-flops off and felt the cool linoleum under my feet as I sat down.

“You made it!”  My mentor smiled.  The other two midwives looked up and greeted me, as well.  They finished up paperwork and we chatted comfortably with the couple in labor.  Occasionally, one of the midwives would listen to hearts after a contractions.  There was no rushing around, no tangled mess of cords to trip over, no unnecessary noise.  I couldn’t help grinning.  This was going to be quite a day.

Between contractions, our “patient” was quite cheerful.  In fact, I hardly knew when she was having a contraction, as she simply breathed through each one.

After a bit, she got up and moved around.  The midwives encouraged her to drink sips of water and keep her bladder empty.  She went out to the kitchen to check on something, and shortly came back to inform us that she had had some bleeding.  She got back in bed for a little while, staying on her left side for comfort.

Another contraction, and one of the midwives asked, “Are you feeling pushy?  That last contraction sounded a little different.”  Our patient nodded.  A quick check revealed that she was fully dilated.  Some arrangement ensued.  Warm water, clean towels and blankets, and a cord clamp appeared.  Our “patient” moved onto the birth stool.  She was ready, and so were we.

“Okay, you can push whenever you want,” said the midwife who was ready to catch.

Another contraction, and with it a strong, quiet push.  The baby’s head appeared, then the whole body slipped out quickly – before the midwife even had a chance to break the water.  The “veil” removed, the baby’s mouth and nose were suctioned and a cry was heard.

“Well, you haven’t told us what it is!” said the father, smiling.

“You tell us,” replied the midwives, turning the baby over so the happy parents could see.

“It’s a girl!”

The cord stopped pulsing and was carefully clamped and cut.  I was holding a clean, dry towel, so the baby was handed to me.  The other three turned back to the mother.  One listened, and another placed her hands on the mother’s abdomen.

“It’s still breech,” the younger midwife said.  “Let’s get her in bed and see where the placenta is.”

I took a step back, encouraging the baby in my arms to tell us all about the new world she was in.  She loudly complied. :-)

The midwives helped our patient back into bed.

“Can I push again?” she asked, once she was settled.

After a brief consultation, the midwives nodded.

With the next contraction, a pair of small feet appeared.  A rest, and the midwives listened to the heartbeat again.  All was well.  Another contraction, and the bottom and trunk came out.  For a moment that seemed like an eternity, the midwife assisting with the delivery struggled to deliver the arms.  The more experienced midwife stepped in, and then the whole baby was out in a rush.  This one wasn’t so ready to cry, though.

“I think a bit of oxygen might help,” said the first midwife.  I picked up the oxygen canister and set it on the bed, still holding the older twin.  “Yes, and the bag…”  I grabbed the ambu bag and handed it to the midwife holding the limp, bluish baby.  “Can somebody breathe for me?” she asked.  The baby on my arm was content for the moment, and the other midwives were occupied, so I bagged while the first midwife held the mask in place.  The baby grimaced, then let out a wail, still under the mask.  The parents breathed an audible sigh of relief and what tension there was in the room immediately disappated.   We smiled.

“It looks like you have another girl.”  The parents beamed.  Once she was breathing and crying well and the cord stopped pulsing, the second baby was set free from her mother.  I handed the first twin to her happy father.  His experienced hands knew just how to hold her.  I shook my head a little as I thought how differently this would have gone in the hospital.  I turned and was soon busy helping with cleanup.  The placenta was delivered – almost as big as one of the babies and quite as healthy. :-)  I was in awe.  Both babies knew exactly what to do when it came time for breastfeeding, and in a matter of hours, we were saying goodbye to a content mother, two sleeping babies, and a beaming father.  The grandmothers were already on their way to help out.

As we walked out to our cars, I turned to the most experienced midwife, my mentor.  “That was incredible,” I said.  “Thank you so much for calling me!”

The twin girls, born at 38 weeks, later met their four older brothers.  Both twins were remarkably healthy.  “Peach,” born first, weighed 7lbs, 1oz.  Her sister “Pear” weighed 7lbs, 4oz and was born 11 minutes after “Peach.”

—–

[I’m hooked.  Again.  Oh, and I did not use any real names here.]

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