Monday, December 15, 2014

A Record Holder

A wonderful part about being a midwife is creating long-term relationships with people. Maybe not the kind of relationship in which I see past patients often or even keep in touch on a daily or weekly or monthly basis, but the kind of relationship that perseveres through time, with meaning that does not diminish as years go by or as people move away. I speak of a relationship that very often consists of keeping in touch to hear about birthdays and milestones, and mostly, simply remembering. Most anyone who has had a midwife that they loved during their pregnancy and birth will never forget that midwife. Most midwives who have had a patient who they have connected with, gotten to know well, or served in a particularly meaningful way will never forget that patient...or that birth.

Today I received this message from a past patient who has since moved away:

"Hey Tara! Our sweet Asher turned one today and we are reminded of your (and Dr. Elrods )help and support during this special day. We made a mad dash and nearly had him in our car, but you were my voice of reason and strength on the phone. I can not even express to you the comfort you brought me and that I much needed on that drive over. You guys make a great team! Thank you for being a part of our special day!"

I read this short message and it brought a smile to my face. I won't ever forget Ginni's labor. It was fast and furious! She had called me in labor, letting me know that she was contracting every 2 minutes. I told her to head to the birth center. I won't ever forget literally running out the front door of my house- which I do often, but not quite like this- yelling behind at Glen to come with me and HURRY UP!

Minutes later Ginni called to let me know that her water had just broke on her way out the door in heading to the birth center. I asked her the usual questions, assessing that everything was 'normal'  and well. I told her not to panic but to simply get in the car and get to the birth center. I hung up the phone and as I was driving said to Glen, "She is going to call back in a couple minutes and tell me that she's pushing." Two minutes later my phone rings and it's Ginni- in control but scared- telling me that she was pushing. I'm on the phone, holding it with one hand and conservatively  navigating the precarious roads with my left hand on the steering wheel. Ginni is crying. The roads are crisp white, blanketed in freshly fallen snow. There is no such thing as driving fast and rushing in the Alaskan winter of gentle snowfall. Ginni is trying not to push and doesn't know what to do. I tell her that it's ok. If she has to push, then don't panic...just relax and let your body push if you need to. I tell her to have her husband turn the heat on to get the car warm and to get something ready to wrap the baby in. I tell her, calmly but yet firmly to tell her husband to NOT STOP. "Tell him that if you are pushing or if the baby starts to come, do not stop driving. Do not pull over. Keep driving to the birth center, no matter what." A baby born inside a car certainly wasn't ideal for anyone, but a baby born in a stationary car on the side of the road was even worse.

We stayed on the phone together- her driving one direction and me driving another, both toward the birth center from equal distances. As she was pushing something dawned on me..."Ginni, do you have your pants on?" I envisioned a baby crowning into pants.   Yes, she said. "If you are going to push then you have to pull your pants down. The baby can't be born in your pants." In such a situation, this is not at the forefront of anyone's mind.

We were just a couple minutes from the birth center. "Oh heck," I thought, "But what if the baby isn't born yet when we arrive to the birth center? Then she will have to get into the birth center with no pants on." It's amazing how even when things are happening relatively furiously and your brain is firing a million times at once, one is still capable of having long, detailed thought processes. I wasn't sure which was worse, the baby being born in her pants, or having to get her from the van to the birth center with no pants on.

We pulled up to the birth center at the same time. As we were pulling in, Glen took off his seat belt, in preparation of jumping out to help. He flew out one way and I the other- him to assist Ginni's husband in helping her and I to unlock the birth center door. We got into the birth center, pulled down the bed coverings, and 2 minutes after arrival, a beautiful, healthy baby boy was born.

To this day, Ginni holds the record for shortest time from arrival to birth. I won't ever forget the birth of Asher, nor will I forget how strong Ginni was while being within the eye of the storm!

Happy Birth Day to the both of you, Ginni and Asher.