There is a great honor to be called the day a woman finds out she is pregnant, and she asks me to mark her due date on my calendar because she would love me be apart her birth AGAIN. This past year I had 3 mothers call me, each time I am honored and the excitement overwhelms me like finding out your best friend is pregnant. I cry, I laugh, I am truly happy.
This past weekend, I honored the rising sun with Gloria and Shannon on Memorial Day, a woman I became close dear friends with several years ago. We worked together at the Quinnipiack Club in New Haven 6 years ago, I started my journey as a doula and childbirth educator there 5 yrs ago being apart of 3 co-workers births. I warn part time employers now that employees tend to get pregnant while I work with them.
I accredit Gloria with changing my practice, improving the way I teach, the way I doula. She taught me that I was not only born to be a birth worker but that who I am as a person naturally, should be the way I taught and cared for those around me. I learned that the “image” of a birth worker, did not always have to be serene, should never be judge mental, should be accepting, enjoyable, comical at times, thoughtful and sincere.
During Gloria’s first birth a 10hr beautiful birth, she requested an epidural because of her hip displacement it was not “satisfying”. She expressed to me then that she was sorry that she disappointed me. I remember shaking my head, I remember feeling terrible, did I put some expectation on her, did I give her a look to make her feel that way. I realized now she was saying it to herself, “I’m sorry body, I don’t trust you, I can’t do THIS, I’m so disappointed, I’m not that strong, not that capable.” But after her birth of her first daughter Mairi she expressed that she knew the epidural didn’t really help and she could have done it.
Two years later she called me with the news that she was pregnant again. Squeals of joy came from me, of course, and tears of joy came soon after when she asked me to be by her side again. She expressed right away that she wanted to do it all natural this time, she knew she could. I knew she could as well, but what I think should not and does not matter.
Like her first birth she had a false start, I told her she is an organized woman she needs to do a trail run. Like when she was my banquet chef she always needed to bring out the serving platters and see if they all fit, then she needed make sure I placed them correctly, their is no “winging it” with Gloria. We are yin and yang, we work well together.
I had picked up a shift this past Sunday, thinking why are you doing this she will call you on Sunday and she did at 11pm just as I finished my shift, thankfully I did take that shift because my boys were at their Dad’s that night for a sleepover other wise I would have been scrambling to wake people to come and watch them.
So the labor moved very quickly, starting at 3cms we drew a bath and listened to the HypnoBirthing cd, we moved to the shower, we moved to the bed, we pressed her sacrum, and we then moved to pressing her hips firmly. She has severe arthritis that began to flare up she saw the signs of it, she began to doubt she could do a natural birth, I suggested a pain reliever something like morphine thinking this was not labor pains this was RA, and if we could help with that she go back to focusing on her birth. It generally lasts for 2 hrs, in that 2 hrs she went from a 4 to 7cm dilation, as it began to wear off she began to request the an epidural, the doctor approved it, we pressed her hips, we worked with her body in the shower moving the water down her back. We waited. As the anestelogist walked in with a slight grin and a look of “the hero” that is bringing relief to pregnant women everywhere. She had the psycho-semantic response of feeling relief by just seeing him coming to her “rescue”, her body instantly became fully dilated, and her daughter began to slip into the world. Everyone rushing to find gloves, she followed her body’s lead and curled around her baby just once and Hadley Shea Slevin was born at 4:57am, exactly 5 hrs after walking into the hospital. The anestelogist creeped out the room slightly disappointed. The only hero in the room was Gloria because even if doubt crosses our mind and we call out for help, it is truly amazing when we discover how strong, how capable and how wonderful we truly are and we save ourselves. She taught that to me many years ago and I’m so happy she finally metamorphosed into the woman I always knew was there.
Now if only she can teach how to keep my house as clean as hers! I love you G!