As a newly licensed midwife, I would like to keep a written history of my births. In each case, I will change identifying details, including posting on days or months away from the birth itself. Birth stories are important historically, personally, and in advocacy work. This is one such story, from my perspective as a midwife and women’s healthcare provider.
A young multip, initially alone because her husband is at home taking care of the kids. Grimacing with contractions, telenovela blaring from the television. Likely a brief vacation from busy mother life at home, reveling in her time alone.
Her last baby was over nine pounds, and the midwife orienting me that day stresses preparedness for a shoulder dystocia even before I walked in to greet the mother. I worked regularly with this midwife as a student, and orient with her often now, so I know her personal history with anticipating and managing shoulders.
Meeting the laboring woman, feeling her belly, and asking her own perception of the size of this baby compared to the last, I knew this baby was big, but I was not overly concerned.
Her husband arrives, quiet and nervous, unsure what to do, despite his presence at the other births. A few hours later he exits the room and says she is asking for an epidural.
Baby’s heartbeat is dancing away at a wonderful rhythm, her cervix is completely open and the baby has moved down. I ask the mom which position she would like to be in, and she chooses the footpads up for support in semi-sit. Thankful that is her preference, as I already knew the pressure, particularly from my co-midwife, to “break the bed” for ease of provider management of an anticipated shoulder dystocia.
Strong woman, yelling ‘no puedo’ as she successfully completes her final pushes. A quick cord reduction and visible anterior shoulder, I believe in my hands and my eyes knowing this baby will come easily, despite my orienting midwife panicking and telling me to hurry and deliver the shoulders and ignore the cord. I lift a healthy-sized baby lifted straight to the mom’s arms, cord pulsing and baby pink and crying, eyes open.
A new scrub technician thrilled at witnessing her first midwife delivery helps mom breastfeed, as she explains that she wanted to be able to breastfeed after her deliveries, but was not given the opportunity.