She came into triage, shaking from head to toe and laughing that she could not stop. Her cervix half-opened and thin as paper, she seemingly involuntarily grabbed onto me every couple of minutes, saying “just wait, there’s another one.” Her voice is barely audible between the shaking and the laughter. The one serious task is asking for her epidural, describing that “I just can’t do one more natural.” I had the job of informing her we had some ladies pushing at the moment, and it might be a minute before her transfer to a labor room and attention by the only anesthesia on-call person. I breathed with her for a few minutes, encouraging her to try to be as calm as possible in this busy space. I smiled and said that this birth might be coming quickly.
Twenty minutes later I am back to check on her, helping her walk from triage to her labor room, stopping every couple of minutes. She says she needs to go to the bathroom, I laugh and ask if, knowing that, it’s the baby. She smiles, saying that she’s doing her best not to push. We walk armpit-to-shoulder into the bathroom, I squat and smile at her as she laughs and is magically able to pee without pushing, and as she stands up she grabs onto me with another contraction. I call for the nurses as she and I are laughing together in the threshold between bathroom and labor room, and she says she needs to start pushing now and would like to lay down. The nurses give me the side-eye while smiling, knowing I’d be happy to have her push right there, but that it would not fly with other providers on the floor, and might really stir some trouble for the me, the newbie. I’m thankful she wants to lay down.
So in-tune with her body and knowing that she needed to push, but did not want to. This was all too fast for her, she was not quite ready yet. I assured her that she was doing great, that the baby sounded fantastic, and that we were all here for her. Smiling and laughing, all of us. She waited, shaking all the while. Then, a determined look came over her face, her body quieted, and with one push the baby was in her arms.