The first time I am attending a birth of a patient I saw prenatally. Other
midwives had talked about “stage fright” of delivering their own patients,
and though I was feeling some of that, I was mostly marveling at how
different she looked in labor than in the clinic. Both times she is
beautiful and powerful, but in labor she looks like almost a different
The first time I am meeting her partner, and he is more timid than I expected in the face of another birth for their family.
Not the first time the epidural was incredibly ineffective, despite an
attempt at a bolus and repositioning.
Not the first time I had been confounded by why the baby sounded so happy
inside but was taking its time coming out.
My last orientation birth, a space during which to finish the comfort zone
of a fellow midwife presence and to create my own comfort zone.
The compound hand, fingers almost to the top of the head, explaining it
all, reaching on its way out.
The look of relief, whether for the baby being out, or for no longer
needing to push, or for finally meeting the person she had been carrying
around for so long.