Presenting late in the day and in very active labor, I thought she might be fast. She wanted to be up and walking around, and her water bag felt thick and tough, like it was applying great pressure to the 3 centimeters of cerix she had left. I went to board report, and offered to stay with her. She had seen a midwife throughout her prenatal care, there was no midwife scheduled for the night shift, and no other providers were on who spoke Spanish.
She walked quickly from one side of the room to the other, her star-studded socks brightening up the grey floor. The contractions became stronger, and she sat on the edge of the bed to manage the pain. Her partner, arms crossed, stayed in the corner, observing us from afar. I massaged her back for an hour with her sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning forward, one spot really causing trouble with each contraction but relieved with counter-pressure.
It felt great to be there only for her, a rarity in our practice model. I could truly be her midwife during the labor, and it felt great to focus on what she needed, to labor sit, and read her changing needs and change with her.
With only a bit of cervix left and her patience running thin, I discussed breaking her bag and the likelihood that with her stretchy cervix, the baby would come quickly. She waited a few more contractions and then asked for the bag to be broken. Clear fluid rushed out and her cervix disappeared as the baby scooted down into her pelvis.
She laid back and her breathing changed, and asked for an epidural, smiling. I smiled back, talked about it being a bit too late for that, that she was almost done with all of her work. The baby came with the next push, right to mom’s breast for skin-to-skin.
After very slow placenta and every slower and pieced amniotic sac removed with a calm and collaborative team, mom and baby bonded throughout.