She had been pushing long before anyone was paying attention. A busy labor floor, lack of one-on-one nursing or midwifery care on busy days, and a knowledgeable unmedicated multip kept her pushing quiet from the rest of us. I came in to check on her after being with another laborer, a medical student hot on my heels. I recognized that strain in her neck, smiled, and sat down on the bed next to her.
A few pushes later, an entire bag of water slowly emerged and sat, intact, on her perineum, still connected to the larger bag inside. Floating clear water visible, and no sign of the head yet, made me smile in curiosity. The nurse and I looked at each other, gave a knowing shrug to the wonder of birth, and waited. The medical student, confused, asked “Is that normal?” I whispered, “Just about everything we let happen, is.”
Moments later, the baby that was such a surprise ten months ago was placed in her arms. The first bag still intact, the larger bag broken naturally, and little for us to do but observe.