To #176*: Thank you for being patient with the magnesium, I hope you heard me through the fuzziness and the fog of that medicine, telling you how wonderful a job you were doing. I knew the strength seemed far away and distant to grasp, but you found it and gave it everything you had, and everything you did was beautiful and powerful and amazing.
To #1: Thank you for allowing me to be involved in my first birth ever in the United States: I will never forget any moment of it.
To #232: Thank you for smiling at the Resident and I as we navigated our new relationship, and I encouraged her to observe your strength, the magic of your process, and to learn the art of “don’t just do something, stand there!”
To #95: Thank you for remembering, with kindness, my shaky hands when I cared for you as a student, and complimenting with even more kindness, my warm touch and supportive words as your licensed provider.
To #116: Thank you for trusting my words that babies can be born in their bags, and then opening yourself up emotionally to watching your baby be born beautifully and naturally and stretching its arms into the world and breaking its back through its own first forces.
To #40: Thank you for calmly telling me that the baby was coming and I should grab gloves, since you knew your own silent experience and perhaps otherwise no one would know and everyone would rush at the end once they figured it out.
To #184: Thank you, to you and your body and your baby for pushing and passing and guarding the true knot in the umbilical cord, from inside to outside, without us knowing any wiser until the very end.
To #7: Thank you for your patience during the vaginal exam after delivery, where I first visualized and understood the hymenal ring, learning from which so much of my gentle exams, vaginal repairs, and discussion around sexual pain now stem.
To #175: Thank you for following your heart, and in the process, laughing your baby right on out.
To #126: Thank you for yelling loud enough with your pushes that when I did my own pushing of the scissors off the table as the Resident was reaching for them, and they clinked onto the floor, no one knew except the Resident and I, and she was the only one who needed to know.
To #76 and #77: Thank you both for understanding that I was the only provider on the floor, and I truly had to run in between your rooms, as much as I wanted to be there for you both, and I was willing to work it hard to be as present as I could for each.
To #208: Thank you for forgiving my yawns in the very early morning hours.
To all of you: Thank you for believing in yourselves. Thank you for believing in birth. And even when you didn’t believe in either of those, thank you for believing in me.
*To the individuals and births referenced in this post: You aren’t a number to me, but your name and your baby’s is yours and yours alone. The numbers I have assigned to you are for literary purposes only, as I try to be creative as a writer. Thank you for your understanding and lenience to my artistic process.