I wasn’t there when your baby was born. I was there all day, trying my best to support your process, elevate your voice, ease your fears, and speak my kindest words and strongest truths, as your baby moved down slowly, at his own pace, but came after I left.
I wasn’t there when your baby was born. I was there all night in your early labor, massaging your back, suggesting position changes, and reminding you of your body’s knowledge even if your brain questioned it along the way.
I wasn’t there when your baby was born. I was there in the early morning after you had already lost her, listening to your naming her, catching your tears in the folds of my neck, asking about her fingers and toes and nose.
I wasn’t there when your baby was born. I was there all afternoon, laughing with your family as they suggested you twerk him out, laughing with you when you couldn’t hold back the gas, and laughed with the midwife I signed out to as I told her how fun your birth would be later that evening.
I wasn’t there when your baby was born. I was there in fits and spurts for a few hours, running between rooms, struggling to find ways to show you how important your process and family were to me, but with too much on my hands, I just smiled apologetically, kept encouraging your baby out with each stop into your room, knowing I would check the next day to see when and how and how much, someone else was there in the end to witness and facilitate.
I wasn’t there when your baby was born. I was there before the bleeding started, and after it stopped. I was there to process the emergency, answer your questions, hold your hand, and talk about what would come next.
I wasn’t there when your baby was born. I almost was, though. I knew you could push the baby out, and so did you, but they wouldn’t wait. They didn’t believe that your baby was okay, even though I did, and even though we were looking at the same information. They didn’t believe that you were almost there, even though I did, and we were evaluating the same information. Then when your baby came out screaming and perfect, they credited themselves.
I wasn’t there when your baby was born. I was there to confirm that your bag of water was leaking, that your baby was happy and moving down, and moments later another midwife took over.
I wasn’t there when your baby was born. I encouraged you to keep breastfeeding after the difficult second night, and let you know the third night might be a tricky one too, but to keep going. I was there to tell you how great you were doing, to remind you to continue to care for yourself even in those first few days, and to discuss supportive community options with your partner like a meal train and putting laundry instructions somewhere for people who stop by to help.
I wasn’t there when your baby was born. But in many ways, I was.