July 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Thursday night/Friday early morning, I’m laying in bed, trying to get some sleep. The phone rings. Unknown caller with a Spanish looking name. I ignore it. Probably a wrong number. Then the voicemail indicator dings and lights up. Hmmm… wrong numbers generally do not leave voicemails. So I check it. Lo and behold, it’s my very pregnant client, at 40 weeks, calling from the hospital (hence the weird name).
“Steph, we would love for you to be here. I’m in labor.” A few text messages back and forth, and it was determined – I had to go. Screw the hair and makeup. I’m out the door.
I drove 30 minutes to get to my client’s hospital at 3:15 a.m. By 4 a.m., she was already at 4 cm dilated. Fabulous. Contractions were 2 minutes apart; I guesstimated a delivery anytime around 6:30 or 7:30 a.m. I wasn’t too far off. I had my 9th baby delivery as a massage doula Friday morning at 7:46 a.m. CST.
When I arrived, I was surprised that there was no family present. Just husband and wife, the nurses and a doctor. The room was kept peaceful and quiet. I made sure to update myself on my client’s birth plan, in case something had changed. I wanted to make sure I familiarized myself with specifics – that she wanted essential oils, quiet music and the big one – to give birth to her baby girl without medication or other intervention.
I was immediately humbled. My work with my client on the table had obviously struck a chord with her – enough to make me important enough to be in the delivery room with her to experience her first child being born. As always, I took charge. I made eye contact with her through some tough contractions. I fetched cold towels, helped with positioning, kept her moving and ensured that she had everything she needed. I kept massaging and relieving cramps for 3.5 hours straight. I coached her on, held her hand, fixed her hair… and was just “there” in quiet comfort.
What an emotional journey childbirth is. So intimate, raw and vivid all the same. Intense. Of course, I cried right along with this couple when their baby girl was born. I was overcome with emotion. Beautiful delivery and child.
Several women develop long-lasting relationships with their massage therapist and/or doula. It’s a special kind of relationship because of the personal-ness of the service that we therapists provide. There’s just simply a connection there that exists without definition or stating it. To be called in to help a woman in labor is an honor. Continued to be humbled…