Saturday, December 01, 2007

The test continues....

Friday was apparently a continuation of our earlier testing of my husband and the midwifery lifestyle...

My husband manages the developer team for his company, it's a small team and we decided that we would very much like to show our appreciation for the great work they do and the friendships that he has there. So I planned a delicious Christmas luncheon party, I had a full menu, ham, twice baked potatoes, spinach salad, homemade rolls.... the works, even a fabulously creamy, rich pumpkin cheese cake. I had purchased these beautiful plates with a very artistic reindeer on them, decorated in plum, evergreen and gold. I had plum napkins, gold colored flatware, I made beautiful centerpieces, I fully expected this to be "an affair to remember"....

I got up at 7am Friday morning so I could get the ham in the roaster and the rolls started after staying up until 2:30 to get the cheesecake finished. Margarett called at 8:11 am. She has her own ring tone so I knew from across the house who it was. My heart sank and lept at the same time. I knew she would only have been calling at that time of day if someone was in labor, but I also knew that meant my party was down the drain. I hesitantly answered the phone, hoping against hope that she just wanted to chat, but no, C was in labor.

I called to my husband, who was trying to find clothes for the kids, with a slight smile and a lilt to my head and sheepishly told him "I need to go to a birth." He asked what I thought we should do about the party, we couldn't really re-schedule because of projects his developers would be doing taking them away from the office, so it was kind of a now or never deal. I told him I thought he could handle it, I was of course lying through my teeth, but that's okay, it's what he need to hear! I started running through the list of finale preparation (thankfully I had precooked much of the meal) listing off dishes he would need for serving, where he would find serving utensils, how the table should look, I could see his mind trying to juggle all the information and make sense of the foreign language I was speaking to him. I assured him he could call me if he need me.

I ran out the door at 8:43, I had a two and a half hour drive ahead of me, I partially hoped that Maragarett would call around Chickasha and tell me I missed it not to bother, I could at least then make the party and ensure that it was as spectacular as I had planned. She didn't call, so I called Nathan to see how things were going. He was late getting the kids to the babysitter and sounded like he'd been put through the ringer. He was trying to keep the delicate dance I had started going, getting all the food timed right so nothing was sitting cold and nothing got forgotten. Considering he'd never done this before he was doing pretty good.

I walked in the door of C's house at 10:50 and found her on the birth stool, Margarett perched in front of her like a child waiting for the gumball to drop from the machine she has just put a quarter in. Anne was to her right not quite as enraptured by what was going on as Margarett seemed to be. They both smiled and I sat down on Margarett's left.

At this point I’m not sure how long C had been laboring or how long she’d been pushing. She sat on the birth stool at the foot of her bed, her head lopped from side to side as it laid against her husbands chest, she breathed heavy and was obviously exhausted. Her husband D sat directly behind her, his eyes shined bright, he was tired but the excitement just beamed from him. You would think he was the little boy getting the Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

We went on like this for nearly two hours. We tried flexing her hips which required Anne and I to act as stirrups. Oh let me tell you that was fun! At one point I had C’s foot high up on my shoulder with her mother in law standing behind me to keep me from toppling over! C had amazing strength, when she switched positions so one leg was higher than the other and her foot was resting on my thigh I thought for sure the pressure would cause my skin to just release and her foot to go straight through to the floor. Anne and I held feet and thighs, whispered and shouted words of encouragement. Margarett tried to help her understand just where and how to push, her Mother prayed over her through each contraction, C humpfed, yelled and moaned. It was anything but a quiet serene birth. Baby Boy J slowly emerged from his mother’s womb starting at 12:42, it took a full minute (maybe two) to get the whole body out. J is a chubby little boy weighing in at 8lbs 12oz, he has the biggest cheeks and square shoulders, it’s no wonder C had such a hard time pushing him out.

I managed to call my husband, he had tried to call twice while I was assisting. He pulled it off! They were eating when I called, of course the table cloth, glitter, center pieces and beautiful arrangements didn’t happen but they all enjoyed great food and lovely conversation and Nathan saved a piece of Pumpkin Cheese Cake for me.

It wasn’t a long labor by any means, just inconvenient timing, something that is a reality of the midwife. Sacrifices have to be made by the whole family and in this case sacrifices (though small and in reality unknown) were made by my husbands staff. It made me think how many times will I have to cancel a dinner engagement at the last minute, or how many weddings I may have to dash out of? The life of a midwife is unpredictable, and unstable, I’m already finding myself telling friends “I’ll be there if no one is in labor”

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