This is Jenny - she's a midwife. And this is the story of the day she birthed a baby of her own. What an exciting story it is, too. Jenny and her husband, Tony, planned a home birth attended by the midwives at Seattle Home Maternity. They had additional support members on their birthing team, including another midwife and a nurse - both of whom are close friends of Jenny's. It was awesome to arrive at their place and meet this network of capable women caring for Jenny and her baby. I love the quiet nature of home birth. There is a lot of watching and waiting as the mother labors. She moves around her home, ever the center of focus of those who have come to support and safeguard her in this journey.
Things were definitely progressing with Jenny's labor, and both mother and baby had great vitals. But a cervical exam revealed that Baby's face was presenting first - not the top of its head. Jenny said she knew from the expression on Heather's face during the exam that we'd be transferring to the hospital. Call it "midwife intuition." Luckily, as it was not an emergent transfer, we were able to drive to the hospital where Jenny works so she could have her baby there - in the very place where she helps other women bring their babies into the world.
Her excellent support team stayed nearby, it simply grew to include the midwife on-call and the nurses that Jenny works with. So the party continued. When it was determined that this child could not be convinced to tuck the chin and descend properly down the birth canal - Jenny got an epidural and it was off to the OR for a C-section. We all joked that the midwife was taking a walk of shame. Ever a champion of vaginal birth, here she was having her baby by Cesarean. But truly, how great it is to have choices in childbirth - to be able to birth on your own terms and have the technology necessary to help you when needed. It's really incredible.
The doctor gloved up at 3:09am and just a few minutes later, pulled a stuck little baby from Jenny's womb.
Tony peeked over the curtain and yelled, "I was right!" So it was a daughter after all. Their much anticipated Annika Joan was born into the world.
Upon seeing the HUGE goose-egg on Annika's forehead, Jenny called out to Tony, "Don't worry. The swelling will go down." But he was too smitten to be worried. This beautiful girl was his daughter and he loved her - even if she did look like she'd just escaped a bar fight.
Trying to squeeze through the cervix with the squishy parts of her face rather than the hard top of her head gave Annika quite the swollen lips, cheeks, eyes combo. But baby yawns are still the most adorable thing in all the world. Back in their room, Jenny and Tony got better acquainted with their precious daughter, and I slipped away to snag a couple hours of sleep before my own babies woke up.
And Jenny was right - the swelling did go down. What remains is a precious little baby and quite the story of how she stubbornly came into the world in her own special way.