Sunday, July 08, 2007

The last time here

All day Wednesday I played the waiting game. It started at about 6:40a.m. when my cell phone rang with my client voice at the other end. Contractions had woken her at 4:30a.m. and there seemed to be a rhythm that felt promising. I roused myself completely, threw my sleepy body in the shower (I hadn't gone to bed until about 1:00a.m.), and readied to leave. Kissed TGF who had fingers crossed that this would a nice and rather quick birth. She has only heard tell of births where I was home in less than 12 hours and has only seen ones where I was gone for 20 hours or better.

Driving briskly along since there was little traffic, what with it being a holiday and all, my cell phone rang with my client's lovely voice at the other end. She was literally at her door about to leave and decided she needed to reassess things, meaning she wasn't going to the hospital. We discussed everything, it really did seem like the right thing as I trust gut intuition. Exiting off the freeway and I zig zagged my way through the streets, returning home to surprise TGF. Throughout the day my client rang me and we talked about how she was doing, which was always great if a bit tired of being pregnant. I puttered and pondered the purgatory of being on-call; on one hand happy to do and sad this would be my last birth in California, grateful call would be over soon and a small sense of panic that this would my last ever.

We met up with Ruth and Piccolo for our walk to be followed by dinner at our place, a very low key 4th celebration. We headed over to Point Isabelle to watch the fireworks as we had done two year prior. This year however it was amazingly crowded and we were absolutely stunned - what had happened to our private, quiet little spot. Later TGF remembered that Oakland had canceled their light display which is what brought the crowds to our little oasis. Of course I had left my phone in the car and when we made our way back there was a voicemail. Gah! John* had left word that they had gone in for a check where they found her to be 3 centimeters. They had decided to augment and get things cranking. We drove home and I gathered a few things so I could turn right around and leave. It had been freezing by the water but as I headed to the hospital I found myself wondering if I had the heat on in the car. I looked at the thermometer in the car and saw it was 80 degree. People it was 11p.m.! This is not normal weather for "the flats" which is where I live, where the evenings are typically chilly even in the warmest seasons. I worried that I was dressed too warm but quickly remembered that hospitals are notoriously cold in the middle of the night. As it turned out I froze the entire time.

I ran into John in the hallway as I cruised through the halls looking for Amy's room. Amy* and her best friend Amy P were in hanging out when I walked through the door. It was nice to have the same "team" again. Amy P and I were additional supports for the birth of their first child. Amy was in a great rhythm and I held fast to TGF and Ruth's wishes for a fast birth and the goal of my getting home by 3am. The doctor we worked with was one of the best OBs I have ever had the honour of attending a birth with. This is not compliment I give often, though I wish I did. She was lovely, gentle and time constraints never mentioned.

There was a change in the intensity of contractions which cause a twinkle to be exchanged between Amy P and I. When there was an exam done, alas and alack she had progressed 1 centimeter in four hours. It was now 1:30a.m. and all parties were tired. I believe it was sometime around that point that Amy opted for an epidural, in part so she could get some rest. By around 3:30 she was pronounced 5 centimeters. Oh my. I fought doing the math while acknowledging that she had cut the time in half for the same amount of progress. This boded well but I knew too much about the vagaries of the body and birth to wish for anything in particular. Though continously cold, I nodded off here and there, the longest "nap" being probably 20 minutes. Three hours later she was completely dilated. Amy was a bit concerned because she didn't have any urge to push but the doctor was totally relaxed. "Well we will do a practice one or two and see what happens. If nothing then we'll wait a bit." I could have kissed this woman. The doctor got "suited up", saying I may not need all this if it's going to awhile but you never know. Well the baby was right there! Amy had pushed out her first baby in about 20 minutes. This time? it was about 4 pushes, 10 minutes total from first push to baby. Awesome. Beautiful boy born at 7:03 a.m. on July 5th.

It really was a lovely birth in many ways. Amy and John are a wonderful couple. They were my only repeat client in the Bay Area (I haven't done all that many births in the nearly six years I've been here, maybe 20). I felt very entwined with this family, a kinship with Amy - the first time I met her the connection was instantaneous. Also the birth I attended in February was for her brother's daughter, Amy's niece. That is a first for me, doing two immediate family members. A special privilege, it is hard to find the words to really describe the feeling that accompanies this experience. All ways around a lovely way to end my time here for this part of my identity, my life.

*no real names are used


Jbeeky said...

I am so impressed with how you are processing this change. I suck, absolutely SUCK, at good byes. Amazing work by the way. Will you do it in Ohio?

wen said...

what a great note to end the california birth cycle on :) congrats to all involved!

Wyatt's Mom said...

I am so glad that this one was a wonderful one. I remember last year you being ready to quit it all together. Hopefully this is a sign of only good things to come.