The more we give

Well it has been a very long time since I have written anything, and so much has happened in this time. One lovely experience was a beautiful home birth of a second time mum who opted for a home birth with her first child but did not feel safe enough to deliver at home. At that this this mother felt very separate from her partner and although she was well supported by her midwives was unable to let go and deliver at home.

This time around she had opted for a home dilatation and hospital birth, but I felt she secretly wanted the home birth that she could not manage before this time round. So I kept her options open with me and never pushed her in any direction. As time passed and our relationship grew, she did ask me many times if she was comfortable at home would I attend her there, to which I replied, where ever you want to be is fine with me.

Her husband, on the other hand was very worried about her secret home birth plans. The first birth was very traumatic for him. Watching her struggle through labor and then transfer to hospital had really broken his heart and he did not want to go through this again.I assured him many times that each birth was different and that it was their birth together, I would not push either of them in any direction they did not feel safe to go in.

Their relationship had been a bit strained for awhile. He was very stressed at work and she felt a bit isolated at home with their 3 year old son. There was a distinct lack of closeness and intimacy between them although they both longed for each other.  I have to pause here and say that honestly, I did fall in love with this couple and their beautiful son. They were just such lovely people and I wanted with all my heart to support them in a beautiful and loving birth experience.

Sometimes what we want most really does happen.

With their longing for each other and their inability to find a common space to reignite their intimacy, I decided to visit them weekly and support them in finding each other in an intimate way again. I began with a weekly massage for her. To aid in her relaxation and feeling of being supported. I felt this would also help to build a deeper connection between her and myself as in the end, it was her fear and feeling of being alone in her first birth that caused her to give up in the end of her birth and transfer to hospital. In our massage sessions I strove to transmit a feeling of safety and pure love which she says she felt with great intensity.

After 3 or 4 of these sessions, I began to involve her husband, teaching him how she liked to be touched. In many ways it was as if I was giving him permission to support her and be with her. Somewhere in that previous birth this feeling had been lost. He responded very well and by the 3rd session I would only arrive, prepare the oils and leave them to it. I would always leave them with the ‘home work’ of giving each other more sensual massages and in a months time you could see a real change in the energy between them.

In her first birth my client went to 43 weeks and delivered at 43 and 1 day, I believe. She was closely watched by our doctor and all was well, so this time I was very happy to wait the same amount of time if needed, but at 41 weeks she rang to say her waters were leaking. After being checked by her doctor and all was deemed well, we waited. After 2 days of leaking and mild contractions, I suggested I could give her a massage to help her relax and prepare for the following day. She had chosen to use acupuncture to try and induce her labour.

I will pause again here because I know that for the midwives and student midwives reading this, that you are adding up the hours of ruptured membranes and they are amounting to 50 plus hours. Please don’t freak,  I assure you all, she was well cared for in this time by our doctor her doctor and myself. Mummy and baby were well and there was never a sign of infection or risk to baby. All normal protocol was followed, her temperature taken twice a day, baby was listened to daily and fetal movements were monitored by the mummy. The leak was deemed a small fissure in the membranes and it was hind waters leaking.

When I arrived for the massage my client told me she had been contracting all morning on and off but nothing big. We talked for awhile, the three of us, about worries, fears and everything else. Then I began my massage. I tried with all my might to channel all my love and desire for a feeling of security to her and during the hour long massage she had many strong contractions. After the massage, I suggested to them that I could go home and bring them the birthing pool so that if they wanted to use it for relaxation they could have it there. My clients husband was a bit nervous for me to leave as my client was contracting quite strongly so I decided to take my time going and had a cup of tea, just to observe her but not to pressure her. An hour passed and the contractions were good and strong and she was feeling pressure. Luckily for me I had brought my birthing bag with me.

 I rang my colleague to come as second midwife just in case they decided to stay at home and I rang our doula as well. A half and hour later the doula arrived and things were going strong. My client and her husband were taking each contraction together, intimate and beautifully. I sat quietly in the corner watching them, aware that at any moment they may have chosen to transfer to the hospital. But this never happened. The doula arrived and as I was showing her around the couples kitchen I heard my name. I returned into the front room to see a head crowning and my client saying she thought she felt a head. I told her that yes there was a head and she could let go and push baby out if she felt the need, this she did in two pushes and baby was born into my hands and directly up onto mums tummy. We all cried with joy at the ease and speed of it. There was not time to transfer and they had felt so secure together that it did not cross their mind to do so.

My colleague arrived after the speedy delivery of the placenta and we all marveled at the beauty that was the new family in front of us. What a joy!

This experience was one of deep satisfaction for me. With this couple I was able to really practice my idea of ‘midwifery of the heart’. They were so open to what I had to offer them that I was always happy to give more. In fact I was actually energized by the energy I gave them. There were times when I felt too exhausted or preoccupied with my personal life and wanted to cancel my weekly visits to them but each time I left them I felt on top of the world, optimistic and simply joyful. Each visit with this couple was another lesson in how supporting others can really give you amazing returns. I don’t mean this from a selfish point of view at all. The work I did with them was to assist them to do their own work, not to do it for them and that was a real challenge for me. Sometimes its true the less we do the more we help, but I also think that  the attitude we take when giving to and supporting our clients really makes a difference. Are we supporting them to save them from something or are we supporting them along the road of their own unique journey. I we say less to the latter then I think we can give to them with all our hearts and it really benefits them and us.

Of course, it does not always turn out in this way, but with clients who really want to work with you and with an open heart we can have amazing and wonderful results.

And of this I am deeply grateful….

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