A Christmas Birth
I first met Delores at a “Health Fair”. She was walking the aisles with her 4 children and came upon the “Maternal Health” table. I had been at a birth the night before and the family had donated their placenta to me as a “demo” at the Health Fair table. We had it in a bowl and had several boxes of non-sterile gloves available so the public could get their hands on a real placenta. It was quite a hit for the attendees. When Delores came up to look, she started to cry and said “I’ve had 4 children in the hospital and I’ve never seen a placenta until now.”
It turned out that she was pregnant with her fifth child and we became allies in planning a homebirth, her first. The best guess date was near Christmas. Delores and family lived out in the country about a one hour drive from me. All her hospital births had been vaginal and fairly smooth. I told her to give me early alerts whenever she felt it was time so I could get to her home for the birth.
My mother lived at the halfway point between Delores and me. Serendipitously, I was visiting my Mom with my two little girls on Christmas Eve when I received the call from Delores “This is it, my waters just broke and I’ve actually been having sensations all day but I was in denial about it. Now, I realize the baby is coming . . . can you get here!” I hung up and asked my Mom if she would cover my girls while I rushed off to the birth. My Mom had birthed six children herself so she knew that sense of urgency and said “Go, go, we’ll be fine here.”
Delores’ husband was about 15 years older than her and he had been injured in an industrial accident. He had difficulty walking and she had told me that she wanted him to look after the other children during the birth. When I entered their 2-level home, he said “Go up to her right away, I think she needs you.” I took the stairs two at a time and entered the bedroom. There was Delores kneeling on blue pads on the carpeted floor with a lovely pink baby in her arms. What a beautiful sight! I put my arm around her and she said “I think she’s dead.” “What makes you say that?” I replied. “She’s not crying at all” said Delores. “Well”, I said “that’s because she had such a gentle arrival . . . she’s nice and pink and very relaxed.” I could feel Delores’ body shudder with relief.
“Now”, I said, “let’s get the two of you tucked in bed under the covers”. I helped her into bed and baby Noelle opened her eyes and started looking for the breast. I went to the door and let the rest of the family know that everything was well with their new baby and Mom. What a celebration for the whole gang and amazing that it was a Christmas Eve gift. Once we got everything done pertaining to the birth and postpartum, I helped Delores wrap gifts and play Santa for the older children.
Every year at Christmas time, I remember the beautiful births that I’ve attended at this special time of year. Such beautiful memories.