Moon Birth

By on Mar 11, 2013 in Birth Stories, Musings, Uncategorized Comments: 0. Tags:

My good friend, Stella, called me at 10:45pm on Friday night. “Game on!” she said with excitement in her voice. I was in Lancaster camping with some friends so my family piled in the car and headed back to Philly. Not too long after, she called again to let me know they were headed to the Birth Center. “Let’s go have this baby…”

Stella’s labor was lovely. She walked around the garden for a while, slowly, enjoying the moonlit night, and seemingly embracing the pain when the contractions hit her. As the night progressed, it grew chilly so we moved inside. We were in the yellow room, the same room that my son was born in! As this was the first birth I had attended since having my son, it was really special to be in that room, helping another little one into the world.

As Stella’s contractions progressed, she did a lot of swaying. Marcus usually stood behind her, massaging her lower back. Sometimes they faced each other – her arms around his neck, his arms around her waist – and they swayed together. Marcus never moved beyond calm. He was very good about encouraging Stella with words.

Stella grew more vocal as the intensity of her labor grew. Her pain came out in these beautiful, low, musical sounds. It was really quite lovely. She was moaning, but she was also singing. That was particularly noticeable just before and during her time in the tub. By that time, her contractions were coming rapidly, almost directly on top of each other. It was very sudden – the change from calm, fairly easy labor to really fast, intense labor. After she got out of the tub, the midwife checked her cervix and told us she was 9 cm dilated. We put the birthing ball on the bed with Stella leaning on it, using her elbows and forearms as support. Marcus stood facing her, also supporting the ball with his hands. Stella swayed in this position for a short while, in a lot of pain, but appearing to feel satisfied with the position.

It was time to push. Marcus moved to baby-catching position, I took his place in front of Stella, and pushing commenced. Stella was yelling – I can’t do this. I can’t do this – and then the name of her baby over and over and over again. She was calling her baby out of her body with this incredibly earthy, incredibly needy song. To inhibit tearing, the midwife suggested Stella move to her side. She was not thrilled about this, and the four of us helped her over. The nurse and I held Stella’s right leg up while she pushed on her side. First a gush of fluid and then a sweet baby girl in her daddy’s arms and then suddenly on her mama’s chest. Beautiful and healthy and breathing. Just like that.

Stella’s labor was five and a half hours long. She pushed for seven minutes. She yelled – I can’t do this – twice, and then her baby was born. The woman is good at giving birth.

This was my first experience as a support person at someone’s birth. I feel very lucky to have experienced this with my friends. I couldn’t stop grinning – every time her contractions increased, I couldn’t help but smile. A few times, Marcus and I caught eyes, and we grinned at each other in anticipation and excitement. It was such a lovely experience. So real. This is the process through which we all come into the world. This is it. This is the beginning of life. It’s hard and painful and exhausting. And it’s beautiful.

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