This afternoon I had the opportunity to catch a darling baby boy, but this time, I had help! This mama had lots and lots of family support. Daddy was there, the grandmas were there and the big sister was there. We’ll call big sister “Sarah.” Sarah is six years old and she was SO excited to finally meet her new baby brother. Every time I would walk into the room she would ask me if it was time yet. At one point she saw a little bit of blood on my glove after an exam and was a little worried. The grandmas were amazing and promptly reassured her that it was OK and perfectly normal. It quickly became obvious to me that the mom and the grandmas had already done a great job of preparing Sarah for what she might see during a birth. Her mom asked me if it was OK with me if she stayed in the room for the birth. I always feel like I’ve failed a little if they have to ask me something like that-it’s THEIR experience, not mine. I told mom that I was supportive of whatever they wanted.
Finally the time was here to meet the new baby brother! As mom pushed, Sarah became very interested in the process. She was fascinated with seeing the top of her baby brother’s head as he was about to be born. Sarah started out standing next to her dad, daddy was more nervous than Sarah. At one point, Sarah said to her dad “daddy, you’re shivering! Stop shivering, it’s going to be OK.” She progressively moved from the head of mom’s bed to my side. I asked mom if it was OK if Sarah helped me catch the baby-she said it was so we asked Sarah if she wanted to help. She eagerly said “YES!” In no time at all we had her outfitted with gloves and a gown so she wouldn’t get her “I’m a BIG Sister” t-shirt messy. I gave Sarah instructions that I would help guide the head out and once the shoulders were out it was her job to “catch” the rest of the body with me. As the head began to emerge Sarah was very “hands on” I gently supported the perineum and Sarah’s hands were right next to mine the whole time. Then, two contractions later the baby boy was born. Sarah did exactly as we’d discussed and she caught the baby’s lower body and together we put baby on mom’s tummy. She was SO excited and asked so many very good questions. She wanted to know everything there was to know about babies! Once the baby was on mommy’s tummy Sarah wanted to take her gloves off and climb up next to them-which she did! She touched the baby and talked to him-she took ownership of him!!
Sarah’s midwifery skills didn’t stop with the birth. The nurse rubbed mom’s tummy and checked her bleeding. Five minutes later I looked over to see Sarah sitting on the bed next to mommy, pulling up her gown and rubbing on her belly! Once mommy and baby were all stable, Sarah and I both signed the birth certificate.
I’m sure some people think I’m weird or crazy but that’s OK, Sarah will never forget this experience-and I’m sure her kindergarten teacher will get a kick out of “Show and Tell” this week!