Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Being "with woman"

“Tiene otro?”  She nods her head, she places her hands high on the wall and leans into it.  Standing behind her I place my hands on her hips and apply a firm, squeezing pressure.  She sways gently and moans softly.  The beautiful toddler giggles and runs back and forth between her mommy and the wall-as if playing a game of “London Bridges.”  Between my little bit of Spanish and her sister-in-law’s broken English we are able to communicate effectively. 
The contraction releases and she takes a deep cleansing breath and smiles, then begins to again pace back and forth across the floor, the little girl following her every step.  Baby sister is on her way but daddy can’t be here, he’s working out of town.  The mother to be has her sister-in-law and her cousin at her side helping her bring the new baby into the world. 
“La palota?”  “Si.” I help her balance on the large red ball.  This makes the toddler giggle.  I bring in a smaller version of the ball for her to sit on-just like Mommy.  I sit behind Mommy and rub her back.  This is not as comfortable as walking, she stands up and walks.  She leans on the wall again.  I resume the hip counter-pressures.  The little girl wants to help.  She places her hands on the outside of mommy’s knees and presses in-she giggles.  Baby sister is getting closer.  Mommy can feel her moving down.  Standing is no longer comfortable, she moves to the bed.   Her soft, gentle moans are becoming louder.  I encourage her to work with her body-don’t fight it, let the baby come.  Tears roll from her eyes.  The little girl is scared.  She leaves with the young cousin that has just arrived.  They will go play with toys in the waiting room and return to meet baby sister.  Rose comes in to help me talk to Mom in her native language. 
She begins to bear down.  “Muy bien.”  “NO PUEDO, NO PUEDO, NO PUEDO!”  “Si, se puede, meja, si, su puede.”  We see the top of baby’s head.  She will be beautiful and have a full head of dark black hair. She digs deep down and finds the last bit of strength she needs to bring her baby into the world.  Rose encourages her and helps me coach her.  The head slides out easily, the shoulders follow and the baby slides into my hands.  I immediately place her on mom’s tummy.  Rose has tears running down her face.  I have tears in my eyes.  Mommy has tears of relief and happiness.  Aunt and cousin have broad smiles and tears. Baby is crying vigorously. 
Happy Birthday, Baby.  Your sister is here to meet you.  The toddler crawls up on the bed with mommy and gently touches her sister-smiling and laughing in delight.  Daddy is on the phone.  Daddy asks his sister to please thank the midwife for helping his baby come safely into the world…..and I know I have done my job.