10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, take a breath and let’s do it again. I was toggling between the thoughts of messing up my count and the sheer awesomeness of what was happening. Baby E was almost here. Let’s back up the story a tad though….their goal was no epidural. As any woman who has given birth ‘naturally’ knows it’s easy to decide that before ever having a contraction. Once those contractions become relentless, goals and desires can easily shift from “all natural, no epidural” to “I need the epidural and I need it NOW.” Here’s the key to keeping those original goals alive and steadfast; a delicate dance between laboring mom and coach. As mom was beginning to lose her confidence, her coach stepped up and became her confidence. He spoke lovingly to her, he held her hips as they rocked away the pain, and he assured her that she WAS able. She may not have believed all he had to say at the moment, but he kept retelling her and it got them through.
The time I spent with my friends solidified the fact that the coach plays such an important role in keeping the laboring mama grounded and focused. I wouldn’t ever want a woman to feel alone going in to such a mind blowing time as this. God designed a woman’s body to carry and deliver babies; the physical part of that will happen whether we are alone or with support. God did not, however, design us to be alone. The emotional demand labor puts on a woman highlights the need for support. Whether that support is the woman’s spouse, partner, friend, relative, doesn’t necessarily matter. What’s important to take away is that each laboring woman has support during their labor experience. Support roles are key when mom is trying to muster up all her will to get through that contraction that seems worse than the one before, support is key when mom feels weak and wants to change the birth plan based on her fear not her true desire, a support person is key to speak up for mom when she is scared about what is about to happe
n but she can’t relax long enough to speak up, her support person is key when delivery doesn’t go as planned and the room starts to whirl around with bells, whistles, and medical jargon, and the list continues. This moment in life is monumental and needs to be a shared moment.
This was a truly remarkable performance, one clothed in strength, perseverance, faith, and love. Mamma Steph rocked the meaning of “natural” birth and it was not within her own strength alone that it went so well.
The grandeur of the birth event never ceases to amaze me. Whether it was during my own deliveries, the several that I’ve had the joy of witnessing, or even the ones I’ve seen over and over again on video, I still get ‘kid in the candy store’ excited when that final push begins the next greatest love story.