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True story moments in the life of a midwife

Sitting with a dear midwife friend on a rainy dark evening, a call informs us that a family we had sat with for 16 hours earlier in the day now finds this laboring person on their hands and knees in the yard.

Surges initially had begun strongly and quickly all those hours earlier, then slowed, stopped and then had just happened rarely and randomly. Nourishing rest, food and conversations had unfolded all day long. We all agreed that the midwife and birth companions should go home, rest and prepare for the call back when contractions begin again.

It was one of our wonderful birth companions who had called with this new update. I had been home all of 10 minutes. We encourage this family to slip back into the house and we would quickly begin our journey toward them. The laboring person declares that they want to get into the car and head our way. This is a huge change in plans and we trust this way of knowing people have about their needs. No one knows this person, their body and this baby better than the laboring person.

Knowing that this baby might be born en-route we race to the car and begin the drive towards them, hoping we can meet them and one of us can then get in the vehicle and ride with the family with the other midwife following.

Off into the night we go. There are always nuances and layers to these stories, one is that my windshield wipers are not functioning properly and we see smears of fluid across the windshield until the rain becomes heavy, then they become much more effective. My midwifery friend commits to changing my wipers blades asap. Its not easy to coordinate car maintenance as a midwife. You need your vehicle at a moments notice, at all timesJ

We work with the most amazing birth companions. Beautiful folks who love to support laboring families with nourishing foods, making you herbal baths, who will offer hands on support or slip into the background, depending on what your labor is asking for. They are there to say,’ yes, you are doing this so beautifully’, then nest you and your sweet baby into a freshly made bed, bring you warm tea, and carry on to manifest cleaning magic so that no one could tell you ever had a home birth. This birth companion showed up to drive the laboring family, so the family could labor together in the back.

After about 10 miles down the road there is an update: the laboring person relays that ‘the baby is coming’. Faster we slip down the road. What a gift to have a sister midwife along with me in the car. She is encouraging and supporting this family verbally, No head visible yet, we exhale and continue to driveJ We decide to pull over and sit with flashers on until our birth companion reaches us, not wanting to miss each other in the darkness and now heavy rain. After 6 minutes we called again to get an update on their location, they are 6 miles ahead of us now!!! How could this happen, we were watching for the birth companion's car. It is then that we learned that this thoughtful birth companion had borrowed a larger vehicle so the family would have more comfortable space. So thoughtful and this is how we missed each otherJ

Turning around, racing quickly down the road, we learn that pushing has begun. ``We are coming, and we are close’, we say, trying to close the distance as fast as we can.

Our wise birth companion pulls over, slips on gloves and there beside the road, she holds beautiful space for this family as their little one journeys toward the outer world. We are on speakerphone now. We hear her assure mama that baby’s head is beautifully pink, with the next surge we hear her say that ‘baby is turning their head, just like they are supposed to’, then we hear, “baby is here, and doing wonderfully, when you are ready lets get baby skin- to- skin on you, everything is just right” . This family was so amazing, this birth companion held beautiful space and belief in the normal physiological process of birth and knew that all that was needed was reassurance that all was just as it was supposed to be.

We were two minutes away. About a minute from our arrival, I see flashing lights in the rear view mirror. So sorry, there is no way I am stopping. Now I can see the vehicle on the side of the road with flashers. We jump out of the car and run to this family, I can see/hear the officer behind us running after us and yelling to stop. Yes there was a car and on-foot chase.

Then we are there. Baby nuzzled to chest, this little one telling us all about their amazing journey into the world. The trooper immediately transformed their approach as soon as they realized what had unfolded. Soon we were brought blankets and gloves from their car (hard to see into our own gear bags on this dark, rainy night).

A few minutes later we were packing up for the drive to my home for a more relaxing immediate postpartum recovery. The officer smiles and asks the family if they have a name yet for this little one, they say ‘no’ and he says “how about ‘Ticket”

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