As far as I’m concerned, there is not a more exquisite experience on earth than seeing a child you have brought into the world, bring another child into the world. Last week at the Cambridge Birthing Center in Boston Massachusetts, I witnessed a true miracle as our daughter gave birth to her fourth child, a beautiful baby boy. To add to the spectacular nature of the a natural childbirth, it was a water birth (or as her five year old son says, “a waddo both”).
The picture below shows the tub used for laboring mothers who choose that option to make the birthing process easier. This place is designed for completely natural births including a “homey” bedroom with a lovely bed where mothers can labor instead of a hospital bed. There are no IVs or drug interventions in sight (but one of the best hospitals in the world directly across the street in case of an emergency).
Before I tell “the rest of the story” I have to add a disclaimer. Our daughter Saydi is an avid believer in bringing children into the world in a safe and entirely natural environment. There is nothing in this world that she loves more than labor and giving birth without drugs and the accompanying side-effects. I am a 100 percent supporter even though none of the births of our nine children were anything like what I witnessed in that delivery room. It seemed that crisis and seemingly unbearable pain accompanied all but two of my very short and almost violent deliveries. I personally, having never been trained as Saydi has, have a love/hate relationship with epidurals which I occasionally had time for. For those of you readers who have experienced twenty four hour labors with excruciating pain, complete with hours of pushing and without the assistance of a loving voice guiding you through the process, my heart goes out to you.
But this was a whole different genre. Saydi has been assisted in each of her births by a wonderful doula or labor coach. With her warm, calm spirit the doula insists that the lights in the labor room are low and that anyone present at the time of a labor pain be totally quiet so that Saydi could concentrate on her extremely hard work. She taught her to let her mind “go to a favorite place” that was warm and comfortable to take her mind off the pain and to think of opening up like soft butter. Sounds easy. Not! But Saydi’s mind allows her to do that inordinately well. True to what might be a genetic gift, she is in true labor only for about three hours.
The details are much too much for a blog post and more than you probably want to know but trust me….this is an amazing thing to see! The last hour of labor Saydi got into a warm tub. Her team included her heroic husband, the doula, a best friend who is also a certified doula as well as a photographer taking pictures and the midwife along with her admiring mother. At 11:00 p.m. the contractions were “serious” and at about 11:28 she suddenly felt the urge to push. Two surges later the midwife who was amazed herself exclaimed, “Catch your baby!” That baby came floating to the top of the water and made a dazzling and peaceful entry from heaven in the hands of his mother! Joy filled the room at the sight of the miracle of birth. After cuddling the newborn in the water for quite a while, Saydi’s comment was one you don’t often hear from mother who has just given birth, “Wow, I’d like to do that again!”
Saydi is always saddened at the end of the marvelous experience of pregnancy, labor and giving birth. There is nothing like all of that to bring life into focus…except maybe the realization after birth that it is not only an end but also a new beginning. Introducing a newborn to the world and his siblings and the ensuing change in a family is always a grand adventure. This baby has no idea what is about to happen to him nor does their darling two year old!
So far he seems pretty happy to join the family!
It’s the beginning of a whole new world of good.