Getting Your Feet Wet

The saying usually indicates a lack of experience but in this birth story it was a personification of decades of experience.

In my work as a doula one of my favorite things is that text, “we are ready for you now!”

I jumped in my car and cranked up the worship music excited to watch another life come into the world!

When I came through the door the midwife, Ginger, was busy getting ready for baby’s arrival. Making sure everything needed would be near by and ready. She had two assistants with her also attending to details.

Mom had just gotten in the bath and was going through some intense contractions. She was 5 cm and -2 station. Signs that there was some laboring to do, but nothing we couldn’t support her through, and nothing she couldn’t handle! I came right to her and dad’s side and coached her through some contractions. It didn’t take much, she was a rockstar!

I brought her a reflexology tool to help draw some of her attention from the intensity of the contractions, she later said it made such a big difference!

Ginger would come in periodically and reaffirm mom, encourage dad, check on heart tones, and then let dad and I get back to work! She truly respected the space and created a supportive environment for mom and her team. She never went far and even when she wasn’t in the room she was listening for changes in moms tone during contractions.

Dad was a rockstar too. Providing all that was needed and gently encouraging his wife and breathing with her. It was beautiful and precious. You could feel the love between them that started this baby’s life and would bring her into the world.

As the contractions intensified so did mom’s power but she didn’t know how close she was to holding her baby. All she knew was that her body was screaming “Move!” but she didn’t know why or where. She thought it was because she was losing control but what the seconds after showed us was that baby was coming and coming fast, and her body was ready to move!

Within seconds baby’s head was peeking into the world and Ginger moved fast! Within seconds she jumped with both feet into the tub. Dad was supporting mom on one side and Ginger on the other. With the grace that only years can muster Ginger caught the baby, assured mom, encouraged dad, and even remembered to check her watch to see what time baby was born!

Dad ended up standing in the water too and Ginger coached him through passing the baby under mom into his arms to bring her up to mom. Dad, mom, and Ginger all surrounding this new baby and working together.

The photographer, Hannah, came minutes after baby was born. Fun part about a fast labor is you may miss out on the labor pics but you get beautiful postpartum pics to make up for it! Hannah was a gentle and quiet spirit as always. Capturing precious moments and soaking in the wonder of the room. She is a doula herself so she moves seamlessly and effortlessly through the space.

Ginger helped clean up mom and work with baby. The assistants brought towels to help clean and dry mom. With all the wet feet in the group everyone was glad for the plastic table cloth laid down beforehand. While mom was tended to by Ginger in the bed, the assistants cleaned the tub and bathroom. Mom and dad were free to focus on each other and their baby while I and the rest of the team took care of all the details.

The rest of the atmosphere was a beautiful balance of laughter, tending to mom and baby, and giving them space to bond in privacy. Overall this doulas observation of Ginger’s care was that she loves her job and she is good at it! She brought with her a wealth of knowledge of natural healing for mom and baby. But she also was a protector of informed consent, a guardian of the sacred birth space, and not afraid to get her feet wet!

Ginger: Midwife since 1997
My friend and fellow doula, Hannah Troyer, of Mothering Memories

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