I (Pamela) carry my own gratitude in having the honour of supporting families in their most powerful and vulnerable moments as they welcome their babies into their family. Thanks to this lovely client for sharing her gratitude and the story of the birth of her baby:
It's been almost 3 months since you were born, little one. As the time between your arrival and our present moment grows, I'm left reflecting on that wild and awe inspiring moment when I first saw your face, I can't help but circle back to gratitude.
I'm grateful for midwives. Your dad and I were so lucky to have options when choosing who would care for us, and for us it was an easy choice. All of our friends who had babies had been cared for by Plum midwives and had nothing but positive experiences. Getting a whole team of talented professionals is such a great deal and knowing that there would be a familiar face there at your birth helped me feel confident. They were there for us before, during, and after your arrival, always knowledgeable and compassionate.
I'm grateful for choice. Thankfully the approach to childbirth in the Comox Valley is not one size fits all. Hospital or home, medical pain relief or unmedicated, just your partner or your whole family by your side (though, admittedly during the covid era there were some options that were limited). Prenatal group classes helped me feel empowered to make the choices that were right for us. This helped me to draw up a plan that left room for flexibility and decide what my preferences would be. I hoped for a hospital birth where I was free to move, to labour without medications, with a calm environment and to welcome my baby with skin to skin. I'm grateful that these preferences were honoured and even more grateful that no unforeseen circumstances necessitated a shift in plan.
I'm grateful for hospitals. While there was a moment in early labour where I felt a strong desire to stay put, hospital birth was the right choice for us in the end. You finally made your appearance after a 28 hour labour and 4 (yes 4!) hours of pushing. In the end you were helped along by an OBGYN and vacuum extraction, which would not have been an option at home, and would have meant a hospital transfer during active labour. We were so happy to have the support of the nurses for the first day. They were all the perfect balance of professional and caring, calm and efficient, reassuring and responsive. We felt so supported and well cared for.
I'm grateful for this body of mine. Sometimes I need to remind myself of this when I look in the mirror and see a belly full of stretch marks er… tiger stripes: I flipping grew a human! At each stage of labour I remember thinking to myself "this is hard, why do people do this?" Then the next stage would hit "ok, this is worse, can I go back?". This body let me carry you 40 weeks (exactly to the day) without complications. This body withstood the pain, the tearing, and the 28 hours of labour without medical pain relief. I've heard that giving birth is like running a marathon and getting beat up at the end. By the end it felt like I'd run at least two. This body continues to nourish you, tiny human snoozing in my lap. This body is pretty phenomenal.
I'm grateful for doulas, specifically our doula Pamela. It is one thing to read about breathing techniques and positions for labour, it is another thing entirely to put them into practice. She was there to share her calm, guiding me through movement and using my voice (which I did not think would be my thing but very much was) for almost a full 24 hours. She was able to spell off my partner for some much needed breaks so I never had to be alone. Without her I doubt I would have been able to stick to my plan of avoiding an epidural.
I'm grateful for my partner, my steadfast support. My unflappable husband who was by my side for it all, including having my water break forcefully in his face. Having him by my side and watching him become your dad has made me fall more in love with him than ever.
Most of all, my sweet little baby, I am so grateful you are here. Pregnancies don't always end in welcoming healthy babies. I couldn't fully believe that you would be here and be mine until you were. Before you were born I could picture your little feet but not your face. I loved feeling your kicks and hiccups but to fully imagine you felt like testing fate. Now I couldn't imagine life without you. Your smile, your sweet little voice, your kicky legs. I'm so in love with you and I am so grateful I get to be your mama.