I had this feeling that wouldn’t go away that Friday was going to be the day. For one, we live in the worst rush-hour traffic hub of the South. My husband had plans to go hang out with a friend he hadn’t seen in years, Smushy boy was going through a growth spurt and wanted to nurse 24/7. Diva girl had her birthday party that weekend. Saturday was chock full of plans and events that were only happening on that particular Saturday. So, of course, I was convinced Turtle Baby would decide to make his appearance Friday.
I texted her around 6:00pm and we chatted for a bit. I obsessively checked my phone until I went to bed, making sure it was plugged in and the volume turned all the way up. I woke up at 5 am, checked my phone, and went back to sleep. Woke up again around 8, checked my phone and began to get ready for the day. I heard about a great consignment sale and thought about texting the info to mama-to-be, then decided against it. I thought about inviting her to the ICAN rally, but it was hot and muggy and I didn’t want to bother her.
Then, I logged on Facebook. I was sitting, again, in traffic after a horrendous afternoon. I decided I needed a Mocha Frappicino from McDonald’s. I had two sleeping babies in their car seats and the line was wrapped around the building. I pulled in anyway, put my car in park, and played on my phone.
I saw a post that made my heart sink so low I could have sworn it went through my seat, the floorboard, and scraped the asphalt beneath the car. I put down my phone, put the car back into drive, and gave up my spot in line and headed home. I called hubby and. Damnit; my voice broke before I even got out the second sentence. He broke off his plans, pissed off his best friend, and told me he was on his way home.
I got home, pulled into the parking lot, parked, and sat there. I just sat there for about ten minutes. I was so hurt, so upset, and so bummed that I couldn’t really think straight. I tried rationalizing. Maybe I had been in a bad service spot and I missed her and her husband’s calls. Maybe I had missed text messages. Maybe they got marked “read” accidentally. Maybe my phone was broken.
No matter what had happened, it wouldn’t change the fact my client had given birth without me.
I got the kids inside, brought up the birthday party swag we had went shopping for, and started obsessing. What could I have possibly done so wrong that made her not want to call me? Did I overstep any boundaries? Did I not get along with her, her husband and her other support person as well as I had thought? Did I offend her, her husband, or her best friend?! All these questions and a million more raced through my mind at a lightening speed.
I made myself put down my phone and focus on doing whatever else I could think of. It didn’t last very long. After a few hours, it finally hit me. It didn’t matter that I was there. It didn’t matter that I missed out on what was an incredible birth. It only mattered that the mom and baby were doing well. I was being selfish. This birth wasn’t about me. This birth was about this mom, this baby, and their dance. I was still bummed, but felt pretty petty. I texted Turtle Mama my congrats and told her Turtle Baby was gorgeous. She responded almost immediately. Turns out, she had tried to get a hold of me. But, her phone didn’t send her novel-length text message. Apparently, it had too many characters. She had her ideal birth. It went a little awry in the beginning, but she had her support and felt that she could do it without me. And, by all means, that was her right. She was worried about offending me! About upsetting me!
I told her not to worry and to quit apologizing. The fact that she and Turtle Baby were doing great was the most important thing. The fact that she was able to have the birth she wanted was inspiring. The fact that she did an amazing job in trusting her body, her baby, and her instincts spoke volumes. She had done it. She had her VBAC. She has a beautiful, healthy baby who she was currently snuggling. She has a loving husband who is currently in awe of his rock star wife. And that is how it should be.
I am a firm believer that things work out the way they were meant to. If I wasn’t meant to be present at the birth, so be it. Maybe the role that this mom truly needed was the emotional support and another woman who believed she could do it. As a doula, and as a woman, my goal is to help the mother educate herself, figure out what she wants, and then go about obtaining that. With Turtle Mama and Baby, that is exactly what I did. I may not have been the one rubbing her back through contractions, but I was a source of unwavering support, multiple ideas, goofy jokes, and affirmation.
Am I still bummed at missing Turtle Baby’s birth? Yes. Am I upset? No. Am I proud of Mama? YES. I’m also honored that I was allowed to help in the manner that I did. It was an honor to be brought into her trusted circle and to be counted on for support. I thank you for that, Turtle Mama. Now, go give that sweet baby more kisses and snuggles. I’m going to go back to working on making sure more mothers have their ideal birth.