My husband and I have a tiny daughter named Eleanor.
She turned six weeks this past Tuesday and we consider it a feat of greatness that we have managed to keep her fed, happy (all the pre-sunrise screaming aside), and healthy. After all, this is our first go at this whole parenthood thing and I can assure you that it’s no joke.
However, we were all fortunate enough to begin this journey on the best possible note, in the extraordinary hands (both literally and figuratively) of the UCLA midwives.
Our birth story is pieced together from the various accounts of the people who happened to be present- my mother, my husband, and our midwife, Shadman. Oh, and I was there, too. While in its entirety my labor lasted roughly twelve hours, my mind has managed to condense it down to fleeting memories of feelings- surprise (oh hey, my water broke during dinner!), concern (I was zero centimeters dilated at my initial exam and was told that induction was a possibility), pain (my contractions began to come on hard and fast over the next couple of hours), intense concentration (labor is REALLY hard work), and finally, an overwhelming sense of euphoria as our wonderfully pink baby was placed on my chest at just after eight o’clock the next morning.
But I also remember the sense of total support that I felt throughout my labor. Knowing that we very much hoped to deliver sans any unnecessary medical interventions, Shadman made that into a reality by allowing us the time that I needed for my labor to progress naturally, while ensuring that both baby and I were ok.
And, when my contractions were at their most intense just prior to transition, and all sense of time and reality had faded, and my brain was mush, and I just wanted it to be over, Shadman put a cool washcloth on my forehead, put her face close to mine, and reassured me that I (my body) was doing exactly what I (it) needed to be doing. It was precisely what I needed to hear at precisely the right time; I was able to pull the necessary strength and stamina from somewhere in order to let my body finish the labor process.
We are so incredibly thankful for Shadman and for all of the UCLA midwives, who made the entire process, from the beginning of my pregnancy until we left the hospital with our daughter, a truly memorable, amazing, and healthy experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you.