Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Simple Question

"What do you plan to do if you go into labor when Tim is on the road?" I asked simply as I trotted around the circle. I was riding Kareem in the round corral at Sabrina's house in Arroyo Grande. Our sons were busy playing Ninja Turtles together. This was how I had spent many afternoons lately.

Sabrina had hired me to train her young Arabian horse. As I quietly worked with the bay gelding, I chatted with Sabrina about the upcoming birth of her second child. Sabrina and this birth had been on my mind a lot. She had shared her sadness about having had a cesarean the first time. Her story had resonated with me as I relived how close my own son's birth had come to happening in an OR.

We had compared notes on the different paths that had led us both into territory we previously hadn't known existed. It was Sabrina's desire to try again with this new baby for the vaginal experience she had missed. At this time it wasn't unusual or controversial for women to V-BAC. Five years before it would have been unheard of for a doctor to "let" her try. Now of course they might "let" her if she successfully jumps through all the hoops of finding a willing doctor and goes to the right kind of hospital. But this birth was happening during a window of opportunity that women had struggled hard to create and doctors quickly closed.

My query was a simple planning and logistical question really. Her husband was a truck driver. He was gone over night several times a week. Not being ready to face that problem quite yet, like many pregnant women, she had just shelved it to be worked out at a later date when she had more time and energy. She said, "I don't know. I haven't really thought about it yet."

"Well I'd be happy to come and be with you at the hospital until he can get here." A simple question and a simple offer; one friend to another. There were no great bells and whistles, no sky-opening claps of thunder. Nothing to tell me I had stepped onto a path that would take me places I never knew I wanted to go. And so we began to plan. We spent many hours together, going to Bradley Classes, looking over the nursery she was redoing and waiting for the big day. I learned how sweet a friendship between two women can be that blossoms around a new life coming into the world.

As the days passed one after another beyond her due date she confided in me that her biggest fear was having another c-section and being in the recovery room all alone after the birth. She said the surgery was not that bad and her recovery at home went smoothly, but the time spent lying in the recovery room waiting to hold her son was heartbreaking. I can't tell you the story of the birth because that is only Sabrina's to tell. Whenever I tell a birth story in this blog I will not be attaching the woman's name to it. But this shared experience taught me that I was drawn to this work. I can tell you that because of Sabrina's honesty in expressing her biggest fear to me I have fought hard to never have one of my c-section moms alone after their birth with no one who cares about them to hold their hand and celebrate the arrival of their new little miracle.

Thank you Sabrina.

Click here to read the next post in my collection of writings about my personal doula journey.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer iit's really touching to hear the stories of who and what made you decide to do the various things you do.

    In my case, because it was a planned c-section due to Francesca being breech, and because I had you as a doula to work with me and the hospital beforehand, I KNEW I would be waiting for a while in the recovery room. Knowing made all the difference to me. I was able to wait and be comfortable knowing she was in good hands. And looking back, having that time to relax before all the excitement began was invaluable.