By Robin Quinn: guest blogger
Robin grew up in Ojai, California and completed her BSN in Nursing in 2012. She became involved in nursing because she was very interested in maternity and midwifery. Families love her natural, holistic approach and ability to support parent-infant bonding throughout the birth and postpartum experience. Robin also speaks Spanish and volunteers as a nurse at a free medical clinic in the Bay Area.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being present for the birth of my younger sister, Zoe’s, first baby. She chose to have a home birth with a midwife, in the home we grew up in. Luckily, her water broke before she went into active labor, so I was granted some hours of travel to get to her before her labor progressed. I jumped in the car with my older sister and nephew, and we embarked on the six hour drive, keeping hopeful her labor did not progress too quickly. We arrived in the middle of the night, and were all fortunate to get some hours of sleep before the big day ahead.
Zoe began experiencing stronger contractions during the late morning, and I was amazed at the rhythm she found with her increasing contractions. She began breathing with the pressure and swaying back and forth. My stepmom, who was a labor and delivery nurse for twelve years, was timing and recording her contractions. We all prepared things around the house as the birthing hour approached. My dad filled the birthing tub and got the room comfortable for her. We connected to her husband on Skype, who was unable to be present due to complicated travel visa issues. He was able to be with us virtually the whole time, though! Once her contractions were about four minutes apart, which happened pretty quickly, we knew it was time to call the midwife.
The midwife arrived just before 2pm- and Zoe was experiencing regular and intense contractions by this time. The midwife was calm and reassuring, confident all was well and that Zoe was doing a great job. She checked the baby’s heart rate and prepared her supplies. Zoe was hesitant to get into the birthing tub initially, as she wanted to keep moving with the contractions and felt it would be too warm. Eventually, she chose to get into the water and found much relief. She had a demeanor of ultimate relaxation for a moment. Near 4pm, she was completely dilated and her urge to push became overwhelming. Throughout this time, I had supported her in a few different positions, encouraged her with her breathing, and helped keep her hydrated and as comfortable as possible. When the time came for her to deliver the baby, we were all encouraging her; my dad, step-mom, Zoe’s husband, my sister and nephew, and her two midwives. She ended up pushing for about thirty minutes, and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. When the baby’s head crowned, the midwife held the mirror so we could see his head, which was so amazing. He came out into the world gracefully. At 4:18pm, she gave birth to a lovely and healthy boy!
I will never forget this wonderful day. Especially the overwhelming joy we all felt when he was born, and the look on my sister’s face when he let out his first cry. I learned so much from this valuable experience: I was reminded to trust nature to take its course, how women’s intuition is very powerful, and how to be present and mindful with a mother’s signals. I am grateful to be involved in such a special part of new families’ lives, and the new mother being my sister made this day extra special. I look forward to more opportunities to support new families, both in birth and postpartum.
Robin Quinn, RN BSN