Oh Maris and her labors…. or at least the two I have attended. Just goes to show how different each labor and birth can be. I was present for the birth of her 3rd, Prudence. I arrived at the hospital at the same time they did and just 26 minutes later Pru was born! When I got the news they were expecting again, only now we live 25 minutes out of town, I got a bit nervous. Even if I left at the first signs of them heading to the hospital like last time I would miss it, forget even waiting for a baby sitter to show up. Little did we know her 4th birth would end up being one of her longest.
Admittedly she called me earlier than last time, “just to be safe”. I headed over to their house, as she likes to labor at home as long as she can. It was such a wonderful vibe. Watching her mother her other 3 while simultaneously being in labor. Breakfasts were made, boo-boos were kissed, snuggles were had, all while she rocked this long labor.
When it was time to go to the hospital there was a sense of urgency, my palms were sweaty, I knew how quickly Maris transitions. In triage she found out she wasn’t quite as far along as she had expected. She was admitted. And her family prayed over her. I could feel her disappointment, her exhaustion, and even confusion as to why this was going so much differently than the last. Each of her previous births had progressively gotten shorter with each child, yet here she was laboring through the longest and hardest yet.
True to form, when Maris transitions, she doesn’t mess around. Her husband Kendall (who had been such a source of comfort and strength all day) wanted to catch their daughter. Well, he nearly didn’t get the chance to, honestly, baby nearly slid right out onto the bed. Her midwife acted quickly, with no time to even put gloves on, caught Clementine with the sleeves of her scrubs, and gently guided baby into dad’s waiting hands.
After her golden hour with their precious Clementine, their other 3 kiddos showed up. And OH. MY. WORD. The love they each had and showed in different ways for their new baby sister. I choked back tears and told my ovaries to quiet down down there!
There is always a sense of nervousness when delivering any birth story, but delivering one to a repeat client is exponentially more nerve wracking! No birth is ever the same, some can last 26 minutes, others can last 18 hours, and Maris has had both of those. They were equally powerful, equally beautiful… they were perfect in their own ways.