The night my grandchild was born was one of the most perfect nights of my life – my daughter in law was (and remains very precious to me and it was a special honor that she asked me to be her doula. I am very glad that I had the presence of mind to engage my best doula apprentice at the time ,to be her “real” doula.
Becasue much to my chagrin and shame – i was almost totally useless when the time came for jazmine to come into the world!
Chanell spent her early labor in very high spirits, she was so so very beautiful and she ate heartily a meal of smothered chicken, mashed potatoes and broccoli that i had prepared for her. We were watch a completely funny movie, Road trip” with Tom Green, I think it was and Chanell laughed and eat and contracted like a pro!
Her contractions were very close together and after locating her best friend Ian, we headed to the hospital, we being Chanell and Robert (my son), my ex husband Dale and Ian who we managed to scoop up from BART on our way to Summit Hospital. The midwife, my dear colleague Cho Li, had been summoned and was on her way. Chanell’s mother Toni was also there, glowing with excitement.
Sheila, my apprentice was at the hospital waiting for us with a sunny smile on her face. She helped us get the bags and birth ball, not to mention our laboring momma into the hospital and to triage. The loving staff at Summit hospital welcomed us with warmly and sent us directly into a large labor and delivery room.
We’d barely gotten Chanell into the bed, when she said to me. “Mom, I think I have to push”. I looked at her and said something that i would never have said to a client, “ I said, “No you’re not.” As the words left my mouth – I felt stunned and overwhelmed. What on earth was wrong with me? How could I say such a thing? Thankfully, my apprentice had the presence of mind to summon a nurse, who checked Chanell and declared her fully dilated and ready to push.
Everyone in the room was thrilled and happy – Chanell ,most of all. She declared, “ this isn’t so bad Mom!’ I smiled at her and told her what great job she was doing and that soon she would hold her sweet baby in her arms.
Everything began to move rather quickly, the bed was prepared and Chanell placed in a gown. Sheila was swift and loving as i knew she would be as doula. When Chanell began to push out her baby – we had barely been in the hospital an hour! her midwife almost missed the birth as she came running to the room as Baby Jazmine was crowning – her midwife got into position and in very short order Baby Jazmine was born to the delight of all gathered. She was born while I held bother her momma and her daddy’s hand, and as she was born her mother’s water bag broke and splashed me across the chest with amniotic fluid. A baptism!
Hours later I floated home from this experience – so high and happy for my son and his lovely wife. And so completely in love with this perfect little life. Jazmine Amiee Siver!
I remained troubled however, at my reaction to being told that her birth was imminent d. It deeply worried me that I would say such a thing to a birthing mother, much less my beloved daughter in law. I sought out an older birth worker for insight. The woman i spoke to shook her head and laughed. “Oh forgive yourself Samsarah – really!That whipper snapper just decided to have her baby before you were ready”
I looked at her with a puzzled expression and she said, “yes, girl – you just weren’t ready yet! This was a first baby – they usually take a bit of time – but your amazing dagher just decided to go on and have her baby in this super speedy fashion – AND YOU JUST WEREN’T READY YET TO BE A GRANDMOTHER!” We laughed and cried together as i embraced the truth of her words. What she said was just the simply truth and I received it with full humility and with gratitude that i had engaged a wonderful woman to be the doula for my son and daughter in law. Thank you Sheila Kelly for all of the work and all of the love you showered upon my family. Thank you for your professionalism , patience and power !
My daughter in law ,to this day doesn’t remember, me saying the words to her when she announced her desire to push, and I am so grateful that she doesn’t. She remembers what was powerfully important on that day, she remembers that she was loved and supported and that she pushed out her lovely first born child as she had planned and desired; on her own terms , at her own speed, into the arms of a loving and skilled midwife, surrounded by her mother, her husband ,her best friend, and her family! That’s all that needs remembering!
I wirte this story on my grandchild’s 15th birthday with fond memory of Midwife Cho Li, and the midwives and staff at Summitt Hospital in Oakland, CA. When Summitt was acquired by Sutter Hospitals, the labor and deliver unit at Summit was closed, and many of the midwives who attended with care the women of Oakland were let go. Cho Li retired, and she did so with a sterling reputation of having delivered many a well born child, both as a home birth midiwife CPM certified professional Midiwife) and as a Certified Nurse Midiwife.