Kaylan hired me when she was about 40 weeks along in her pregnancy. She responded to a Facebook post that I had published in a local group and I met her two days before she hit 41 weeks. She expressed that she was not as happy as she should have been with her current doula and was interested in hiring me. Over the next few days, we fully expected baby A to make his appearance, so each evening, I’d go over to Kaylan’s house and we’d talk. Sometimes, it would be about labor and how she wished her birth to look. Other times, it’d be just getting to know each other and connecting on various topics. It was important to both of us that we had a good connection before she went into labor. Vibes were important and they were definitely established quickly.
However, baby A waited three whole weeks, so Kaylan and I got longer to connect than we thought-a huge blessing. At 43 weeks, she was still very pregnant and ever-so-patiently waiting for baby to decide when he was coming.
In the early hours of New Year’s Eve, around 3 a.m., I got my first message from Kaylan.
Hey, just a head’s up-I think I’m having contractions.
She made it clear she was okay for now, but that I should be aware. By around 5 a.m. she sent another message, letting me know they were picking up but not to rush and freak out. Within the next 15 minutes, it was time.
You can come now
A text so short and simple, yet was about to catapult a beautiful and exhilarating moment. I gathered my things quickly and took off, arriving at around 6 a.m. When I arrived, Kaylan was on her side in bed, groaning productively through her contractions. Shortly after, the midwives arrived and immediately started setting up. The room was filled with this excitement and anticipation, with the snapping of the latex gloves being put on, or the buzz of the birds just waking up outside. The world wasn’t even awake yet-but their world was about to change.
Lying next to Kaylan on the bed was her three year old angel of a child, who slept peacefully through her mama’s groans and exclamations. It was suggested that Kaylan move to the tub in the bathroom connected to their bedroom, so the rush of water was started peacefully. Every so often, one of us would peek through the door to see if the soon to be big sister had awoken-but for a while, she hadn’t.
Kaylan knelt in the not too cold, not too hot water to breathe through her contractions, which were pretty back to back at this point. Over the next 30 minutes, her husband, Devin, and I took turns scooping the water onto her back during each contraction. At one point, the pain overwhelmed Kaylan’s body for a moment. Sitting there in front of her, holding a trash can in one hand and letting her squeeze my other hand, it was evident that Kaylan had my support-in more ways than she could imagine.
After being in the tub for a while, around 7:30 am, Kaylan knelt on the side of the bed, choosing to have Devin support her with hip squeezes as she moaned through the pain. Each contraction was opening her cervix and preparing her body to welcome her long-awaited baby. She requested to get back in the water, this time on her back. Devin and I again rotated pouring water on her belly to alleviate some of the pain.
At this point, big sister had woken up. She opened her eyes and looked around towards the bathroom and proclaimed, “Oh no! Is mama in there having the baby without me?” I reassured her that mama had not had her baby yet and took her into the bathroom to see Kaylan. One of the midwives held her so she could see what was happening. When she’d had enough, we took a little adventure around the house to take a breather and talk about what was going to happen.
One amazing part about Kaylan is that she went over birth with big sister long before birth actually took place. They read books, watched videos, and talked about how blood is a good thing during birth. She even reminded the little one that when mama screams, she can scream too. Big sister took note of this and mentioned a few times on our walk around the house that she heard her mama screaming for the baby.
Around 8:45, I could tell the time was coming because Kaylan’s moans and breaths were becoming deeper and more productive. I began popping in between her bedroom and the living room, where big sister was playing. Kaylan was squatted down over the end of the bed, shouting and talking through each contraction, which were now almost constant. She began to push around 9 a.m., each push producing noise and exciting tones throughout the entire house. For about 20 minutes, Kaylan pushed and squeezed her baby down through her body. Each time, Devin would squeeze her hips and support her, letting her know he was there physically and emotionally.
As the screams were getting more intense, big sister came running in to watch and see what was happening. She stepped right next to Heidi, the midwife, to watch her baby be born. She took a step back right as Heidi said-
“We can feel baby’s head, Kaylan!”
Right as she said this, Kaylan began to push again. Though baby was still inside Kaylan’s birth canal, a small shrieking cry that sounded like an underwater yelp started ringing through the room. With everything she had, Kaylan pushed and breathed her baby through one more push.
At 9:31 a.m., baby A had arrived.
Heidi handed him to her between her legs, where she held the baby on her belly for immediate skin to skin.
“There’s your baby!” I told big sister, who was in complete awe at what she had just witnessed.
“Yeah, it is.” is all her sweet little 3-year-old self could get out. Her eyes were full of adoration and she walked up to her mama and patted her arm.
“You did it, mama!” she told her. Everyone in the room let out a collective Awe!. Big sister was supportive all the way through.
Since they had waited to find out if baby A was a boy or a girl, Heidi made sure that no one, including herself, had seen before she handed the baby to Kaylan. When Kaylan was ready, she asked us if we were ready. She turned to big sister and asked her if she wanted to know. She peeked in at her baby.
“It’s a baby brother, Rels!” she told her little one. Big sister shrieked and giggled and relished in the sweet and pure joy that was surrounding her in this moment. There was nothing but adoration, bliss, and happiness emitting from both mama and baby in that bedroom where life had just been given.
In order to give mom, dad, and babies time to bond, the midwives, photographer, and myself went into the living room to chart and wait.
The ceremonial cord burning took place about an hour or so after baby A was born. When it was time, Devin gathered the box, the candles, and the aluminum foil to begin the cord burning. Kaylan held baby A and requested that I help big sister with her candle. After all, a baby had just been born and giving a three year old free reign of a flame might not have been on the agenda, too.
Stretching out the cord that once connected mama and baby over the box, Devin lit one candle and then lit his own. The candles were put directly on the cord, allowing it to slowly burn and sever the tie that once provided the baby with life. Now, it was mama and papa’s turn to do that.
Baby A came rumbling into the world weighing 8.5 pounds and standing tall at 21 inches. He was all his parents hoped he would be and then some. Birthing him and bringing his life earthside was something Kaylan won’t forget. One thing that stands out to me was that she continually breathed through her contractions, unafraid and holding nothing back when it came to releasing her emotions and pain. Baby A was brought earthside in the most peaceful, beautiful way and let go from inside his mother with the greatest joy and energy imaginable.
"There is a power that comes to women when they give birth. They don’t ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds on the horizon and passes through, carrying the child with it."