41 years ago today I was born in the mountains of Washington state. It has been a long journey to becoming a doula in Middle Georgia. I asked my mom if she would please write my birth story, so that it could be shared. She said yes and here it is!
“I was only 19 the night you were born. It was early spring in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. We lived near Baring, a tiny dot of a town. My dog had recently had puppies and my ducks, chickens and geese hatched eggs. New life filled the air with excitement and anticipation. Crocus pushed their purple buds up through the moist earth. I was big and pregnant and eagerly waiting for you to come. Your due date was March 1 , 1977. I had prenatal care 40 miles away with a friendly old doctor. I’d visited the maternity ward at the hospital where he worked and was rather alarmed that I might deliver there. About half way through pregnancy I’d wished for a home birth. Our dentists wife had a home birth and that planted the seed of possibility for me. My Grandmother had my mom and aunt at home in the 1920’s.She felt it was safer to stay home, and she loved and trusted her midwife. A public health nurse gave me private child birth classes at my house once a month when she came to the mountains for the WIC program. She said that she didn’t know of any midwives that would come so far out to assist a birth. It never occurred to me to consider delivering in Seattle.
Three days after your due date a friend came skipping into my house declaring “the midwifes here, the midwifes here”! Following behind her was a small woman with tight curly hair and a strong but kind manner. Gloria had traveled to Washington to assist her best friends birth on the Olympic Peninsula and afterwards traveled to the Cascades to visit friends. Friends that were also my friends and convinced her to come meet me. We talked about my prenatal course and my diet and lifestyle. We hugged and she said she could stay one week until having to return to Oregon. The next night she and her partner Dan went and heard Willie Nelson at the Paramount in Seattle. I’ll always remember that! She checked on me before leaving and all was quiet. I was surrounded with women friends and had lots of support. I was inspired by the book “Birth Without Violence” and anticipated my baby entering the world greeted with low lights and gentleness.
The night of March 6th I had lots of preparatory contractions and finally fell asleep after midnight. It all started back up the 7th. I was happy and going with the flow. My water released at 4 pm and Gloria said I was 4 cm and ready to go! This is when the contractions increased intensity. My childhood friend held my hand and others gave me water and touch and encouraged me with kind words. Gloria kept track of your heartbeat and my vitals and well being. There were two twelve year olds present that brought sweetness and faith. Your dad was there offering strength. I allowed the river of contractions to sweep me along. I was naked and primal, sweating and cold and hot and opening. It was marvelous to push and do something with the contractions other than cope. I was being cheered on by my midwife and supporters. One of the young girls joyfully said that she could see your hair! When your head was out you gave a lively cry before your body was born. Amazing! When you fully arrived Gloria placed you on my chest over my heart and I whispered in your ear ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’. Thus began our mother daughter journey. You are my heart.”
My mom is one of my very best friends. She is also a midwife and one of the reasons I became a doula. Every day I am grateful for her. I love you, mom!