She called me, pregnant with her second. She regretted some of the decisions she’d made during her first labor. Several days of very early, very light contractions and the gradual loss of her mucus plug is how labor began. She didn’t rest enough, then went to the hospital, far too early.

Once there labor progressed slowly and she had several exams then chose an epidural. Labor stopped. Pitocin began. It was a long night. Pushing was challenging. She couldn’t feel how or where to bear down. She tore.

“This time,” she told me on the phone,”I want to stay home, and I don’t want an epidural. I know it prolonged my labor.”

She gave birth last week. When she woke up with contractions she waited. Allowing the labor to intensify at home she called me when they were ready to go to the hospital. Her labor progressed steadily. She vomited. A lot. She had diarrhea. A lot.  She sat on the birth ball while her husband massaged her back through each contraction.

Soon she found her voice and began to moan and rock. She asked for an epidural, and we told her how close she was to meeting her new daughter. She pushed while lying on her side. She pushed her daughter out, and a look of utter joy and total triumph lit up her face. “We did it!!”, she said “I did it!!” she repeated several times. She did not need sutures this time.

She was ecstatic.

I’d held her through both of her births. I felt her joy as deeply as if it were my own.

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