Archive for July 29th, 2014

Birthings and Such

29 Jul

Not me. I am not birthing. Wishing I was, but not. However, I will take this moment to tell about some awesome experiences this last year that I got to be a part of:

  1. Birth of Kajove Jerome Toulassi
  2. Birth of Everett Alan Lee


People ask me about natural birthing a lot, and I like talking about it because I feel like the things I have learned are very empowering to women when they face the daunting task of birth, however they choose to birth. Knowledge is power, and the last thing you want in the emotional and physical challenge of bringing a child into the world is to feel like a victim. So, I recommend books and classes and share stories, but what I really would like is to be able to say is that I’m teaching this class and you can come, or I can be there to support you if that’s what you’re interested in.

Thus, I would love to be a doula, and I have researched it a few times. Right now it’s not really feasible for me with 27 piano students and almost 4 kids, but hopefully someday! If anyone reading this is doing it, and has suggestions about certification and how it all works, I would love to hear about it.

Anyway, on to the stories. My good friend Kossiwa went into labor, and I was her ride to the hospital. Since she does not speak English very well and we have practiced communicating quite a bit, I wanted to stick around to make sure everything was taken care of for her. Well, it turns out that hospitals do have some great translation services available by phone, and I was very happy for her when they found a woman that spoke Ewe to help her through all of the questions from the nurse about her history and previous children. However, I was very surprised when they got to the part about an epidural, and she said that she had had a lot of pain from the epidural with her last baby and did not want it at all. From our conversations, it had been, “Heidi, no medicine? Woo! Kossiwa, yes medicine.” Something started nagging at me, and I felt like I needed to help her through this somehow if I could.

Later on in the day when I came back to check on her and give her husband a ride to a brief appointment, I could see that she was struggling to handle the contractions. She was also coming off medication that she said she didn’t know what it was for. I decided I should stay for a bit to help with communication and found myself jumping in to teach Ablam some counter-pressure and Kossiwa how to breath out with the contractions. We were making good progress, and Ablam asked me if I could stay to help. Luckily, Cristian was a great sport about letting me, and keeping the kids for several hours. It was an intense afternoon! The nurse Kami was wonderful and tried so hard to listen to what Kossiwa needed and how she was doing (because at that point there was no way she could stay on the phone with a translator), and Kossiwa was being so strong. We got through the toughest parts of labor, and you could tell she was changing to pushing contractions, but she was at a 9 1/2. Then the doctor called. It was about 4:30pm, and he asked to speak to me. I was confused, but got on the phone only to hear that he thought, “It may be time to discuss an abdominal delivery and I want you to explain that to them.” I was dumbfounded. My next thought was: “You’ve got the wrong chic on the phone for that discussion” but I said, “Ok, I can try to tell them that.” Ablam, was confused. Kossiwa was on the brink of pushing; the nurse and I looked at each other, and she said, “I think I can move that little bit of cervix and she can have this baby.” And that’s exactly what happened! Kajove was born about 20 minutes later, and he was beautiful. Kossiwa was so relieved, and Ablam was so ecstatic. The nurses did a great job of handling everything, the doctor showed up about 15 minutes later and kind of stuttered over a “well, you never know…”, and I got to hold the new baby.

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Ablam thanked me about a million times for being there, and he still does every time I see him. I feel like I was allowed to share a very special moment and that maybe I helped out in making it better just by supporting Ablam’s efforts to help Kossiwa and by being the second yes to the nurse that wanted to save her from an unnecessary c-section. The entire experience was incredible, and it left me humble and exuberant at the same time.

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Here’s my buddy Kajove at about two weeks old when Cristian went to meet him for the first time.

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And here he is this summer: all grown up!

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The second birth that I got to be a part of was my sister Charlyn’s birth of her second baby, Everett. Now that I’m in birthing mode, I’d love to continue, but just in case I go into labor tonight, I think I better get some sleep. At least I have something to write about tomorrow!