Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dancing Mommies

"Just because I'm hurting, doesn't mean I'm hurt." ~ Coldplay

These words resonated so loudly to me just recently. I was labor - sitting with a patient who was having her first baby after many years. Her husband had brought music to distract her and during her labor she danced to many different songs..dancing her baby down into her pelvis. In the midst of a contraction, this song began to play. I watched in awe as my patient started dancing to the beat with her contraction and the words seemed so appropriate. I mean, that is what labor is, pain without harm, pain without hurt or suffering. She was beautiful to watch and such an inspiration. Labor-sitting is a privilege of my job that I try to do as often as I can. I am a strong believer in being present for a woman during labor. By doing so, the woman is made to feel safe thus allowing her body to do the work of birthing. Since I am unable to be in the patient room all the time, I strongly encourage my patients to hire a doula. The hospital I deliver at has amazing labor nurses, but with the title RN comes many responsibilities often pulling her away from the bedside. Having a doula allows my patient and her partner to have someone with them constantly that they have come to know and trust. When I know my patient has a doula, my mind is at ease during those moments that I am in the clinic or with another patient.

Recently, I had a couple that was going through an especially long labor process. Their doula was tireless and kept their spirits high. I would watch as doula and partner would move together, seemingly effortless to work with the mother through each contraction. At times, I sometimes feel like an observer and a little unsure of my place but always grateful for the constant support. As I was sitting quietly watching the team at work, my patient reached for me and inviting me into her circle of trust. Without speaking she wrapped her arms around my shoulders, put her cheek against mine and we swayed with the contraction. I could feel her abdomen tightening against mine and for a moment I was taken back to my own births and though I could not take her pain, I shared that contraction with her. Our breathing was the same, our movements in sync, sisters in labor.

I think when I retire I will become a doula in hopes for more dancing..