Sister Birth :: Support + Story
Grand Rapids, MI doula and birth photographer

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a walk with a sister :: bailey

During our first official prenatal appointment, I got to act like a one-on-one childbirth educator, walking through the nitty gritty process of labor and birth, including labor stages, emotional signposts, fetal descent, cervical effacement and dilation, partner support and all the rest. It was so fun to put on that education hat for a few minutes, and also to see how these two were preparing their home for their son's arrival. Seeing that M on his nursery shelf was the first clue I had to his NAME.

Our second prenatal visit happened at the BEACH because YES. Why the heck not, right? This time we walked and talked about feelings and hopes, dreams and expectations. All the non-practical stuff, the stuff of spirit and mind and emotions that are equally vital for birth preparation. We also worked on making a printable, graphic-based birth plan for her hospital care providers that would make communication easier when we were there.

Then it was the day. The day that labor began. Early labor seemed to masquerade as active labor at first, so we had a hospital check-in one night that didn't result with admission. However, we were back by morning. Bailey labored for a while before calling me back over, and upon arrival I could immediately see that it was now for real. George's attention to her was devoted and tender, and I got to be the fetcher of things, the speaker of confident encouragement, the one who would lock eyes and declare her capabilities, and the administrator of essential oils and water. Transition hit hard and knocked Bailey a bit off her feet (as it does!), and at that point she made a decision for an epidural. That moment can clearly be seen in the photo by her change of expression from pain to relief! It wasn't long after that that their sweet Miller was born. He was whisked off to be looked over briefly, but then he spent a good long time on his mama's chest. He was SO beautiful. Knowing that THIS MOMENT of becoming a mother has been a lifelong dream for Bailey was so meaningful. Eventually, I took off with the placenta to drop it off at their home where another friend would be retrieving it for encapsulation. 

I adore postpartum visits because I get to see the babies again, and I get to hear a mama process her birth experience and her incredible love for her child. Being present to assist with tiny newborn care concerns and postpartum recover is also fun. And I always try to bring some sort of treat or flowers. Bailey and George were settling in so nicely at this visit nearly 3 weeks after Miller's birth, and had been amply supported by family visiting from out of town. I love this little one's hair!

What a joy to walk with you three through these last many months. I'm so glad we found one another, and so happy that Miller found his way into your family.