When my older sister asked my sisters and me to be present at her birth, I was ecstatic and honored. My other two sisters are natural doulas - meaning they naturally possess the ability to mother, encourage and comfort. When the time came we showed up for our sister’s labor like fireman showing up for a fire, prepped and full of adrenaline. The only difference was that instead of extinguishing her wild fire, we were there to fuel it. Labor is like a wildfire in a sense. It’s a completely natural occurrence that really has no rhyme or reason. It surrenders to the conditions and while most view it as dangerous, painful and destructive, wildfires, just like birth, are the beginning of a new cycle for the forest, a baby, a mom and her family. They are absolutely necessary for the health and well being of our planet.
My sister’s water broke at 3 am and when we arrived at 9 am, Mom, Dad and Baby were working with the contractions. My sister was breathing and swaying while Dad cracked some jokes and used his limitless charm to keep the mood light and positive. My youngest sister pulled the shades and went to work making sure the environment was free of distraction and calm. Like I said – a natural doula!
We spent hours together, applying pressure to her lower back, making sure she was hydrated, praising her and ultimately, just loving her for who she was.
As transition neared, contractions got tougher and moms sometimes begin to wonder how much more pain they can handle. It’s a hard time for every one. You have to keep your head, remain positive and keep on encouraging. Watching my big sister navigate through transition was difficult and I found myself fighting back tears. I felt helpless. At that moment, I had a greater understanding for what the mother's partner goes through during labor. What could I do to help this person that I love so deeply? It became very clear to me that I had to let go. I had to let go of my desire to help. I had to let her do it, on her own and in her own time. Being close and being there was good enough. Just loving her in her rawest form was the only help I had to offer. Her nakedness, primitive moans and crying was all exquisitely beautiful in those moments.
Berlin was born at 6:14 that evening in the comfort of her own home. Mom was tired. Dad was overjoyed. And my sisters and I were forever changed.
You are warriors Jordan and Ryan and I am a better doula, sister, mother and person because of your courage, strength and love.