At 4:24am I was awoken by a text:
"Hi Melissa good morning :) I fell like very strong pain in my stomach, almost the same as period pain...should I be concerned?"
We chatted back and forth about how sometimes these feelings can last for days, on and off before labor begins, but that it was a good sign.
I rolled over and said to my husband, "Rosie's going to have a baby today" and I went back to sleep.
At 11:07am Rosie texted me again, "I think I'm in early labor. The pain is getting stronger." Rosie was having contractions every 10-15 minutes that she could walk and talk through. I suggested that she try to rest as much as she could now, in case she was in active labor over night.
At 1pm I checked in with Rosie. She said things were getting little more intense, but that she was able to lay down and relax in-between them. I told her to let me know when she needed me. I went and gathered all of my things for birth and put them in the car for when that call would come.
At 4pm she told me they had started coming 4 to 6 minutes apart and I told her I was going to head down to her. She agreed that now was time, as she was struggling to cope by herself.
I was 10 minutes from her home and she texted "I think my mucous plug came out." I later (after baby was born) realized that her water had broken at this time actually, when she described hearing a cracking noise and a splash when using the restroom.
When I arrived, Yudi answered the door, and was a little out of breath. I could tell his adrenaline was pumping as he led me up the stairs. Rosie was leaned over a bed having a contraction. I put my hands on her back and she said, "that's better!"
Rosie was in transition. She had all the physical signs and moans of someone who was well into the labor process. For the next 20 minutes or so, I helped her cope, until she became a bit more clear. I asked Yudi to call the midwives at their practice.
The midwife was hesitant to have them come in and wanted to speak to Rosie herself. Rosie tried, but was now contracting 2-3 minutes apart and was in the labor zone. I eventually spoke up, introduced myself and stated that I thought now was a good time to come in. The midwife replied, "well let's have you come in for a check then." They were going to be surprised upon our arrival.
I followed Yudi and Rosie in their car and Yudi called and kept me on speaker phone. They had never gone to the hospital before and wanted a guide for parking. I could hear Rosie moaning through the phone.
We arrived to the hospital at 6pm. The nurses and midwives watched Rosie labor. One of the nurses, Katherine, engaged Rosie and the first thing she said was, "I want the epidural!" Katherine suggested trying the nitrous first and I heard one of the midwives say, "She can have an epi." I turned to them and mouthed, "I think she's fully." The skepticism that came across her face in hindsight is hysterical.
The other midwife then asked, "This is her first baby, right?" Which seemed to affirm their thoughts that she was not that far along.
The midwife asked Rosie if she could check her cervix. I held Rosie's hand and the midwife said, "Oh! She is fully!". Yudi looked at me and said, "that's as far as she has to go right?" and I nodded. Rosie was in her labor zone and I leaned down and said, "You're 10cm dilated." She replied wide eyed, "You're kidding?!"
And then she smiled so big that the pride beamed out of her teeth. She looked up at Yudi and said, "thank you so much." He said, "You're amazing! You did this whole thing by yourself!" She replied, "with your help." My heart melted.
At 6:30pm Rosie began to push on her own. By 7pm she had asked for some help with coached pushing. We tried lots of positions and eventually on her knees hanging over the back of the bed, would result in the most progress. In just a few minutes we would start to see the forehead rock in and out of the pelvis.
Rosie was impressively strong and calm. She was smiling in between each push and asking us about her baby. She continued to thank everyone for helping her throughout the process. She looked like someone who had an epidural, but she had chosen to skip it, once finding out how far she had come already without it.
Yudi was welling up on and off and telling her how amazing she was. He was reassuring and loving the entire time. He was so proud of her, I could feel his admiration of her from across the room. Their love was palpable.
At 8:17pm their little boy took his very first breath. He was passed to Rosie where she cried out, "It's my baby! You're so cute!" Yudi and Rosie both began to cry.
In just 2 short hours at the hospital, Rosie had brought their first son earth side, with absolute ease. I was in awe of her and their entire beautiful family.
After everything calmed down, I watched Rosie and Yudi realize the time and become a little bit disappointed. For them, passover had began just a half hour earlier. This meant they were unable to use their phones, drive their car to retrieve the clothes they had left behind, and now they were stuck without passover approved food as well.
I offered to help them in anyway I could. I called Rosie's mothers neighbor and asked her to please tell them the story of their grandchild's birth. I drove to their home and packed clothes and gathered toiletries. I packed as much food as I could find from their cabinets and refrigerator. I then moved all of it back to their hospital room with a wheel chair as my assistant.
I spoke with staff and had to defend their rights to not use pens to sign "baby safety sheets" and had to make phone calls in order for them to stay 8 extra hours since they wouldn't be able to drive at the normal time of discharge. I had to explain repeatedly why an uber wasn't a possibility and that the insurance billing didn't matter. I had to find a nurse that I knew and explain that they may need her to make phone calls or send texts and that if there was an emergency and they needed me, that someone else would need to let me know.
I'm still baffled every day by the ignorance of those serving the birth community and their unwillingness to understand how to serve EVERYONE with compassion and empathy.
Rosie and Yudi, thank you so much for allowing me the honor of being with you through out this process. I know allowing a stranger into such an intimate setting isn't always an easy decision. This birth is one that I will cherish forever.
Congratulations on the beginnings of your beautiful family!