I was concerned that she'd think I was crazy... "Let's meet at the hospital, on the hill across from the emergency entrance. Bring a picnic and a blanket." It just seemed the right thing to do on this beautiful day in August. How else could I create a sense of safety, close to the hospital, yet far away? High up on the hill, with lovely green grass all around, trees to lean on, a hill to climb, a place to labour without being watched.
I arrived, and there they were, looking just like a couple on the hill having their lunch. Lovely cheese, crackers, fruit, sparkling juice... A soft blanket and a lap to lean on... Contractions every five minutes. She'd rest on her side for a while, then walk for a while... We'd talk about what to expect...how second babies take their time at first, then fly out. We were in the perfect place, ready to dash inside whenever the labour became stronger.
It was so joyful to be a witness to this labour on the hillside.
"Let's go in," she said after a few hours. I had timed it so that the "fancy room" would be available, after all the new babies had been discharged, and everyone had taken their lunch breaks. We were in luck...
Sun filled room, glass tiles, the shower, a birth ball, arms to hold, primal sounds...
...and the baby came like a rocket after a whirlwind of labour. She did it! This was the healing labour that I'd wished to nurture.
The last scene...she's sitting up in bed with the take-out menus spread before her. "Which do you think? Steak? Baby-back ribs?"
This was good. Really, really good.
Jacquie Munro, founder of the "Slow Birth" movement, is an experienced doula and childbirth educator and is well-known for her individualized, intuitive approach to supporting families in the childbearing year and beyond. Since 1987, she has provided support at over one thousand births, at home and in hospital, and taught thousands of expectant parents. At home, Jacquie lives only a bike ride away from four generations of her family. You can usually find her at the park or beach, playing beside her twin grandsons who call her "Deecy".