LRRH had her baby this weekend.  At 6:00 PM on Sunday, she welcomed her son, who has yet to be named, into the world.  He came complete with 10 fingers and 10 toes, a headful of jet black, curly hair, and chubby little cheeks.  It was absolutely amazing.

Words fail to express all that I saw and felt during her birth, but this will have to suffice.  If I don't get it out, I may very well explode.  If I could take out a billboard for the entire world to see, I would.  I want the entire world to see what an amazing woman my best friend truly is.  She is astounding.  I love her and her son more than words can ever say. 

Birth is my business.  I see women give birth, on average, twice a month.  I am there from the time things get serious, until the babe is safely in mom's arms and mom and dad are ready to have some quiet time with thier new baby.  I get to be a part of the day families expand and welcome a new member.  I get to witness dads tear up when they meet their first child. I get to see mothers' hearts expand to new dimensions, even as they wonder how they will love another child as much, and watch their eyes light up and brim over with tears at that first little squawk.  It never fails to take my breath away.  It never fails to amaze me.

Her birth was different.  It was different because I already loved her.  I already loved her little boy.  It was different because there is typically a learning curve concerning what works and what doesn't, figuring out how the mother communicates her needs and how best to communicate in reponse, working with the partner at their comfort level, and so on.  I already knew how she worked, and how to work with her.  I already knew I wanted to protect her and nurture her as she welcomed her baby into the world.

Her birth was different because, where I am always pulling for my client, I can seperate myself from them emotionally and remain objective.  While I care about their birth, there is a degree of professional seperation that keeps me from displaying emotion – in other words, it keeps me from getting the client and her support team even more agitated by my reaction.  I couldn't do that with her.  When she cried, it took every ounce of my strength not to cry with her.  When unforeseen circumstances arose, it took every ounce of my strength not to fall apart and cry with and for her. 

I am always amazed by the strength of women and their supporters.  Regardless of birth path or plan, every mother I have ever worked with had strengths that made her unique.  I have never regretted attending a birth, nor left a birth feeling as though my time was wasted.  I have learned or been reminded of something at every birth I have attended.  In all sincerity, I never cease to be amazed and educated.

My best friend is amazing.  Not only did she stand up for the things she wanted in a facility that does not often see, let alone know how to support, unmedicated child birth, but she inspired the nurses to learn more about the options she was seeking.  She surrendered to her primal self and allowed her wonderfully efficient body to work as it was designed to do.  She tuned in to her self and tuned out every thing that wasn't actively helping her progrss.  When her hips said "MAKE ROOM!" she squatted, she rocked, she swayed.  When her body said, "rest…" she became still and lightly dozed between contractions.  Often the greatest challenge is surrender and she did that was such grace… 

My best friend is absolutely, without a doubt, amazing.  While I remember every birth I have seen thus far, hers will stand out in my mind, not only because of our previously existing relationship, but because of her incredible strength, willingness to advocate for what she wanted and felt was right, and her endless determination.  I will always remember the day my best friend fought to have her son enter the world with as much peace and love as she could give him.  I love that woman.  I love that baby.  I am humbled and reminded how truly amazing and miraculous my job is; I am reminded that I am blessed beyond belief to be a small part of so many great things.  Thank you, LRRH.  Congratulations, mama!!!