This evening I decided to call the attending and check if anything was happening. That instant, the midwife called to say a lady whom I’ve seen three times in clinic was in labor, 5cm dilated, and expected to deliver within an hour. It takes me 45 min. to get from home to the hospital, parked, and in scrubs. . . Fortunately the highways were pretty empty, this time on a Sunday.

This lady was the quietest I’ve ever seen. She was just breathing and moaning softly, lying on her side, but wanting to hold somebody’s hand tightly the whole time. After a trip to the bathroom, she had some difficulty getting back in bed, and I thought we might just have the baby on the floor. Betsy is great: helping the woman do what she wants, but at some points moving her beyond what she can think about right now. Betsy knew this lady was not interested in having the baby right on the hard floor, so she just about lifted her back into the bed, and helped her get on hands and knees, leaning on a birthing ball.

And that’s how the baby was born: after five minutes there, she said she wanted to push, and was begging Betsy and me to tell her how to do it. This being her fourth child, it took Betsy and me a minute to stop laughing, and repeat for her what she previously knew. With the third push, the baby crowned, and slid out slowly and smoothly – Betsy and I both had our hands on it, since I was again so astonished at the idea of the baby coming out in this position that I wasn’t sure how to hold it. Then we had some juggling, with the cord still attached, to get the baby to the mother’s front, and mother lying down on the bed. She immediately wanted her children and parents who were outside to come in, so we threw a blanket over her as she lay holding the baby, and the three little children were brought in by the father, who then cut the cord. Dad shooed the younger children out as she pushed the placenta out easily – one of the boys didn’t realize why he was being shooed, and left abruptly when he saw what we were producing, poor kid. The oldest boy was very interested, and came over with dad to examine the placenta. The mother had only a tiny laceration, not even worth sewing. Her mother came in, crying; she’d been too upset to come earlier. We left the whole family looking at the new baby as mom started nursing it

Beautiful. I’m happy now: one final natural birth. I’ll try not to mind if nothing happens this next week.

Also: I’m beginning to think I really have some sixth-sense connection to “my” patients, and it’s finally in tune enough to call at the right moment. I hope it works for surgery patients, so I can tell when I need to go double-check on them, not just for ladies in labor. (Although, being halfway through my large stack of books on Mormonism, I am very wary right now of claiming any non-obvious sources of intelligence.)

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