9/11 Remembrance ~~ Patrice Bobier, with Laurie Zoyiopoulos

I attended the Midwives Alliance conference at the World Trade Center in 1992 – a memorable experience in so many ways.  The Vista / Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, site of the conference, actually sat between the Twin Towers.  Merilynne Rush and I represented MMA, and roomed with Helen Jolly.  I had not been in NYC since 1969 as a 17 year old on the streets of Greenwich Village, so really enjoyed returning as an adult, with so many midwife friends.  We went to Windows on the World, the bar and restaurant at the top of the North Tower, at least 3 times during that trip. It was quite pricey, but the views were astounding.

On 9/11/2001, I was in the middle of a prenatal when my daughter called and told me to turn on the TV.  How horrifying!  My client and her 3 young home-born children came to the living room to watch, too.  Laurie called my house, also, that morning. She talked to my client while I walked out into the woods to find my husband and tell him.  Our son was in Metro Airport in Detroit scheduled to fly to San Francisco that day.  It took hours to hear from him that he was OK, and days later he finally rented a car to drive back to CA.

Laurie and I had a bunch of babies due:  12 for the 2 practices, including 4 that we planned to attend together, and, as always, we were prepared to provide back-up to each other for any of them.  We were on edge for the labor calls, on edge about the safety of our families and friends, our country and the world. It was an unsettled week.

From Laurie:  I took a lot of calls on 9/11 and 9/12 – just clients seeming to need to check in and talk.  One was K. A., I remember it well.  Talked to her on the phone, on my front porch.  She had Israel Jordon – 9# 13ozs – on 9/28.  I think she felt like labor was near and she was so worried about things.

I felt like our clients were holding their babies in until they felt safe enough to let labors begin.  Laurie and I ended up having 8 births the following Thursday – Sunday, September 13th – 16th, and 10 total for the 10 days following 9/11.

9/13 – in Chase, a 3rd baby and 2nd home birth, Allison, 7# 7oz.  Laurie had to leave this birth for me to finish up while she went to the next birth.

9/13 – Scottville, Judson, 10# 7oz.  On Laurie’s way home from this birth she got called to another!

9/14 – In McBain,  Joshua, 8# 4oz. The client waited on the sofa until Laurie arrived and had her baby about 30 minutes later.  That made 3 births in 12 hours that Laurie attended.

9/15 – White Cloud, Adonijah, 8# 6oz.  A third baby and home birth to a second-generation home birthing family for Laurie and me.

9/15 – Fremont, Delores 6# 6oz.  An 8th baby slipped right out with ease.

9/16 – Big Rapids, Jessica Lynn 11# 4oz, a lovely VBAC, 6th baby, with the 5th one a cesarean for breech.  We were both at this birth, too.

9/16 – Newaygo, Emily 8# 11oz.  I left this birth about an hour after the baby was born, leaving others to finish tending to this mom, as another woman was in labor.

9/16 – Newaygo, just a few miles away, Joseph Allen 8# 2oz, born quickly after I arrived.  This mother was friends with the other and had not realized her baby was so close to being born, as she wanted to wait for her friend and neighbor to give birth first.

9/19 – Holton, Jason 8# 3 oz, a VBAC after 3 previous cesareans! Laurie and I both attended this birth.

9/21 – Mt. Pleasant, Jacob 8# 12 ozs – a cord prolapse/shook to the core kind of birth for Laurie!!  Both Mama and Baby were fine after the much-needed cesarean.

One thing we love about practicing in a group, with a larger team able to do back-up, is our clients are covered for births.  If we have births doubling up, or one of us is sick or has an immediate family concern, there’s another qualified midwife to step in and help.  Clients are not left without skilled providers.  They get the support they need.  We owe thanks also to the assistants and students who work with us, too, for helping us provide this service.

When you take the time to nurture relationships with other midwives, it also means that if and when the time comes, you get the support you need  from each other at stressful times like that month of September, 2001.