First birth at Transitions Women’s Wellness Center

 I was privileged to assist Jen Cameron, CNM, at this birth!

As the meaning of the word “Midwife” implies, being “with woman” is the basis for the relationship established when one seeks midwifery care. As a Certified Nurse Midwife, each and every woman I care for and each and every birth I have the privilege of attending, all of the relationships I build are dear to me. I am also human, so some hold an extra special place in my heart. Recently a new spot in my heart was filled!

On Thursday morning December 7th at 6:41 am, I had the honor of welcoming a beautiful and healthy baby boy. Humbly and accompanied by a room full of amazing women, I became part of Manistee’s history in the making. I witnessed the arrival of the very first baby born at Transitions Women’s Wellness Center. The very first baby born in Manistee… NOT in a hospital and NOT in a home, but in a free standing birthing center.

It was Glory’s first baby. I knew she would do very well with her labor and birth just as she had done throughout her entire pregnancy. (She carries an inner peace that spreads throughout the room.) Glory called me at 8:00 am on Wednesday, her due date, to tell me she was having contractions. She was coping well at home and had the support of her mom and sisters. I started getting text updates about once an hour from her sister Bethany starting around 10:00 am. It wasn’t until about 8:20pm that they all decided it was time to come to the birth center. She looked great (still had that glow of peace about her) and had made wonderful progress when she arrived. She did still have a bit of labor ahead and was in and out of the birthing tub, sitting on the labor ball, resting as she was able and snacking and sipping on water as she desired. The room was dim and quiet. She was surrounded by love, support and encouraging words. She was calm, focused and strong…. So strong. I monitored her well being, her coping and for signs of advanced progress. I checked on the precious life still inside her rounded little belly. Both were tolerating everything beautifully!

As the night turned into morning and everyone was tiring, Glory’s labor actually slowed a bit, just enough for her (and the rest of the team) to get a little rest. She woke refreshed and soon after was ready to push! Back into the birthing tub and in less than an hour, this strong mama had her alert, pink, healthy baby boy in her arms! Henry was born in the water and immediately into his mama’s waiting arms. The room remained dim and quiet with the exception of a few soft, sweet, welcoming whispers from mama to baby, some lusty cries from Henry and joyful sobs of the new mama and the support team! (This Midwife included!)

THIS is the moment I live for…. That moment when a new life enters the world… that moment when time stands still and nothing else matters… that moment when mama and baby make eye contact for the first time, when they feel the warmth of each other’s skin for the first time, when their voices are no longer muffled by fluid and flesh. THIS is what I hold sacred. THIS is when I am reminded of how amazing women are and what true, unconditional love looks like. THIS is the reason I became a Midwife. THIS is the reason my husband and I decided to open Transitions. THIS is not just the start of a new life for the baby, THIS is when women turn into mothers, when they learn what they can do and how strong and fearless they can be, when something in them changes into a stronger, empowered, more confident and loving being.

Glory is not just any mama and Henry is not just any baby… we have a connection that started about 15 months ago. Yup, 15 months. Before Henry was even a thought, I became connected to his family. 15 months ago is when I met and started providing care for Henry’s aunt Bethany. About 6 months ago, I welcomed Henry’s cousin Cedar into the world. Cedar would be the very last baby I welcomed while practicing in the hospital. Fitting then, that Henry is the very first baby I welcomed out of the hospital!

As I mentioned, some mamas and babies hold extra special places in my heart, I never know who or why… they just affect me. They make my soul happy, they make my heart swell. Bethany and Glory, Cedar and Henry…. They have a warmth about them. They make my soul happy and my heart swell!

Glory and Henry are settling in at home, getting to know each other and falling more deeply in love than anyone ever thought possible. And here I sit at Transitions, watching the snow fall and reflecting. I have often wondered if I will ever stop feeling pure wonder and joy when I get to welcome a new little person into the world. Will my eyes always fill with tears when I watch older siblings meet their newest family members? Will I always sob when I see dads or grandparents look into the eyes of those sweet little faces? Will I continue to “ugly cry” when new mamas look up at me and thank me for everything? (I always feel like I should be thanking them!) Will I always be completely amazed by the strength, perseverance and determination I witness as a woman struggles through what is likely the most difficult yet rewarding work she’s ever done? I sure hope I never stop feeling all those things! I am truly honored and humbled to be present at such times, during such magnificent events. I do not take any of this for granted and I do realize just how fortunate I am to have a mind, body and soul that allow me to be a Midwife. I carry little bits of strength from each and every woman I have had the opportunity to care for and I am so very thankful!

Here’s Jen doing the newborn exam!

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