Till the Wheels Come Off

Ravenna West, Part Two
September 4, 2012, 11:46 pm
Filed under: 2309, Family, Love

Thanks for reading yesterday, everyone. As promised, Part Two:


Once we officially became clients of Carmon, within the next few days we borrowed and set up an inflatable birthing pool in our bedroom (which Rocco thought was the finest idea anyone had dreamed up since the rocket launch at his third birthday party), we began stockpiling Carmon’s list of homebirth supplies (on that very, very small chance that both car and uterus would stay parked at home) and proceeded to feel an unmerited calm between the two of us given our change of plan that felt as orchestrated as it was unprecedented.

And so, a few days later on a late Monday night, I called Carmon (who had already spent almost two days at another home birth) after Kate’s contractions had kicked into high-gear. Not wanting to be the hair-trigger parents—“Now? Now! I think it’s now. Wait, no… now!”—I told her that I’d keep her posted with Kate’s progress, but that she probably didn’t need to come yet. At this point, it was just Kate and I in our bedroom with candlelight, a good playlist and a not-empty-for-long bassinet by our bedside. Kate would enjoy 3-4 minutes of nonchalant conversation and trivial requests (“I wonder what Roc’s doing right now. Did you put the towels in the dryer?”) after which she’d hold my hands and breathe through contractions that tested her pain tolerance and developed within her an Einsteinian sense of the immense space contained within a single minute.

Fairly soon, her mom arrived to compensate for my utter lack of massage technique. Next, I was calling Carmon around 11:45p to artfully say, “The water! It broke!”, and Carmon was immediately en route, undoubtedly wondering why I was anything but urgent with my initial phone call.

When our hero midwife arrived shortly thereafter, she was hefting a sherpa’s load of gear into the house in a single trip. After checking on Kate and listening to the baby’s heartbeat, she began quietly but deftly arranging supplies and equipment in case things progressed faster than expected; which seemed to be a safe bet given the day’s events.

For the next hour or so, in between the heavy breathing of contractions Kate made jokes about my fear of seeming too demanding or urgent which could have very easily resulted in a doctorless delivery. Once supplies were arranged and the contractions began increasing in intensity, Carmon checked to see how things were progressing in order to know if it was time to head to the hospital. (If you’ve made a tiny human yourself, you’re likely quietly muttering, “Of course it was! Are you guys nuts?!” And you would be so very spot on. On both counts.) Carmon’s relieving—but quite unexpected—verdict to Kate was, “Your work is done, my dear. I’m sorry, but we’re not going to make it to the hospital. This baby is coming right here, right now.”

As Kate lowered herself into the water of the pool, Carmon suggested that I get into position to “catch” my daughter. And at 1:23a, that’s exactly what I did. Almost instantly, I laid Ravenna on Kate’s chest and watched in awe (and only a little bit of terror) as the little cord that had fed and nourished my daughter since conception (or thereabouts, my biology’s a bit hazy) pulsed its last, went still and was then clipped and presented to me to sever.

Recalling the evening, Kate and I both realized that, unlike Rocco’s delivery, neither of us shed a tear when Ravenna first opened her eyes or her mouth. There was only irrepressible joy when we saw her (and I believe I saw more than a little of Rosie’s “Yes we can!” fist-pump when I looked at Kate’s face).

We had been told for months and months about Kate’s slim chances of even delivering this baby naturally. Especially since Ravenna’s growth-rate appeared to be in a high percentile. Besides, homebirths were risky and issue-prone, right? Nursing would also likely be difficult. And yet, there I stood, watching my exhausted but healthy wife hold our very healthy daughter (ten pounds!) to her chest to nurse by candlelight in our own bedroom. At that moment, I was more than proud of my girls’ accomplishments. I experienced a kind of awe at what God, our Creator, allows and empowers us to accomplish. More than mere spectators at the miracles of creation, we are invited to participate in the labor as well as all of the pride and hopeful expectation that accompany creating some new thing, some new child. Someone in our image. Someone who will become like us. Like her brother. Someone who we will have the chance to fashion and teach and shape and love and love and love and finally share with the world, saying, “Here she is, Ravenna West. The very best we could do.”



Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up the trilogy. See you then!


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Good job you guys! So rewarding. My Gina was born at home.

Comment by Jeanette Puccio

T,K,R and R: We are privileged to witness God’s creativity in your lives. Much love to you all.

Comment by jayhallstrom

Oh, I love, love, love, love this! What a beautiful story written so creatively! Thank you so much for including us in this precious and cherished time!

Comment by shirney1

Thank you for sharing your story – I so loved reading it. It made me feel like I was there experiencing it, by the way it was written. Congratulations to you all! Way to go Kate!

Comment by Rona Allen

Kate you are brave! And so beautiful! Great collarbones. 🙂

Comment by Rose

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