At long last, I am so happy to be able to share this birth film tonight. This was my longest birth to date (I was there for nearly 36 hours) but also one of my favorites.
This amazing mama waited long and worked hard for her baby. After many days of prodromal labor, a little Cervidil from her amazing midwife (Story Jones of Fairfax Home Birth) got things kickstarted into high gear on Easter, 2 weeks and 2 days after her due date. I stopped by “for an hour to take some early labor photos” around 1 pm and never left – when I arrived, contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting about 60-90 seconds, taking a lot of work. After how long this mama had been waiting for her baby, I was thrilled and thought something along the lines of “it won’t be long now.”
How wrong I was. Labor would go, go, go – hard and intense, and then slow up for awhile, and then go,go,go again. This pattern continued all day, all night, and into Monday.
The grace of this amazing woman! Kumiko never complained, she never uttered the words “I can’t do it anymore”, she never asked why this baby was taking so long to come. She just worked through each contraction and then “blew it away” as her midwife suggested.
Through it all, Kumiko was surrounded by her tribe – three of her closest friends from college days, taking turns rubbing her back, breathing through contractions with her, making smoothie runs, and holding her up when her own strength was giving out. Her mom and her husband’s mom were there supporting her as well, and her husband Ed was the picture of steadfastness. Everyone was believing in her, supporting her, and helping her have this baby.
Finally, the decision was made to transfer to the hospital for some rest and some pitocin. After a blissful several-hours-long nap, Kumiko woke up ready to push. With her midwives – hospital midwife Traci Marin, her midwifery student Melissa, homebirth midwife Story, and her assistant Brittani – by her side, she pushed baby Sana into the world.
Sometimes the longest fought battles are the most rewarding. The joy and the celebration when Sana entered the room were tangible and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Despite the many hours, despite things not going as planned, this was an amazing and beautiful birth to witness and to capture. I was reminded – again – of how strong a laboring mother is. She is exactly as strong as she has to be. She doesn’t go through the fire. She IS the fire.
Sana : a birth story film from Heidi Daniels on Vimeo. Music licensed through Music Bed.