Author Archive for Davian den Otter

12
Feb
10

There was no baby and then there was a baby

From Feb 11

I can barely feel my hands. Today I helped birth a baby girl. I feel a very deep vibration.

 The image of 5 women holding one as she was going through the process of bringing a life into the world is one that is going to stay with me forever.

The following is an excerpt of an email I wrote to my mom…I hope she doesn’t mind but its probably the most real reaction I am going to get down…

I helped birth a baby today. It made me want to talk to you. and when I say I helped birth a baby I mean I saw everything and was holding her leg when the baby came out. It was the most intense thing ever. I cried.

It was so weird – there was no baby and then there she was all slimy and gross and crying and being manhandled and held upside down by her feet. The mom who was 17 years old and named Myriam was 8 centimeters when we arrived at the birthing center (um, I thought we were just going to be getting a tour) and she was in labour and we helped. Sarah who is on the trip with us is an actual doula and there was a lady getting a c-section so she went in to help in that room and we (me heather and amanda) worked with our mom. We held her hands and helped her walk around outside, tried to get her to stretch and squat, drink water. She was scared. Sarah had a wicked bag full of tricks…lotion and oils and stuff that really seemed to help but when it was time, well, right before the time time, she was on the floor and I had her head in my lap and my hands under her shoulders and there were 2 more women on either side of her and we were all basically holding her. She didn’t know us and we didn’t know her but I felt so connected to everyone…and everything. It wasn’t pretty or easy but then there was a baby…I feel like my soul is vibrating a little.

When we left mama was doing okay – she asked for a coke 🙂

The whole thing made me think of you and I hope that you felt supported and safe when you were going through and that someone was holding your hand. And that someone gave you a coke afterwards.

So, I can’t seem to stop crying. The reality of giving birth in Africa has many shocking things but I am going to leave this one here…

peace and love (esp. to all moms everywhere)




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