I was standing in line at Costco yesterday with my almost 4 year old, Max. This woman approached me, overflowing with nervous energy. She looked at Max, looked at my 19 week pregnant belly and said, “You look like you might know something about birth?” I laughed and said yes, I know a thing or two, and mentioned that I’m also a doula and childbirth educator. She screamed, “I knew I needed to talk to you! My daughter is in labor RIGHT NOW in New York!” My heart swelled for this soon to be grandma. She was coming out of her skin not being near her daughter and knowing her own baby was in the middle of her ordeal. The questions that came forth at this point have left me chuckling to myself a day later.
“Okay, so the baby was breech. The doctor turned the baby! Can you believe it? I didn’t even know they could do that! Okay so the baby turned and then her water broke!”
“Yes! So the baby should be here now, right?”
“When did this all happen? You said she was in labor right now, right?”
“An hour ago! Her water broke an hour ago at 1:00 and it’s 2:00 now, so the baby should be here by now, right? I need to book a flight! When should I book my flight???”
I had the hardest time keeping my big grin from turning into a little laugh.
“Well here’s the thing about birth…we just don’t know how long it will take. Babies can take hours or days to be born. Every birth is different, every baby is different…we just don’t know.”
She looked at me as her face went white and said, “No. That won’t work. I need you to tell me a time.”
“A time? You mean guess when the baby will be born? That really would be all it is, a guess…there’s just no way to predict.”
“But I need to book a flight! Do you think I should call her?”
“Call your daughter in labor? I really think she is probably needing to focus and most likely not taking calls at the moment. I know it’s so hard to be so far away and not be able to be with your daughter.”
“Yes!! Okay, you’re right…that’s crazy, I can’t call her when she’s in labor. I’ll call her husband!”
“You know…her husband is probably busy supporting her right now. I’m sure they’ll let you know when the baby is born. I think the best way you can support them right now is to keep them in your thoughts, send lots of love and good intentions for her birth, and as hard as it is, wait for them to contact you.”
“You’re right. You’re so right. Well, I knew I had to talk to you, and you just saved a woman in labor from being harassed by her crazy mother. Thanks!!!”
And off she went.
What a beautiful and hilarious chance encounter. Love that I’m giving off the birthy vibes these days and that she approached me. I can’t stop thinking about that mama in labor and wondering how her birth is going/has gone and if her mom was able to keep from blowing up her phone.
Here’s to protecting the sacred birth space near and far!!!
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