I was concerned that she'd think I was crazy... "Let's meet at the hospital, on the hill across from the emergency entrance. Bring a picnic and a blanket." It just seemed the right thing to do on this beautiful day in August. How else could I create a sense of safety, close to the hospital, yet far away? High up on the hill, with lovely green grass all around, trees to lean on, a hill to climb, a place to labour without being watched.
I arrived, and there they were, looking just like a couple on the hill having their lunch. Cheese, crackers, fruit, sparkling juice - all spread out on a soft blanket. She had a lap to lean on.. She breathed through gentle waves every five minutes. She'd rest on her side for a while, then walk for a while. We'd talk about what to expect -how second babies take their time at first, then have a flying finish. We were in the perfect place, ready to dash inside whenever the waves became stronger.
It was a joy to be a witness to this labour on the hillside.
"Let's go in," she said after a few hours.
Upstairs, she found a sun-filled room, glass tiles, a shower, a birth ball, and arms to hold. She gave in to primal sounds...
"I don't think I can do this!!!" she cried out. "You are doing this!" I answered.
...and the baby came like a rocket after a whirlwind finish. She did it! This was the healing labour that I'd hoped to nurture.
An hour later, she sat up in bed with the take-out menus spread before her. "Which do you think? Steak? Baby-back ribs?"
This was good. Really, really good.