Friday, December 28, 2007

eight years old

Eight years ago this month I helped deliver a baby, the first birthing I'd ever been a part of. The mom was living where I was working with her two children and one on the way. She was an amazing woman, she'd left a very difficult situation and was navigating life on her own with her kids, in poverty and alone and yet with extraordinary grace. She'd asked me to be present at the birth because there was no one else and I said yes because she asked and because there was no one else.

We never spent any time preparing for the birth, and in my ignorance I hadn't thought to ask what sort of help she wanted because to be honest she'd asked for nothing other than my presence. Now that I know what I know I'd have handled it differently but that was then and this is now and if I could go back in time I certainly would. She went into labor in the middle of the night and I went to be with her and 10 or so hours later she gave birth and I was there for all of it and I swore off ever having a baby and was completely humbled all at the same time. I remember going home from the hospital and sobbing for hours, great buckets of tears from exhaustion and marvel and admiration and fear. She soon moved out with her beautiful children into her own home and a new life. She stayed in touch for awhile, a bond had formed between us during the birth, something sacred and quiet that we never much discussed.

She called me on Xmas Eve, a few years have passed since we'd spoke and no news is good news, being forgotten is a good thing in the work I'm in. But she was in trouble for the first time in a long time, her housing had fallen apart and she was in a bad spot, she and her kids were in a motel. Time was of the essence because nothing sucks up your money faster than a nightly motel and I could hear it in her voice I know it's been awhile but I hope you remember me, you helped deliver my baby eight years ago and I need your help one more time. On Xmas I connected her with a colleague who I knew could help and that good soul came through yesterday and my old friend can move her children into her new home today. So I sat up late last night remembering for the first time in a long time the gift she gave me way back when as she showed me a new kind of courage, bravely birthing her child with love and with grace, alone with no visitors or flowers in a cold hospital room and not much more than a stranger beside her holding her hand as she pushed.

36 comments:

slouching mom said...

aww, jen.

you've seen it come full circle. that must be immensely gratifying.

i know that she exhibited courage and grace on that night eight years ago -- but so did you.

Candy said...

I continue to be amazed that you call someone who knows someone who knows someone and voila! this family has a home. Why can't it always be that way? I know it's probably a lot more complicated than you're making it sound in your posts, but it just seems that a little (or a lot!) effort goes a long way here. It's a good thing.

Arwen said...

That just made me cry. It is amazing how I take for granted my support network and then I think about a story like this and I realize how incredibly blessed I am.

jen said...

Candy, it is more complicated but thats the long and the short of it...all the matters in the end is the housing!

flutter said...

Oh, jen.

Redneck Mommy said...

I wish her well.

And the best to you too, my friend.

Amy Y said...

I've been lucky enough to witness a couple births besides my own and they are experiences I will never never forget...
I'm glad you were there for that mama and I'm sure you had an effect on her and her life that you will never begin to comprehend.

Karen said...

you know, you did all she needed - even evidence shows that the simple presence of another woman the birthing woman something - they studies just aren't sure what that something is, I think it is incredible strength and peace.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I don't have to tell you how lucky you are to have been able to help her and more than once! But helping her with her baby's birth must have been incredible.

Sober Briquette said...

another amazing story, jen. You're incredible and an inspiration.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

What a total full circle moment. This one made my eyes well up--beautiful yet again Jen.

Kyla said...

You sweet thing, you. I'm so thankful that these people have you in their lives.

hypoglycemiagirl said...

Touching story, hope she'll be fine

KC said...

This is just beautiful.

meno said...

And yet you had a baby anyway.

Brave girl.

deb said...

I think you have one of the best jobs ever. You make a difference in people's lives. Everyday. That's such a wonderful gift.

liv said...

you gave her the greatest gift: to not be alone in a time of great stress and pressure. you are without a doubt, most significant in her life.

Mad Hatter said...

I sometimes cannot fathom the life you have lived; the life you do live.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

hugs to you and for your heart.

painted maypole said...

oh Jen. I imagine you handled it all beautifully, and you gave that woman and child oh so much more than a home. Your presence is so lovely.

hele said...

What I would really like to do right now is give you a really big, bone crunching hug.

QT said...

Just catching up from the past week - this is a great story. It is wonderful that you could help this woman out again, I can imagine her relief at finding you just one more time.

Joker The Lurcher said...

you sum up just what it is all about, jen. nothing else really matters.

Julie Pippert said...

What an experience...what an amazing story...and what an incredible happy turn.

Julie
Using My Words

Family Adventure said...

How wonderful that the two of you are now connected through life for life. I hope her new home works out well.

Hugs and Happy New Year to you and yours.

Heidi

Jodi said...

what a beautiful heart you have

Aliki2006 said...

I wish her well, too--and hugs to you for sharing this.

Janet said...

Your commitment to what you do is awe inspiring. You never stop trying to help, never take a night off. Not even Christmas Eve.

You have a big, huge heart, my friend.

luckyzmom said...

Helping my daughter through the birth of my granddaughter was all the things you said and more because I was connected to her. Doing it for an almost stranger is a beautiful thing.

Ally said...

Wow. The line that being forgotten in this line of work is a good thing really got to me. How true that must be. What an amazing treasure trove of experiences you've had. You've whittled your humanity down (or maybe built it up?) to a fine point, and that is one of the reason why I love you so!

patches said...

Beautiful stories are all around us, but it takes unique vision to recognize them. Thanks, for sharing, Jen.

carrie said...

Generosity of spirit friend. You have so much of it and so much to give. I'm in awe.

I know you were and still are a great comfort for her.

Kaila's Mommy said...

How truly wonderful!

Daisy said...

She must be so grateful for you -- and for your connections. I see more and more families like hers in my work (teaching). I hope I, too, can develop the connections to help those who need it.

Magpie said...

That is a heartbreaking and lovely story -

Lisa b said...

Wow. What an amazing story.