Grateful to the talented photographer Raye Law for Scout’s newborn photo session.
I am finally sharing my sweet daughter’s birth story. She was born peacefully at home in October, surrounded by a compassionate team of doulas and midwives while her father was deployed:
My darling Scout, this is your story. Of the day God gracefully delivered you onto this Earth and into my arms, October 4, 2010.
You arrived most unexpectedly on time–only one day past your due date. Your older brothers had prepared me for a 42-week wait. But the Lord, in his gracious timing, determined your arrival would be two days after your Nana arrived to help. How perfect! And yet, your ideal birthday was only surpassed by the perfection of you, my sweet daughter.
Your father was away at sea on the day you came, as he had been in the months before and would be for more than two months after. The day you met him is a story for a another day, and I will tell you soon.
When I awoke that crisp October morning, the rumblings in my abdomen hinted that you may be coming. And, in the restroom I noticed the first signs of your impending arrival. Your Nana dropped Liam at school while I phoned my dear friends and doulas Christi and Aimee, and then the midwives. “The baby may be coming today,” I told them. I wasn’t entirely convinced, this was sooner than I had imagined and I was so at ease.
As I hobbled and contracted, I knew I needed one last adjustment to prepare my body for your birth, so we piled into the van and drove a few blocks to my chiropractor’s office. Dr. Tiffany was a presence of love and calm and kindness and she knew just how to coax my body into the ideal position for you. While I was on her table, your daddy phoned from half-way across the globe and it was then, for the first time, that I allowed myself to weep.
Slowly and quietly, tears rolled down my cheeks. I barely remember our exchange, but afterward, I finally gave myself permission to mourn his absence for your birth and for the solitude in which I would deliver you. A contraction swept over me. It was the first that demanded my attention and I focused and gasped and turned my thoughts away from him and onto you. My moment of melancholy for “what could not be” faded into anticipation for what was to come.
The rushes came more quickly, my belly tightening and my focus narrowing. Recalling the labors of your brothers, I welcomed these sensations that would bring me closer to meeting you. We drove home slowly and when we arrived I went to my bedroom alone, enjoying a few minutes with you: Grateful that you would be born peacefully at home. Thankful that I didn’t need to go anywhere. Relaxed and comfortable in my space–quiet and dim. Praying. Moving in and out of focus. Undressing a bit to get comfortable.
I’m not sure when Aimee arrived, I simply remember emerging from the concentration of a contraction, and there she was, standing in the corner of the room. Did my eyes well up again when I saw her? I can’t recall, but I felt a sense of relief and love and connection and indescribable gratitude. I was overcome with peace. I knew the Lord was telling me that all would be well and I could begin in earnest now. Your daddy’s void was filled by these precious women who loved God and trusted birth–and your mama. Christi followed, along with your team of midwives, Terri, Jenny and Jen.
They checked your perfect heartbeat and bustled about making preparations for you. Scribbling notes and sorting things. Aimee quietly snapped photos. In moments of rest, I was talkative–I confirmed that your birth supplies were ready. They were meticulously organized. The motor of a warm birthing tub hummed in the background.
Time moved quickly as I became more uncomfortable and and my vocals grew more guttural. I was taught to “sing my babies out” by Susan, my first midwife. By now, I knew just what she meant. Because of that, your birth was a primal melody my sweet baby.
Your midwives kindly waited in the next room, allowing me space while Christi and Aimee stayed by my side offering comfort and encouraging words and prayer. They pushed my hips together as I stood in my bathroom, the compression offering a moment of welcome relief. They prepared cold washcloths and applied warm rice socks. They kneaded my back. It felt so ordinary and natural, and then momentarily surreal as I stared into the vanity mirror. For thousands of years women have served women in these hours of birth. From red tents to this very bedroom, an ages old tradition was unfolding and enveloping me. I embraced the process and felt a sense of confidence in my body’s ability to deliver you and a deep connection to these women who were helping prepare me for you.
I needed food and chewed on deliciously ripe honeycrisp apples that will always remind me of your day. I was blissful in the in-between moments and focused as I could feel you lowering inside of me. When the contractions became stronger I finally submerged my body into the tub. Warm water rushed over me, relaxing my core and numbing the intensity of the squeezing inside of me. I wondered though, if it was too soon. I wasn’t far enough along, I thought–and said aloud: “Could I be slowing things down?” It is a fault of mine that I tend to “think” through my labors, plotting my own progression.
I was assured that I was exactly where I needed to be and urged to simply let go. And they were right, of course. I draped my arms over the edge of the tub and moaned with each contraction…the deep sounds helped alleviate the cramping. It was oddly calm.
At some point, your father called again and the mere sound of his voice during these vulnerable moments coaxed hot tears from my eyes. I can’t tell you what he said, but we both wept. My dear friends quietly and furtively cried with us, trying not to distract from the rhythm of your birth. And then, he was gone again, bringing me back to you.
I imagined that I was only at the beginnings of my labor when I decided to check for myself. And, there. You. Were. It was an incredible surprise. I could brush your soft head with my fingertips–and I knew you would be coming soon.
I asked Christi and Aimee to tell the midwives that I was certain you were nearly here–and they rushed in. I was already pushing, my body on my hands and knees doing exactly what it was designed to do with little help from me. You were lowering through the birth canal and I could feel your body inside of mine. Christi spoke gentle words of encouragement and prayer in my ear as I guided you out. I felt the searing pain of your head emerging from my body and gasped. And then, I relaxed again, fighting the instinct to tighten my muscles. Another strain and your shoulders emerged and you slid into the warm water. I grasped your soft body and lifted you to my chest..
The first thing I noticed was your bottom. That you were a girl. A girl! I quickly turned you upright and saw your beautiful face and magnificent head of hair–adorned with thick black locks. Did you know in my heart of hearts I knew you were a “she” from the beginning? Or, at least I had prayed for it to be so — guiltily, I confess. You were beginning of my life as a mother of a daughter. The newest of our family.
Scarlet Quinn Beaty, my sweet “Scout”, you arrived after three hours of gentle labor at 2:20 PM, to a mother who adored you and to a father on the other side of the world, who yearned to hold you. Your tiny body was perfect and strong–you weighed 7 lbs 11oz. on the midwives’ scale. All I could do was stare at you and smother your soft brow with my lips. Although the third, you were as majestic as my first, making me a mother all over again. What a blessing you were and are, my darling. At last, you were here.
Please note, the images in the slide show below are not graphic, but do document a birth.
Words simply are not enough to describe my gratitude for the incredible team of women who supported me during my daughter’s birth. If you are in the Hampton Roads area and are expecting, please consider adding them to your birth team:
Aimee Roberts and Christi Jones doulas + childbirth educators from Birth Insight (birth photos courtesy of Aimee)
Terri Hewitt, Jennifer Derugen and Jennifer Green, Midwives from Seven Cities Midwifery
Dr. Tiffany Fernandez from In Good Hands Chiropractic