Ashley and I have been friends for seven years, we met through a local playgroup. Like myself, she has a girl tribe, three lovely, lively girls that keep her quite busy. With this last pregnancy, Ashley and her husband, Toby, decided not to find out the gender beforehand.
On Saturday afternoon, I got a “heads up” call that Ashley’s water broke, but contractions hadn’t started. This is her fourth child and she lives about 45 minutes away, so she wanted me to be ready. Later on, I received the call to come, and I raced out the door and across town. I arrived around 11:15 pm and Ashley was in active labor. She was standing in her bedroom, using Toby for support during contractions. The moment I walked in, she greeted me sweetly, and excitedly informed me that she was feeling a lot of pressure. Her birth support team consisted of Jessica and Donna of the Midwives Cooperative, and her husband Toby. The midwives quickly and quietly went to setting up the space while Ashley decided to soak in the tub for a short while.
Ashley changed positions often to better cope with the pressure and intensity. Toby was constantly by her side, lending her support as she relaxed, breathed deeply, and sang her “mama songs”. Jessica and Donna rubbed her legs and thighs to help with cramping. They were so attentive and supportive throughout the labor. Offering suggestions when Ashley wanted to do something different, but making sure she always felt in control of her birth. Right before the baby started to crown, Ashley started saying the most beautiful affirmations! She reminded herself that her baby and her body knew just what to do, that everything she felt was natural and right. It was such an incredible moment to witness, as she calmly found her power, and used it to birth her baby powerfully and gently. Toby received Torivio and Ashley reached down and lifted him to her chest. After the initial burst of elation and excitement, Ashley and Toby remembered that they should check out the gender, to their delight, they discovered that they had a son!
After initial vitals, the family was left for some much needed bonding time. They snuggled in bed and loving gazed at their boy as he nursed. During this time, I prepared her placenta for smoothies and took the remainder home to dehydrate and encapsulate. I stayed through the newborn exam, but I could tell that everyone was fading fast, myself included. I gathered my things and left Ashley and Toby in their new baby bliss!
Thank you Ashley for allowing me to capture your precious memories. It was an honor and a privilege to witness your incredible birth!
Torivio Lee Ortega, born at 1:14am on 3/16/14, weighing 8lbs and 8 ounces, and measuring 22 inches long.