There was a moment during Shirin's family pictures last year when all 12 eyes of her children looked up at me to smile for the camera.
They had made precious people.
These kids were well mannered and full of life.
Personally, I had never been around a large family like this.
Shirin and Ted found me during their first trimester.
They reached out accepting my offer to buy coffee.
When they told me they were expecting their 7th baby, I thought they were joking.
Nothing against the idea of a big family,
I just had never worked with anyone with more than 4 or 5 children.
They spoke truthfully about their family and I was moved.
So often we hear negative things or digs regarding large families, but...have any of you been fortunate enough to be actually be around a dedicated and intentional love like this kind?
Meeting a family that has this kind of captivating dynamic?
I know I sound like a fan girl but I can't help it.
Here I am debating if I am going to have second child and this incredible woman is on her 7th. Radiating in her pregnancy.
Full of strength and poise.
After our consult was over, we decided to work together.
Shirin had wants and wishes.
Her previous births ranged on all sides of the spectrum.
All in hospitals or birth centers.
This time, she wanted things to be different.
She wanted a home birth.
To freely labor where she felt the safest.
Where she felt the most love.
No more hospitals.
No birthing center.
No unsupportive care.
No "emergencies" or emergencies.
Things that every woman should be able to have, if they choose.
As her due date neared, I knew she would probably deliver early.
Given all of her previous pregnancies, she delivered early almost every time.
If second time babies are normally faster than the first...I was taking zero chances on her 7th birth pulling a fast one on me.
Shirin's birth team and I stayed in contact with one another to make sure we all were on the same page for her. I was thankful for her team. We all had meetings and conversations to help her achieve this as successfully as possible.
Shirin called me weeks before her due date to let me know that there was a possible complication.
If we didn't take certain measures for her pregnancy, she would have to transfer to a hospital.
When the day came where she may have had to be transferred, Shirin was determined to do her home birth.
Under professional care in her home, her midwife and assistants were keeping a close eye on her.
If Shirin wanted her dream labor, she needed some natural remedies to get the ball rolling.
Being on the same page, we waited for the measures to take effect. The midwives left to give them space and time together.
Later that morning, she let me know that she was in early labor.
You better believe I got there as soon as I could.
I arrived before anyone else.
When I entered the house, I found her in the back room riding out contractions in her chair. Ted was awaiting anything she may have needed.
The children were in school. The house was tranquil amongst the laboring moans.
I was surprised but shouldn't have been surprised to realize how far along Shirin appeared to be in her labor process.
She wasn't speaking very much. I assumed we were nearing active labor if not already in it.
Soon after I set up, Teri entered the room.
Confident and prepared.
Wearing the face of a warrior protecting and monitoring her patient.
Her doula, Sarah, showed up shortly after Teri.
After assessing the energy in the room, she encouraged techniques to help aide her discomfort by moving freely.
She encouraged stairs as they help open the pelvic muscles so baby moves downward as effectively as possible. This encouraged longer and louder birth cries.
Ted knew that is wife liked to labor with minimal touching so he respected her space. Only touching her when she asked.
During our last meet up, Sarah had mentioned that they have an affirmation banner that they take to every birth. A right of passage, if you will, in honoring other women who birthed before. Them passing along strength in a sort of tangible way.
They were not sure if it was still at the previous birth and said they would try to get it to her birth.
I walked into the bedroom to find Ted hanging up the banner from the women before above the banners her children had created for her.
Shirin didn't even realize this until the birth was over, that was how quickly things were going.
After changing, she was helped into the pool.
Various positions were utilized.
Allowing her to be alone in this space and listen to what her body needed.
Tug o war was introduced.
In certain laboring positions, like the one below, using this pulling action can help activate rectal muscles push baby down effectively.
More often than not, we are told to push with our vaginas but this isn't always the best method. This can cause more tearing than necessary.
Pulling oneself upright can engage these muscles that are used to staying tense unless using the restroom.
After several tries, Shirin was exhausted.
Labor was picking up fast.
She decided to flip over to help relieve pressure in her uterus.
Shirin was encouraged to use the restroom.
Sitting on the toilet can be a remarkable tool.
As mentioned earlier with tug o war, the muscle memory being on the toilet can allow women to feel more comfortable with relaxing this part of their bodies.
This also creates more room for baby to move through a less tense birth canal.
She began grunting.
We made our way to the bed so that Teri could swipe away the stubborn cervix that was causing her delay. After this, she let her know that her baby was ready to come out and we needed to get into the water NOW.