I Ended Up With Ten People in the Delivery Room

When my pregnancy test showed those two little pink lines, I was far from creating a birth plan.

I was blindsided and scared. That’s all there was to it.

When you go into survival mode, you aren’t thinking about the future, you are only thinking about getting through the next moments. The father of these two little lines on that pregnancy test was states away at this point and not my partner anymore.

I…was…alone.

A thousand miles away from my closest friends and family.

Alone. Except now with a baby, I guess.

I Ended Up With Nine People in the Delivery Room | Twin Cities Moms Blog

For some reason I thought that single moms didn’t get to go through all the birthing preparations that other moms get to. In my case, I didn’t have the money to prepare in all the ways I wish I had. I found a free center that offered information on labor and delivery, but that was about it. Other than pushing a ping pong ball out of a balloon to imitate the birthing process, the only other thing I gained from that process was a fantastic doula.

Remember how I said I was in survival mode? I was at a loss as how to prepare myself for my baby’s delivery because that’s not where my mind was for those nine and a half months. I was only beginning to realize that those two little pink lines were turning into a bulging belly and that bulging belly would then turn into a child, a child that would grow into a full-fledged person. My very own. I really didn’t know how to wrap my mind around that fact, but I knew I could do this if I did it step by step. 

My mind’s energy was spent working overtime, going to grad school in the evenings, making whatever meal I could scrap together when I was beyond exhausted, managing morning sickness on a long commute with a bottle of apple juice behind the wheel, preparing to move a thousand miles back home, and trying to prove to the world that my “mess up” wasn’t going to truly be a mess up. That my baby would be wonderful and would do well and would be a super human being who is worth everything I can do for him. My new mother heart would do anything to show the world that when her baby doesn’t fall into the conventional family plan, he is still perfectly wonderful and loved.

I also would do anything to make sure he felt loved from the moment he entered the world.

Traditionally in our culture, both parents tend to be present for the birth of their child. I didn’t know if this would be the case. I just as well assumed it wouldn’t. The truth is, I didn’t want anyone there. That’s why I got a doula. Just in case I ended up alone. I think part of me just didn’t want to accept I wouldn’t be experiencing birth in the same way as all my friends. I wanted people there to love my baby, but I wasn’t ready to accept non-traditional. 

Now that I had a doula, there would be two of us to welcome him when he was born.

That was really the only way I saw it. People to be there for my baby from the start. I feared my love wouldn’t be enough. I worried that I’d be the only one present when my baby was born. I worried that my baby would be lacking the affection and love of two parents when he came into the world.

While those were some of the silliest lies I’ve believed, I recognize it as the reason I was open to allowing others to be there for us. A single mom lesson that needed to be learned at some point- my love is enough, but we certainly don’t need to do it alone. Most often when I thought my motivation to allow others to help was child-oriented, I found I, too, received much needed love.  

Then my mom asked to be there.

I set my pride aside and said yes.

Now we were three.

Then I had the idea to have my friend photograph my son when he was born. I had a picture in my head of what that shot would look like. She agreed.

I Ended Up With Nine People in the Delivery Room | Twin Cities Moms Blog

That made four. Add in the last minute, short-lived arrival of my son’s birth father, and the fear of having no one there with me turned into five of us. My hope was that those other people could make me less dependent on him, and more open to the support of women who were close to me.

Through a series of unexpected events, my labor and delivery room filled up the day my son was born.

A friend who I had helped during her son’s home birth came in order to switch off with my mom if she needed it. My sisters both peeked in and were scolded by the nurse to either be in or out, and I, in a drugged up stupor, yelled, “They’re in! Don’t make them go!!”

My sister later admitted that she wanted to leave, but was trapped on the wrong side of the room and didn’t want to walk in the line of fire as I was pushing. I was certain at one point, when I glanced at her and saw the look on her face, that she would never have children of her own. (She did. Two, by the way.)

I Ended Up With Nine People in the Delivery Room | Twin Cities Moms Blog

So, let me think. There was me, doula, mom, baby daddy, photographer friend, home birth friend, sister one, sister two, a nurse and my midwife.

Including my big-bellied, back-labored self, there were ten people in the delivery room. Quiet, reserved, introverted, loves-her-alone-time-me had nine more people than I ever thought I’d want in that room with me. Nine people I never thought I’d want by my side during my most vulnerable time. I mean, it’s a rare occasion if I even cry in front of someone. And here I was. As vulnerable as can be. Out of my mind, five days of back labor me. Back labor made it anything but beautiful in my eyes. I screamed. I cried. I begged. All those people were all there with me.

I really didn’t know why or how everyone ended up in that room. But for some reason I didn’t seem to mind. Which is so unlike me.

But then it happened.

Every time I wept that I couldn’t do it anymore, the room erupted in a chorus of support as they all joined together in unison and shouted back to me, “YES YOU CAN!” The intensity of my struggle was matched with their building need to make sure I knew I could do this. 

I had no choice but to believe them because they all believed it. I get chills when I think about it.

My back labor had started during the early hours of Thursday morning. I didn’t go into the hospital until right after my water broke Sunday night. I hadn’t slept, nor eaten in days. I pushed for almost four hours. I didn’t have an ounce of energy left in me to do this, but I knew I had to. By the end I was screaming for my midwife to just cut the baby out of me. Yes. I begged for a C-Section after day five of labor. 

That was when I needed my cheerleading squad the most. I never would have planned it that way. I never imagined them all there (I guarantee they didn’t either). But the fact that they were there probably did save me from giving up. They simply were too invested, or too trapped, to let me quit.

When my boy was born at 1:14 AM, just 14 minutes after my 30th birthday had passed, the room erupted with cheers. They all shared in my relief and joy when he finally joined us on the outside. I was happy. They were happy. It was evident we all were beyond happy my boy was here. We did it. I did it. 

I Ended Up With Nine People in the Delivery Room | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo Credit: Josie St. Peter}

After my son was born, everyone cleared out of the room. I looked around. The room looked like there had been a frat party moments earlier. Signs of all these people coming in and out of the room lingered. Cups. Plates. A forgotten sweater. Someone’s bag. 

Then my midwife came back in. She looked at me and said exactly what my nervous single mom heart needed to hear…

I’ve never seen a baby welcomed into this world with so much love. 

And that was the day I stopped worrying that my son would lack love in his life. And the day I realized I wasn’t doing this alone. So, there you have it. I had nine people in the delivery room with me. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

While I may not plan to have a room full of cheerleaders at any of my future births, I am grateful for the surprise this experience gave me. Did you go non-traditional in the delivery room? I’d love to hear about your experience!

One Response to I Ended Up With Ten People in the Delivery Room

  1. Sarah August 9, 2016 at 6:05 AM #

    In August of 2012, I too, found myself staring at a post ice pregnancy test. Like you, certain that the bio-donor woman unlikely to be around and scared as hell to do this alone, especially as a single mom of a 9 year old girl. Fast forward to April and there I was surrounded by my two best friends, my mom, my daughter, two sisters, a fabulous midwife and nurse….in a pool of warm water…giving birth to a precious baby girl. Like you said, so much love in that room!!! What an amazing day! We are lucky women!!!!

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