. .:: This is one of just two instances where I never had the opportunity to meet mom and dad before popping up into their birthing space. These sweet people were moving from out of state, nesting in the biggest possible way as they prepared for the arrival of their little girl. I had this initial hesitation as I opened the door, hoping I was walking into the correct room. I think all of us birth attendants get that feeling every once in a while, where it's dark out and you can't see the home address well, but you're ALMOST totally certain you're walking into the right house containing a laboring woman, or at the hospital where you're hoping dad didn't fat finger the room number when he sent the text. But as soon as I walked in, they greeted me with warmth and positivity, happy to be in their laboring journey, excited and nervous to see where it would take them. You know, early labor. Smiling, joking, dreaming...

But labor allows few women continue on its path without a test, whether it be a tribulation of the emotions and of mental fortitude, or a test of physical strength and ability to accept the sensations of labor. Often it's both. You're told that a baby will come of all this, but when you reach your physical limits where your mind goes into oblivion in between contractions and your legs are shaking with exhaustion, where you're certain you must be completely dilated, but the nurse says you're a 4, you begin to doubt, to worry. You think, perhaps my body isn't built for this, after all. Perhaps this moment is perpetual. And sometimes, the thought of it brings me to tears, perhaps I've failed.

This was one of those instances where I wish my role could have been more useful. What if I could have carried that heaviness for her? But labor is something where, even surrounded by supportive and loving individuals, loneliness can creep in. You realize that you alone are capable of birthing your baby... it's a marathon, yes, but it's not a relay.

And afterwards, I sat down, tired but in no place to complain, and thought a simple, "Wow." This woman, this husband and wife team, they were lock step the entire time, through everything. It was a long and trying journey, and they did it, together. And yes, I know that baby is always born, eventually. But to see first-hand such fortitude was... inspiring... even after years of doing what I do, I'm inspired and in awe. ::. .

**Note: All images are reviewed and approved by my clients prior to being made public**