There’s the delivery report. Then there is the Birth Story.

The other day, I sat down to document a birth in the medical record. I was still all abuzz inside from witnessing the two kick-ass women I had the privilege of attending that night.   It suddenly struck me, the flatness of what I was about to write compared to what actually happened.  I get that we have to document in a certain way, and that’s OK.   But wouldn’t it be amazing to say what we really see, for each and every birth? 

Here’s an example of a typical delivery note:

Spontaneous vaginal delivery of live male after pushing approx. X minutes/hours. Spontaneous cry, baby passed to mother’s abdomen. Cord clamped and cut after approx. 5 minute delay. Intact placenta delivered spontaneously. Uterus firm with massage.   Perineum intact. Estimated blood loss 300cc. Apgars 8 and 9, weight pending. Mother and baby both stable.

Here’s an example of what I would like to say:

She labored, held in love by the one she loved most, the mask peeled off.
Beautiful sounds—the song of pure instinct at work.

Oh my goodness—the blend of surrender and effort.
Vulnerability and Raw Power entwined. Exquisite.

She pushed when she was ready. Rested when her body said so.
New life emerged. Beautiful new soul welcomed into loving arms.
Cord pulsing. Between two worlds. Placenta breath gives way to new breath.
Lungs waking up.

Clamp, cut, and now they are two.
Mother and baby falling in love, again.

© Camille Williams and Wake Up, Mama!  2015

7 thoughts on “There’s the delivery report. Then there is the Birth Story.

  1. Beautiful insight, Camille! The medicalization of birth is like the pornification of sex: the spiritual significance is mostly ignored. Could you get away with including heart-centered descriptions in the reports? Maybe it’ll catch on and they’ll start including a space for a “subjective” summary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Scott! I like your analogy. One of the most important parts of this work is to ensure the spiritual significance is honored for the family in the birth rooms, but as for the chart…when in Rome, you know? Although for starters, I could more consistently scrap the word “delivery” in favor of “birth” 🙂


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