Reflecting back on December, one year after the death of my niece from brain cancer. I had expected to spend 2,3,4 days a week with my sister this month. Last year I was with her every day, but one, in the month of December as we cared for her daughter, in their home, until her death on Christmas morning. Our group only accepted one family for care this month, one family that Emme had helped before.
My niece, Meaghann, was a can-do person. She was bold and bright and ready for action. She was proud that I was a doula and a midwife. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that she had plans for me this month. She seems to have orchestrated a connection with her that I’d be sure of.
It began with an invitation to a birth on my brother’s birthday, Dec. 11th. The mother’s midwife had a long drive and she was going fast. I was closer. Meaghann loved her Uncle Gordon, and he her. She was the first thing in his life that stopped his never-stopping activity and melted his heart. I remember the look on his teen age face the first time he held her.
Catching baby Ian that morning was a fun surprise, a little heads up for the next surprise.
On what would have been Meaghann’s 36th birthday, the phone rang at 7:30. This surprise invite is told in part else where on this blog…maybe on Dec. 14th 08. I’d expected to be with Kathy that day for sure, but ended up at baby Tucker’s birth. I couldn’t reach Kathy by phone and when I stood quietly to “see” where she might be, I got that she wasn’t at our Mom’s that Sunday afternoon and so I could just as well stay at the labor which was going slowly. I “tuned” into what God’s Will was for me to do and of course, thought of what Meg might think, me skipping out on her Mom. It was as if I could feel her suddenly saying with her wry wit, “Duh, you’re a Doula!”
I’d told my midwife partners that I thought our next mom was going to go on Christmas and so I wasn’t expecting to be at this birth. I’d reserved Christmas for Kathy. (My guys are so supportive and get this, and we were all to be together in the afternoon.)
But Emme and Clare said they’d call me just to keep me up dated. About 7 am Christmas morning Em called. Labor seemed to be moving fast. I thought, great, I can slip in, sit quietly in case they need me and be to my late sleeping sister’s house right about the time she’s wondering where I am. So clever, eh?
In a couple hours, we see that this birth isn’t going fast, in fact, I think I can leave and come back. Kathy and I have a sweet morning. She says she’s sad but not unhappy. She reads John 1 and 2 outloud to me while I make pumpkin pudding and wash dishes in her kitchen. Kathy read scripture to Meaghann every morning and they talked and then Kathy would (and still does) journal. When its time to drive to mom’s, I ask Kathy if its ok to stop by the birthing family’s home for an hour…
I arrive at 3 and “about supper time” the baby girl is born and its good to be useful. I get to my mom’s about 8 and they’re all still there. I snuggle up to my sister like we were kids and am glad she has me, her little sister. Later, I call to see how much the baby weighs, 11 and an half pounds! God is good and I guess I was where I was needed.
Its as if Meaghann gave me this gift. It would be just her style of humor, both her birthday and her Heaven day, her birthday into heaven. Like a wink.
And its good to have partners…