It has always been a dream of mine to watch a child come into this world—one that wasn’t my own.

I wanted to experience the thrill of waiting for those contractions to start—that weren’t my own—and be there to offer whatever was needed, from water to encouragement. I wanted to be able to watch and fully take in the flurry of behind-the-scenes action of what all goes on. Because for a lot of my own birth experiences, my eyes have been closed and I have been focused on the intense waves going on inside my body during the birthing process.

It finally happened when you—someone who has helped me in my own birth experiences and postpartum periods—invited me to attend your birth.

...and not only that but you gave birth in my home.

Your beautiful family of (now) eight has decided to go against the grain of society, sell practically everything you own and go where you feel called to, together in an RV. It’s amazing. However, as your labor neared, I am so glad you high-tailed it up highway 95 to park nearby so that you could use my master bedroom suite for laboring, birthing and a few days of postpartum resting.

Because of that choice you were able to have the extra space to move about during the long, slow dance of labor—and later, have the water birth you craved in the same tub that I birthed in last year. And I—the birth enthusiast that I am—got to witness my first birth.

To say that I was honored hardly touches the surface of my gratefulness. I am grateful that you trusted me enough to allow me to be present for the birth of your child. I am grateful that you felt safe and comfortable enough in my home to bring forth your sweet sixth addition.

I know the importance of feeling safe for birthing, both in environment and in the people present, and I’m glad you felt that as you welcomed your baby earth side. Your days of laboring were beautiful to watch from my view and I tried my best to capture what I could.

I watched you sway and surrender to the process, waiting patiently for the baby’s perfect timing—even if it felt like she was taking the long route down. It fascinated me how you could still sit with me talking or eating while your contractions came and went. Who would have thought making it to nine centimeters could be such a breeze! You were amazing!

What a beautiful example you are to mamas, showing that slow labor over days can be normal and even having a relatively painless birth is possible.

When your waves grew closer and stronger right before baby’s arrival, I could almost feel them with you. Having done this a few times before myself, I knew the intensity you were feeling. I knew that hip pain as baby moved lower and the need to moan with each mountain as it peaked before you.

You’ve held my hand and rubbed my hair as I breathed down one of my babies, this time it was my turn to be that for you. I was happy to provide any amount of comfort I could.

As you worked and breathed, I prayed I was being helpful just as you were for me three years ago. Your touch was a welcomed distraction from the intensity and your presence a sense of calm within the storm raging in those last moments before crowning. I so hope I was that for you, too.

When baby finally decided it was time to join us in the outside world, it was fast!

The adrenaline was tangible as we all assumed our roles for her arrival—myself with the task of videoing it. (Sorry if it’s shaky!) What an immense privilege it was to be among the first people to know baby’s gender, to be among the small intimate crew that got to watch you meet your youngest daughter, while you fell in love with each other in an instant.

I remember the tender moment your big girls woke up, still bleary-eyed and bed headed, to meet their new baby sister and announce her name.

There is nothing quite like those first few glances at the newest person on the planet.

I will always cherish this experience with you. It was everything I expected and hoped it would be from my view. It was beautiful. And inspiring. And pure magic.

You are truly a birth goddess. Thank you for letting me be part of this experience. I will never forget it.