Sarah has always been a bit of a princess, living up to the meaning of her name. She was a girly little girl, with a vivid imagination, and that made her a favourite among friends who would visit. She had compassion on anyone or anything that was hurt, and I remember clearly the story of Sarah, just 3 and a half, comforting her baby sister Linda, who was crying because Mommy was away, in the hospital.
As she grew up, I was astounded at her creativity. She loved to draw and write stories. She didn't much care for playing outside or doing any yardwork - she preferred to stay in and cook while her siblings were mucking out stalls or mowing the lawn.
I tried to encourage her towards taking nursing training. She adamantly refused. "I don't like snot," she said bluntly. "I don't like bodily fluids."
Imagine my surprise when she got herself a job working in a pig barn! My princess, who formerly poured coffee for patrons at the Seaforth bakery, was pressure-washing stalls, castrating piglets, and feeding great big sows!
She found the love of her life at that barn, and married him a couple of years later. To our delight, they found out they were expecting, and to my joy, I was asked to be there when Sarah gave birth, at home. At least, that was the plan.
Sarah's delivery of her first-born son didn't go according to plan. She ended up with pre-eclampsia, which ruled out her dreamed-of homebirth. She had to endure being induced, then instead of spending the day in her beautiful new bedroom, she had to labour in the hospital room, monitors beeping, nurses watching, doctor checking... not at all the quiet, simple birth she was hoping for.
To add to the discomfort of the continual monitoring of contractions, blood pressure, and baby's heartbeat, Sarah was one of those labouring women who could not keep a thing down. She'd have a few sips of water, and during a particularly hard contraction, up it would come. She'd drink a bit of Gatorade, and the result was the same, albeit slightly more coloured. This happened again and again. The contractions just kept coming, and she just kept on up-chucking.
I watched her steel herself for the next contraction. She'd breathe deeply, willing herself to relax, drawing strength from Tyler who supported her, squeezing her hips or giving her ice, or literally supporting her with his body. During the worst of the contractions, she'd begin to panic with the intensity of the pain, but her midwife assured her "you can do this, Sarah! Breathe!" Sarah did.
As she said in her birth story on her blog, the pushing was the best part of the entire labour. Soon Deklan was in her arms, and Daddy Tyler was letting the tears of joy fall freely down his cheeks.
I stood there, appreciating the moment.
Sarah astounded me with her courage and strength, her willingness to persevere, and her determination to do it without drugs, for the good of her son.
Tyler amazed me with his quiet strength. He did whatever he could to help his dear wife. Sometimes I think that watching someone else in pain is worse than experiencing the pain - I could see on Tyler's face that he felt utterly helpless a few times - there really was nothing more he could do.
Sarah now has to have a new nickname. Instead of Princess Sarah, in my mind she'll be Persevering Sarah. I am so very proud of her!