Humans and Heroines

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I once read something that was being passed around the natural birth social media community called Confessions of a Very Human Midwife.  It went something like, “To all the mothers whose births I’ve attended, I confess there were many nights I prayed you wouldn’t go into labor until morning.  I confess I wanted to kill your sweet fuzzy kitty cat the moment it climbed into your bed right after you gave birth.”  The confessions went on to create a picture of a very real, human midwife.  We sometimes get mistaken for Mother Theresa.  We love to tell birth stories; some make us sound great and others make us sound crazy. After all we still handled that mad complication after being up for 50 hours straight. 
The thing is…this Mother T view of midwives is all wrong.  We are humans plain and simple, called to something great.  That something great isn’t midwifery, it is birth.  Birth is its own miraculous event.  We like to call it beautiful, but I think every midwife, if we’re real with ourselves, can admit we’ve seen a not so beautiful birth or two in our careers. Birth is miraculous and life changing. It usually has a way of taking its miraculous rays and shining on all who are closely involved, making us look a little less human than we really are.  

I’m not saying it doesn’t matter who is at a birth, because it does indeed matter. I’m not saying that there aren’t some amazing people in birth teams, because I know there are. Everyone in the room plays a role, good or bad, in how a birth will play out.  I saw that evidenced this past week in the midst of an adrenaline rush ofunexpected events. (story here)  The beauty of our team working together left me in awe.  Everyone communicated, efficiently and effectively.  There was total unity amongst everyone in the room.  Even the roles that sometimes go unnoticed were so unbelievably important in this setting.  The non-medically trained woman in the room held baby "A" while we worked to get surprise baby "B" out. Even her presence, holding a baby, played a major role. All other medical hands were needed on deck and had we left a screaming baby lying on the bed alone, the stress level in the room would have risen.  An unattended, screaming baby was the last thing our room needed.  The midwife kneeling behind me, whose face I could not see, prayed aloud in my ear and handed me everything I needed before I even knew I needed it. Her presence alone brought so much peace to me.  I love that her hands were right there the moment I needed them.  The pediatric doctor in the room gave me comfort that even though this baby may need full resuscitation once it was born, she could take over.  The nurse at the mother’s head gave perfect pushing instructions and inserted IVs faster than I can blink.  The midwifery student sitting right next to me held the mom up and kept her from falling in my lap as we maneuvered to get a baby out.  She stuck it out the whole, intense time even though she may have felt like she wanted to jet.  She’s going to make a crazy good midwife.  Teams are important to me as a midwife. Unity is huge and everyone plays a significant role. 

But there really is only one heroine in every birth story and she plays the same roll every time…the mother.  Labor is physical; it’s intense.  Labor is emotional; it’s deep.  Labor is life changing; it makes a woman a mother.  Being a mother is a sacrifice far beyond any sacrifice I’ll ever make by being up for endless hours, surviving on coffee and chocolate as a midwife.  She pushes and gives birth to life…and sometimes not.  She is the hero.  I’m amazed at the strength of a mother when she must do something for her child. After twenty-two hours of labor and pushing a baby out, Stephanie smirked and flipped to her hands and knees to push out her second, surprise baby as if she was taking a leisurely walk in the park.  I don’t think she has slept longer than 3 hour increments since she went into labor.  Two babies demand a lot of breastfeeding, diaper changing, and skin to skin snuggles.  Her life is forever changed.  She is the heroine. 

A List

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I’m thankful, the deep eucharisteo kind.  I have more to write on a grace gifts list than I have time to put here. 

I arrived here Friday afternoon, on time. Thankful. 
My jam packed bags did burst at 32,000 feet cruising altitude. That would have been the biggest mess of coconut oil, protein powder and cheese American Airlines has ever seen.  Graces.

I actually remembered Creole and could speak to Theodore in the airport. I guess all the mental Creole reciting I’ve been doing over the past month was successful!  A gift. 

I was met at the airport by a familiar face. Thankful.
Warm sunshine and cool breeze. A gift…one I’ve been looking forward to since I set foot in the land of the FREEZING a month ago.  

I arrived at the Maternity Center, lovingly greeted by sweet friends who make this feel like home.  Graces.
Dinner with the other midwife Beth, catching up on life here over the past month. Thankful. 

Unpacking my bags and finding sweet notes filled with memories, encouragement and good laughs from my Texas family. A gift. 

Sweet sleep, waking refreshed. Graces.
A cool morning walk with my roomie. Thankful.

Worship, refreshment for my soul.  Grace. 

Afternoon with friends. A gift

Watering the garden that started as seed such a short time ago and being encouraged by its growth.  Thankful.
Technology, connecting with friends, family, and sisters. Graces.

It has been a very quiet few days at the maternity center since I arrived. There have been no babies born since the year rolled into 2014. We wait...knowing a long stretch of no birth activity, though a gift at times, will likely end with the flood gates opening.  This week may end up being a flurry of activity, filled with moments that make up the journey of our lives or it may be a week of gentle routine. Who knows. Either way, all is grace.

Thankful for each of you

Leaving you with some captured moments. 


His Presence- Old Entry

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I beg my mind to grasp the present moment through the fog of my sleep.  Another knock at my door and I’m fully awake. This must mean labor.  I descend the stairs of my apartment to find a young girl, abdomen swollen with new life, scarred and unsure of the journey ahead of her.  I unlock the door to the maternity center and flip on a light.  A contraction grips her swollen belly and she cries in fear.  Birth is painful, but fear and loneliness bring far more pain than womb contracting and life emerging.  As I talk her through everything that’s happening, reminding her to take in oxygen, to relax her body as she labors, I begin to see fear fade and companionship accepted.  I am midwife-  meaning ‘with woman.’  She is woman becoming mother in a place where fear and loneliness are pushed out by peace, by love, by presence.

I’m reminded that so many years ago, a young woman became mother. She pushed and into the world came the Prince of Peace who would show a hurting and fearful human race love like we’d never known before.  He came and fear and loneliness are pushed out by His presence.  Jesus, we celebrate Your birth, Your love, Your peace. Emmanuel, we welcome You this Christmas season. We love Your presence with us.

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