Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why Fight?

Sitting down to write this at the end of this week, I am exhausted.  Physically and emotionally exhausted.  I did not catch one baby or attend one woman in labor.  Yet, this week has left me drained and close to the edge.  Whether you may want it to be or not, whether you are aware of it or not being a midwife in this country is a political act.  In some ways, you must always be on guard.  Tonight, I am in a space of negativity and frustration mixed with triumph and pride.  I am hoping that writing about these things will help to alleviate my negativity.

I do not want to, nor should I go into details.  In brief, my birth center was the target of a "complaint" by a local hospital.  As a result, we were investigated.  Eventually, we were cleared of any wrong doing.  I was put on the hot seat for multiple hours on two different days, defending and explaining what we do at the center.  I feel triumphant that we eventually prevailed and proud of all my co-workers who supported me through the process.  I am also proud of myself and how I handled the pressure.  I am frustrated and angry that this process even had to happen.  It serves as a reminder that our struggle is far from over.  Midwifery is still under threat in our country.  ALL midwifery, not just homebirth midwives, but all midwives.  Why must we fight?  Why did I sit and endure this process?  Because the women and babies need us, we must fight for them.  We must never get complacent and become too comfortable. We must always fight the fight and stand up for women. Going to the birth center everyday is part of my resistance.  The hours that I put in, both at the sides of women and behind a desk, are my contribution.  I will continue to do my work and be on the front lines of this struggle. 

How do you fight this fight?....

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Hug

First of all, sorry for the long pause on new posts.  Summer has a way of keeping us busy while the time flies by.  Hopefully, I will be back on the wagon moving forward.

This story is simple, a simple unencumbered birth with a lovely couple an their supportive family.  Sometimes the most simple births can be among the most profound.  Rachel and Jon are a sweet, young couple expecting their first child.  They had done a lot of research and had found the birth center.  We are not at all close to where they live and they had to drive multiple hours to get to us.  It was a huge commitment for them to choose us.  They are not the first family who has made this choice and they probably will not be the last.  These families elicit two responses in my heart; first honor, that they choose to come to us and second, some sadness that they have to travel so far to get the care they deserve.  I had been able to have several prenatal visits with them.  They were polite, open and honest.  However, after each visit, I left the room wondering if I had managed to make a connection with them.  This is a tricky topic.  If I am being honest, I have to admit that it is not possible to make a strong connection with each and every family.  Sometimes the chemistry is just not there.  This is one reason why working in a group is nice, if I don't have the chemistry with a family one of my midwife-sisters probably will.  But I am human and I want to make those connections.  Most times I feel that I am successful in delving deeper, going that extra inch and making it.  With Rachel and Jon, I felt unsure and always questioned myself afterwards.

I was on call and the phone rang.  I was happy to hear the ring as it had been almost one month since attending a birth!  The birth center had been having babies, I had just been missing them.  I answered the phone and heard Jon's voice, he and Rachel were at a friends house who lived much closer to us and he thought it might be time to come in.  I agreed and they headed our way.  I was happy, I really enjoyed them.  And I was nervous, did they like me? I thought that they might prefer a different midwife.  I also felt silly, like a middle schooler, for even thinking that way.  They arrived and Rachel was indeed in good, strong labor and we settled in to the work.  Jon was loving and Rachel's mother and sisters were present and wonderful.  It was an atmosphere of love.  The birth was beautiful and simple.  A sweet little boy joined this incredibly loving family.  The recovery was uneventful and they prepared to leave.  That is when the magic happened.  As they were walking out to their car, I went to send them off.  Rachel turned to me and gave me the biggest hug.  Not a little, polite, quick formality.  But a deep, long, heartfelt squeeze and I knew that the connection had been there all along.  It was a hug that stayed with me and left a warm, fuzzy in my heart for the rest of the day.