Wednesday, August 29, 2012

*I* am a midwife

I began my journey into birth work with my own personal journey into motherhood- the birth of my first baby. I emerged from the experience as a mother- the repeated cliche of false assurance of a 'healthy mom and healthy baby' that I oh so cringe when I hear-  but with little feelings of positivity and empowerment. I took a look back at the events and my experience as a whole and realized that I had not been an educated, active participant in the birth of my baby and the birth of myself as a mother. I thought to myself, “That was not the way it could have been or SHOULD have been. There has to be a better way!” I vowed that I would do things differently the next time around.
In seeking my own knowledge and wanting to pass it on to support other women, I became a Childbirth Educator and Doula. I went on to have my second baby- an unrestricted, unmedicated, empowering birth within a hospital. Wanting to have a larger scope of support and care, I went on to complete an intensive 2 1/2 year apprenticeship at a busy freestanding birth center, Mat-Su Midwifery- under the guidance and wisdom of some of the best midwives. During the time of my intensive training, so much life happened...settling into life in Alaska- a place I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever live, the pregnancy and birth of my 3rd baby- born into the water, in the comfort and safety of my home- and so much knowledge, experience, and insight gained from the countless births I was a part of.
Today I found out that I passed the NARM exam. I am now a midwife. All of the sadness I had felt before about the end of my training has now been replaced by pure excitement and happiness, and some relief that my training is behind me. I know, of course, that my training and learning will never end, for as long as I am working and serving women and families...but it will be different now. Good different.
I have been doing birth work for over 6 years now- either as a Childbirth Educator, Doula, or Apprentice Midwife. I have been a part of so many pregnancies- so many births- so many lives. Most of the births I have been a part of, I can remember with clarity, better than my own births. Cumulatively, they have been just as profound as my own births.
So I want to say thank you for the many ladies I still have contact with... Thank you for allowing me to play a role in your story. For trusting me and confiding in me, for learning from me but also simultaneously teaching me. With every pregnancy or every birth I have attended, I have walked away as a better teacher, supporter, or midwife. You have claim to the midwife I am and will continue to grow into and I hope you realize the importance of that.
So with that said...
Love to all,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Goodbye, Apprentice

I expected my feelings to be different from what they are. I walked away today, and had the feeling as though I was walking away from life as I knew it...I had, and still have, this feeling of unknown and excitement...apprehension...uneasiness...nervousness...gratefulness, and yet more unknown, inside my heart and inside my mind. I began my apprenticeship journey the same way I suppose- tangled inside all of those emotions and not knowing what I was getting myself into and what the future held. For the past two and half years I have been emerged inside two worlds- midwifery and obstetrics- straddling them, juggling them, and taking from each whatever experience and knowledge I could, and trying to put together the pieces to make up a better whole within me. I have seen birth by candlelight, silent except for the soft breath of the laboring woman, and the sight of her reaching down- unscathed, untouched, unbothered and uninterrupted, to birth and catch her baby with her own hands- as well as highly-intervened birth ending in cesarean section. I have seen shoulder dystocias, hemorrhages, and neonatal resuscitations, as well as calm and normalcy, peace and beauty. I have caught first babies and I have caught 10th babies. There was nothing lacking.

I should be happy and relieved that my apprenticeship is over. I look back at the past 2 and a half years and most of it is a blur. With the experience and gained knowledge came huge personal and family sacrifices. But for some reason I am not feeling happiness, nor relief. I'm standing here looking back at a time that was monumental for me, seeing that the door has gradually been closing and the dynamics shifting. I am wondering what comes next...and how and why and when. The flavor of change seems to be bittersweet. Sadness for the termination of what once was, and excitement of what is coming.

I am so, so grateful for the midwife who gave me a chance. She didn't have to, and I have always known that and respected that. I've learned through the eyes of my own training and the training of others that to have an apprentice is no easy feat. With it comes self-limitation, self-sacrifice, and the burden of the weight of true patience. I am grateful for the patience and the service and the dedication that each midwife has given in passing on their knowledge and experiences to me.

And to my husband- the epitome of what an Obstetrician should be- Thank you...for being you, for sharing your knowledge with me, for learning along with me, and for allowing me to share my knowledge with you and actually valuing it and applying it within your own practice and how you care for women and birth. We have so much to learn and share with each other...and so much to give to the world. We are truly Integrated.

The NARM exam awaits me in 6 days. Here's to the future.