Saturday, December 21, 2013


1. the action of being rescued or set free.
   synonyms: liberation, release, delivery.

It never fails. Glen and I will be on our stroll through the grocery store- toddler in the cart and the 2 middles trailing behind, the 6 year old undoubtably asking if he can get an "example" from the cheese section, and the 8 year old complaining of the mundane boringness that is the grocery store.

As we walk the aisles, me having hot flashes and trying my best to not have a meltdown as I am trying to multitask with maintaining my thought process, have a coherent 'what do you want for dinner?' conversation with the husband and create dialogue with the children as to make this wonderful trip a well-rounded, learning adventure (ee-gads!), we run into a familiar face. Glen smiles and says hello, then looks at me and lets me know (as if I don't already know...), "I delivered her." It is doctor-speak at it's finest.

'I delivered her.' Delivered her? Delivered her of what, exactly? Are you Catholic? (Oh wait, yes you are.) Are you a priest? (I did indeed ask him this once. He rolled his eyes at me.) Delivered the baby? Then what did she, the woman, do? She did indeed deliver her baby, did she not?

Glen acknowledged the point behind my dramatics. He asked what I thought was better verbiage. I said, "How about 'caught'?" He then asked- "What about a cesarean birth? Did I 'catch' that baby?" Ok. Fair enough.

Historically- at least in my own circle of midwives- I have noticed that many midwives use the phrase "caught." With that notion, I have delivered three babies in my life, but have caught many.

That phrase is very midwifery-like. And I like the notion of it- thoughtful, sensitive, acknowledging of the primary source of power and labor-  the woman, not the midwife or doctor.
However, are we really just 'catching?' There has been a once or twice where the birth has been so precipitous that I have indeed been nothing more than loving, anticipating, welcoming hands. I have, quite literally, 'caught.' Mom shows up huffing and puffing- the majority of the hard work behind her- complete and pushing. No time for anything other than to catch a baby.

However, that's not the usual work of a midwife. To say that I do nothing more than 'catch' a baby is demeaning. And it's simply not accurate. I hold two lives under my responsibility and care. Monitoring vitals, heart tones, supporting, simply observing, not acting, but being prepared to act as necessary- should there be the need. THAT is a midwife, and then some. So I suppose my own verbiage of 'catching' is no better than 'delivered.'

Words are indeed powerful, and I am always ever so mindful of this. But whether it be 'catch' or 'deliver,' sometimes there is just no word that will do it full justice, in all respects.

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