February 2, 2018
Walk with me into my past, my very first homebirth observe, and understand the process I started to become the midwife I am, able to serve you today! (edited to remove any identifiers)
(the year was 2011)
… I think I pegged very well where she was in her labor, except I could not figure out when transition happened. Maybe it happened before we went back upstairs! The mom was amazing. She moved her body very ably to move the baby past the internal stations. She changed position spontaneously and seemed to take a more upright position when it was time to move her into position for crowning.
I learned that a mom has a LOT of say in how her labor goes. This mom had prepared a birth plan which was formatted clearly. She had to relax into the labor because her mother was not there. She had preferences, and had strongly hoped not to tear, but when (2nd degree?) tearing did occur, she seemed OK with it. I hope she is not disappointed later that she did tear—she should heal fine and it was superficial. [From an experience midwife perspective, this was not a 2nd degree tear based on the description, most end up like this or even less]. She breathed the baby through the crowning contractions! /Amazing. And she showed that a mom can birth quietly if she needs to/wants to (didn’t want to wake the kids).
The mom clearly stated her needs in labor (everyone go out and come back in a while to check on things); I’m glad. I also learned that I am going to be shy at first to go into someone’s bedroom. It is going to take me a while to walk confidently into her space—I am still processing how I want to “be wallpaper” and still be a safe midwife. But there was a lot of quiet sitting and noting what was going on… I tend to stand around awkwardly when I’m not sure what to do. As I get more comfortable with the birth assistant role, I anticipate that I will get a better idea, and spend less time standing around looking confused.
Midwives are like flight attendants—trained in safety techniques that they hope never to have to use; but anticipate a safe flight most of the time and therefore can use their time to dispense drinks and nutritious snacks, help with the logistics of getting comfortable and keep track of what is going on so the traveller doesn’t have to.
I cried a lot. I was again (and again, and again) touched by the power that women have when they will touch it in themselves. The mom was amazing. Really. I think she’s a better birther than I am.
I wonder if (culturally) we women aren’t giving up our birthright for a mess of pottage. The inner wisdom that can come through easing our bodies through their births is not able to be gotten any other way. It is an ultimate act of love—giving of life….
Thanks for learning about this midwife!