When I was having my first baby, at the age of 19, I read voraciously. I was consumed with my desire to do everything right for my baby. I had read about homebirth and midwifery, and I thought that was what I wanted. But after researching every avenue available to me (I even asked my doctor, LOL) I resigned myself to the fact that it was not an option for me in Prescott AZ in 1974. As was typical for me at the time, I just went with the flow and did what I could to have the best birth possible and focused on the positives. I had a naturall birth, which was pretty rare around here at that time. The doctor was new and she was supportive. She even allowed my husband to stay in the delivery room, although she was reprimanded for that. I had a nice labor-- 5 hours from start to finish, and the most beautifull baby ever born. I was very receptive to those love hormones, and I was sure that my child was the Christ child in female form. Nevermind the barbaric set up and procedures in the hospital at that time. I was proud of the way in which I had birthed my baby, and thrilled with my baby. My life was good.
During my second pregnancy, I became acquainted with neighbors who had all unassisted homebirths. I was asked to come babysit when their teenaged daughter gave birth, but instead I was the only one in the room with her, supporting her as she birthed her own baby.
That was such an amazing and powerful experience. She had such a long difficult labor, but she never questioned her own ability. When the baby was born, she called down to her mom to bring the placenta pail and a tub of warm water for the baby's first bath. She got up and sat on the pail and delivered her own placenta, then bathed and dressed her newborn little girl. She was evey bit as in love with her baby as I had been with mine. But no one was hovering over her as if she might harm her baby, make horrible parenting decisions, or interfere with her bond or breastfeeding.
I knew that I not only wanted births like that for my own children, I knew that I wanted that type of experience to be available to all moms in our community. The only difference was that I wanted assurance that everything was healthy and normal. I, too, have faith in God, but I believe that God has given us wisdom, that when used appropriately, provides for safety and
an empowering experience.
Up until the time that I went into labor with my son, my husband and were still undecided on what we would do. There was no midwife available, and we had talked about doing it ouselves. But we were at my parents' home in a snow storm and couldn't get home. We were unprepared. We went to the hospital and I gave birth 45 minutes after my first contraction. I have to say that at that time, this was new to us and we just weren't quite ready for a homebirth.
This time I had a different doctor. I don't like birth horror stories, so I'll pass on this opportunity to tell mine. Suffice it to say that on january first of 1977 I gave birth to another perfect child. A rolly-poly baby boy with thick black hair. I was in bliss.
A had not released any plans to mke better birthing an option. Within weeks, doors began to open for me that reaffirmed that midwifery would be my calling. I met a midwife and began assisting her. I met other students from near-by towns and we began studying together. A midwifery school opened in Tucson and with the help of my parents and husband, I enrolled. I got licensed. I've been attending homebirths since 1977, in one capacity or another :)
I have had 2 wonderful homebirths since then, and now, 10 grandchildren, most of them born at home.
My family has always been my life's blood. I'm passionate about family. But midwifery is my life's blood as well. I love feeling a part of the female experience. We are a sisterhood; at any time a woman is laboring, there are other women in other parts of our planet bringing in new life. That's a powerful and amazing connection. And we are also connected to the generations of women who have birthed before us.
I love being able to see a couple becoming a family. I love working with women and their partners during that process. Seeing a small family becoming a bigger family.
More than anything, I love seeing a woman connecting to her power, using her own intuition and wisdom, and her vulnerability, to birth her own baby. One woman said to me that when she got up the day after she gave birth, she stood in front of the mirror and looked into her own eyes. She was amazed to see a different woman than the one who had looked back at her the day before. I believe that every woman is changed for the better by becoming a mother.
Many women are so moved and changed by their own birth stories that they feel drawn to serve others by doing birth work. I love my work and am so blessed to do it. But if you take on this life, know - it's a life, not a career. And it seems at times that it can be a path with a bit of blood, sweat, and tears mingled with the joy and awe.
I am humbled by the women I serve, and full of gratitude for the families that invite me to share in their lives.