“The First Birth”: A Story from 18 Years Ago

“The First Birth”: A Story from 18 Years Ago

Not the baby featured in this story, but another baby born early on in my training!

From the time I was young (8 years old or so!), I had an interest in midwifery. I’m sure it stemmed from the fact that my mother used midwives for her pregnancies and the births of my five younger siblings, which gave me exposure to this “alternative” type of care. This was back in the day when having babies at home was NOT the popular, photographed and blogged about way to have your baby as it has become today! The midwives that cared for my mother seemed like an extension of our family, and as a young girl growing up, they were certainly some of my heroes that I wanted to become like when I “grew up”.

I think I was about 14 when I seriously felt like midwifery was something I wanted to pursue. Still very young and extremely inexperienced…with no idea what all this profession entails! I had read lots of missionary biographies, and a common experience in most of them included helping in some way (either unexpectedly or because they were prepared!) in childbirth in various countries.  So it seemed to my 14-yr-old mind that this was certainly a skill that would be good to know, and I pictured myself helping women in some far-off jungle or desert clinic someday. As I got older, I continued to feel a major pull towards midwifery that wouldn’t go away.

By the time I was 16, I was convinced this is what I needed to start pursuing. My parents wisely recommend that I begin by doing some reading, and they told me that they thought I should probably try to attend a few births before diving in head-first in a midwifery study program. Their reasoning was that perhaps this was just a passing whim, and why sink all sorts of time, energy and money into something only to find out that I would faint at the sight of blood, or have some other sort of aversion to what all comes with the birth territory. This is no joke. I personally know people who were SURE midwifery was what they wanted to do, but when they faced the nitty gritty, it didn’t take long to realize that it wasn’t their calling after all!

So, the next question was how on earth was I going to get any birth experience in, seeing as I was so young and inexperienced?!? I figured I would have to wait years for the opportunity, though I was reminded that if God wanted it to happen, He could figure out a way. That’s what makes my first birth experience so special-it was completely unexpected!

The summer that I was to turn 17 found me helping several families out on a weekly basis, going in to care for children, clean, cook, or do whatever was needed as a mother’s helper. One family was expecting their fourth child that summer, and they were excitedly planning their first homebirth in our state. Seeing as they had several young children, and that I had been spending a lot of time with them over a number of months, they asked if I would be on call to come and help babysit when the mom went into labor. This was the plan, with a backup plan being set where the children could go to a neighbor family’s home if the mom decided she could relax better without children in the house.

So one hot (Kansas is REALLY hot in July!) day, I got a call that the mom was in early labor, and that they would be glad if I could come care for the children so she could concentrate on resting and relaxing. I went over and made supper, took care of some household things, and entertained the children so mom and dad could focus together. An hour or so after supper, the mom decided that she would prefer the children leave the house, which left me thinking that I should probably go since my job was done. But the mom looked at me and said “I want the children to go, but you are to stay. I don’t want you going anywhere.” I sure wasn’t going to argue with that! She then went on to tell me that she wanted me to rub her back “just so” while her husband finished setting up the birth supplies and called the midwives, which I was more than happy to do. All of a sudden things kicked right in, and I vividly remember both parents bemoaning the fact that they hadn’t studied better on how to catch a baby if the midwife didn’t make it! I was blissfully ignorant, as I was only aware of my own mother’s very long labors, and figured we still had a very long night ahead of us. Little did I know!

I continued my “job” applying back counter-pressure as dad set up birth supplies, sweated nervously as he watched the signs of his wife progressing rapidly, read his childbirth class manual, and gave his wife emotional support. Thankfully, the midwives arrived just as mom started feeling more pressure, and all the last details were quickly set up and ready to go. About half an hour after the midwives arrived, a beautiful, howling, red little boy made his safe and smooth appearance, and I was in awe. I had no idea birth could be this beautiful, and I was so very, very grateful for the amazing opportunity. I was flying pretty high for days after this experience, and as you can imagine, I was totally convinced that this was what I wanted to do.

What is really hard to believe is that this baby will turn 18 this summer…I cannot believe that time has flown, and this many years have passed. After this first birth, I attended random births that I was invited to (word started getting around that I was interested, and some very sweet, very brave women invited me to share in their experiences, for which I will always be grateful!), and eventually began midwifery school when God opened the doors. It’s now been over 10 years since I graduated and started my own practice, and I continue to be thankful for those who initially helped me to start down this path by allowing me to be present at such personal, private life events.  As I continue to reflect back on memories and celebrate 10 years of practice, I want to especially thank each of you moms and midwives who took this very young girl under their wing and gave her experiences that will last a lifetime!

I’m so privileged to be involved in this work of ushering life into the world!

Midwifery and Mom Life: 10 Year Anniversary Interview ~ Part 2

Midwifery and Mom Life: 10 Year Anniversary Interview ~ Part 2

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Interview: 10 Year Anniversary of Gentle Delivery ~ Part 2

Thanks again to each of you who contributed questions for this “virtual interview” as Gentle Delivery celebrates 10 years of practice! I’ve enjoyed this opportunity to connect with various readers, and I’ve loved hearing from so many of you. If you missed the first post, you can check it out here.  Here is installment two as I continue working my way through the questions entered:

How do you manage being a midwife and a mom?

Sometimes I’m not sure that I do! But seriously, it comes down to having a very supportive and involved husband. I could not do it without his help & support, and without him having a flexible job. He works from home, and generally speaking is able to set his own schedule. Without these key factors, I don’t think it would be possible. We both feel strongly that our children need to be our priority, especially while they are in their young, formative years, and Joel’s job situation allows us to almost always have one parent present. If I need to run off to a birth or client emergency, than Joel changes his schedule for the day and takes care of the children, which greatly simplifies my life! I honestly do not know how midwives serve year after year with a busy client load combined with stress of needing to figure out babysitting, especially at the last minute. A few months ago, I was called to cover for another midwife who had two moms in labor at once, and the second mom was moving fast. Without having the ability to just load up the car with my gear and run, I would have missed the birth! But since Joel was working from home (his office in our basement), I was able to be out the door in ten minutes, and he took over managing the children. His work-from-home arrangement also allows me to sleep in after a birth, and he will sweetly get children up, feed them breakfast, and care for things while I get some rest.

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Hot breakfast made by Joel and snuggles with the baby after being gone all night at a birth!

There are also some practical ways we have found that help to maintain balance, as well. As much as I am able to, I schedule appointments during my youngest children’s nap times, and I try to keep appointments confined to one day each week. This way I am limiting the amount of scheduled time I need to spend away from my children, especially since I never know how much unscheduled time I will be away at actual labors/births/emergencies. Another practicality is hiring cleaning help during especially busy months. My husband maintains that if I’m enjoying midwifery work and getting paid for it, then I might as well pay to get some of my other work done, instead of getting exhausted and stressed out! Oftentimes after a birth we will purchase supper (or take the family out) as a way to get some quality family time AND as a way to provide me with some extra time to do paperwork and miscellaneous business projects. I also get help with school, which is HUGE! My school-age children are part of a hybrid model co-op, where the parents help to teach classes, but they also have a classroom teacher who covers the “basics” and stays on top of the school details. If I was homeschooling full-time there would be NO WAY to do midwifery on top of it.

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Each of my children have attended births with me as babies…quite the adventures we’ve shared together!

Balancing midwifery and mom life includes another factor when I have a nursing infant myself. Whenever I interview with potential clients who would be due after I have a baby, I make it clear that if you hire me, you’re also getting my baby.  I always have an assistant or specific helper along who can care for my baby whenever I need to focus all energies on the laboring mom (and who needs a baby crying in the background when they are ready to push?!?), but otherwise I keep my tiny ones close so they can nurse and be with mama as much as possible. Some families are not okay with this arrangement, and that is their choice. I would much prefer they know what to expect ahead of time, and decide if they are comfortable with my boundaries, are there are always other options out there for them to consider!

One more key factor has been working with a midwife who is willing to trade call at times, which provides me with occasional time off to take trips and spend some focused time with my family. Without this arrangement, I would be tied to my phone and location almost 24/7 all year round! But this has allowed me to still spend some quality time making memories with my children, while knowing that clients are cared for, which is a tremendous blessing. While I still try my best to make it to my clients births, it’s also a relief to know that I can go “off call” occasionally for special events such as a school program.

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Twice I’ve caught babies just before delivering my own…one time a week before, and another time two days before!

 Is it realistic to consider being trained as a midwife, and starting your own practice as a midwife, with small children? What advice would you give?

This is a good question that deserves considerable thought. I had the opportunity to do my midwifery training when I was single, which was ideal. In my opinion, training to be a midwife was decidedly more of a time and energy commitment than practicing as a midwife. Here’s the reason why: when you are training, you need LOTS of experience. You need to be able to be completely available to your preceptor midwife, and willing to take advantage of every opportunity you can be part of. The only way to get the experience you need to be a good, safe midwife is by spending an incredible amount of time immersing yourself in pregnancy, birth, postpartum and women’s health. There are a number of midwives who did this training while they were balancing a family, but it is HARD, and you need to be prepared that it will take a long time. As a single young woman, I had the flexibility of time & energy which enabled me to finish my studies and obtain my required clinical experience in about two years. But this included spending 18 months at a birth center where we literally immersed ourselves in the world of birth by living, speaking, and breathing everything birth related. Seriously! I don’t remember a day passing that didn’t include a significant discussion about something to do with an ongoing client situation, lab values, birth stories, complications, etc.  This type of immersion would have been impossible had I been trying to spend time with family, and it certainly sped up the training process.

Now that I am an independent midwife, I can make my own decisions about how many clients to take on in a month, what risks I am comfortable with, what my parameters of practice will be (for instance, when I do prenatal appointments, or what seasons I may not be available for first time moms), and when I want to take personal time off to give my family some breathing space. In most apprenticeships, a supervising midwife counts on a student midwife to be available whenever needed, and the student cannot set these types of parameters and still get the training she needs along with keeping a good preceptor/student relationship. So these factors all need to be considered, and I think there needs to be some serious conversation with your husband and family about whether your family is at a good place to make the sacrifices that training would require. I don’t think one will ever regret spending quality time with her children while they are young, but you might regret not spending that time later on!

I would encourage any young mom interested in midwifery to read as much as you can, as learning more about your body and about the birth process is going to be beneficial no matter what. There are excellent books out there that can lay a great foundation of knowledge about how the pregnancy and birth process works. Watch videos & documentaries, read birth stories, connect with other moms and learn about their birth experiences. Look for opportunities to get involved on a small scale. Perhaps you’d be able to provide doula services for a friend, which would give you and your family the opportunity to experience what it is like to live an “on call” lifestyle (ready for mom to leave at any time day or night!), seeing how it works to have mom leave and how to figure out babysitting fast. This would give you a chance to see what this aspect of being involved in birth can be like. I don’t think any birth experience is wasted time, especially if you’re hoping to be a midwife, so slowly looking for opportunities and taking advantage of them as doors open can help as you consider further commitment. Always remember that if God wants to be a midwife, He will make a way for you…but in His timing, and in a way that it will be a blessing to your family. Be patient, pursue the small opportunities as they arise, and see how He directs as time goes on…one older midwife told me once that “women will always be having babies, but you won’t always have young children, so make sure you don’t regret not enjoying them while you have them.” Excellent advice!

I’d also recommend that any aspiring midwife read A Midwife in Amish Country, as Kim does an excellent job of detailing her experience training to become a midwife as a homeschooling mom of young children, relating her experiences and lessons along the way.

How many births do you take on, and why that many?

This really ties in with the whole mom/midwife balance topic, as this is another way we try to walk this line. As a general rule, I cap a month with two due clients. Occasionally I will take on a third, if my family is at a stage where this is more possible, and if I have a slower month before or after. As a mom approaches her due date, her prenatal visits need to take place more frequently, resulting in more mamas needing to be seen each week. Then you factor in a home visit (an additional afternoon besides my usual appointment day), the birth (for anywhere from 3-30 hours), birth paperwork, another visit to their home for a postpartum check, and the frequent contact via phone/text/email that takes place over this time, doing this more than twice a month in additional to caring for other moms is about what I can do and still enjoy my work. Here again, if I didn’t have young children, and all the unexpected things that factor into life as you care for little people, it would be much easier to add more clients due in a month. But I want to enjoy both my own children and the opportunity to do births, and this number seems to be working well for this stage in life!IMG_0031

Thanks for taking the time to read this second installment in this interview series! If you’d like to contribute a question for a future post, feel free to add it in the comments below. As always, thanks for sharing, and feel free to check out Part One if you haven’t read it yet. See you next month!

News & Updates from Gentle Delivery!

News & Updates from Gentle Delivery!

There have been lots of things happening around here this spring, and I thought it would be good to give you all some updates on exciting new developments at Gentle Delivery Childbirth Services. Here’s a brief summary of assorted news items…take a minute to check out what is going on!

  • Addition of Pulse Oximetry Screenings for Critical Congenital Heart Defects (CCHD):

My new Pulse Oximeter just arrived in the mail last week, and I’m excited to be offering at-home CCHD screenings in keeping with PA legislation. These screenings have been mandatory in hospitals since Act 94 was passed in 2014, and this year midwives are being asked to join in reporting these screening results. This is a simple, non-invasive test that I will perform at the home postpartum visit within 24-48 hrs of your baby’s birth. To find out more about the testing, click here.

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Matthias helping me try out the new pulse oximeter!

  • New Apprentice for 2016!

As some of you know, I’ve been working on confirming a regular assistant/student, and I’m glad to be able to introduce you to Lynelle Martin. You can find out more about her by clicking on the “Current Assistants/Students” page, and those of you with babies due this year will be meeting her as she helps out with prenatals once a month and attends home visits.  She recently finished her Neonatal Resuscitation Certification, giving clients the added benefit of two CPR and NRP certified attendants at births.

  • Midwifery Today Conference:

I’m looking forward to writing up a more detailed report about some of the things I learned as I attended a day of the Midwifery Today Conference in Harrisburg, Pa. I enjoyed lively conversation with Lynelle and Rose Marie (another midwife I want to introduce you all to at a later time!) on the drive down, and was encouraged as I visited with many other midwives from all over the country-including Kathy, the midwife who delivered several of my siblings and was instrumental in getting me started in this field. Midwifery conferences tend to attract an extremely diverse group of midwives (ranging from Amish to Hippie and everything in-between!), and there are so many things to learn from each one. The added benefit is more CEU’s that I am required to get each year in order to keep my certification.

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Lynelle, Myself and Rose Marie after a long day at the conference!

  • YourWaterBirth.com Account Set Up:

I now have an account with Your Water Birth, a business offering affordable waterbirth and homebirth supplies, and if you are a client you can contact me for a code that will give you a 10% discount on your order! While there is a very affordable option in State College for those wishing to rent a birth pool, this company offers a great deal for those wishing to purchase their own pool and supplies. Check them out!

  • Travel Dates for Winter 2017

Just giving you all a heads up that my family will be taking a 3 week trip to the Midwest from Jan-Feb 2017 in order for my husband to teach at a Bible School for young people. We’re excited about the opportunity, and I will be glad to give you referral information if you are looking for a midwife over that time. For those who like to plan ahead, here’s your chance! <smile>

  • Advertising Cards Available:

I recently printed up some post-card sized advertising cards that contain contact information, a testimonial and information about the CPM certification. These will be on display at the area kids’ consignment sale at the end of April, but if you would like some yourself to pass out to friends, family and/or local home-birth-supportive businesses, I’d be happy to provide you with a stack!

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  • New Babies:

And lastly, no update is complete without a few pictures of sweet spring babies! Blessings as you enjoy the lovely spring weather that is here at last!

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Nothing like a peaceful newborn!

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so sweet and tiny

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Ready to call it a night and tuck everyone into bed!

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are considering a home birth, perhaps the following are questions you have wondered about. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any specific questions…I’d love to help you in any way I can! Please note, these questions and answers pertain specifically to my practice here at Gentle Delivery Childbirth Services, and may not apply to other midwives and practices.

Q. At what point in my pregnancy should I contact you?
A. You are welcome to contact me at any time-with preconception questions or as soon as you find out your pregnant. A free no-obligation consultation where you can ask questions and see my office can occur at any point, but I typically schedule your first actual appointment once you are between 10-12 weeks along, as that allows the baby to be mature enough to hear the heartbeat. The earlier you are in touch, the greater chance I will have an opening over the time you are due, though it’s never too late to talk with me about your options, either…we can begin care late in the pregnancy when necessary, too!

Q. What does a normal prenatal look like, and where does it take place?
A. Prenatal appointments normally take place in my home office, usually on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, although other times are possible. I generally expect to take anywhere from 30 min. to an hour, with the goal being able to spend enough time to answer any questions or concerns a couple might have, as well as including education regarding exercise, nutrition, positioning, childbirth, etc. At each visit a urine sample is checked, weight is recorded, BP is taken, and baby is listened to, measured, and palpated to see his or her position. Other testing and/or procedures will be performed as needed. The normal schedule for visits is every month until 28 weeks, followed by bi-weekly appointments until 36 weeks, and weekly visits thereafter. A home visit is performed at 36 weeks, in order to give myself and any other birth attendants a chance to see your location in normal daylight hours! 

Q. Do I need to see a doctor besides seeing you for prenatal care?
A. That honestly depends upon your personal preferences. The prenatal care I give would be similar to what you would receive from a doctor, including labs and referrals for things like sonograms. Most of my clients do not see a doctor while receiving care from me, as it keeps costs down and keeps them from multiple prenatal care visits. If your OB office is open to co-care, it can provide you with a seamless transition in case of transport, especially if it is covered by your insurance provider. If care with an OB is covered in full by your insurance provider, you may benefit from continuing care with them in order to have the costs for your labwork and other testing covered completely.

Q. Will my insurance cover your services, or how can I afford it?
A. Sadly, many insurance companies do not cover home midwifery care, though it is always worth checking into thoroughly. I would be happy to provide you with some information on how to best discuss this with your insurance company, and I am also willing to give you a written statement complete with insurance codes to submit to your insurance company. In order to keep my own costs down, I do not file insurance, but I do try to make care accessible to all families by charging a sliding scale fee based upon your family’s income. Keep in mind, too, that when using insurance, you will have a co-pay, and for some people the cost of my services are either similar or lower than the co-pay amount you would be paying with a hospital delivery.

Q. I notice you have a student working with you. How does that influence my care?
A. When a student is interning for midwifery training, their level of involvement varies according to where they are at in their studies. A student midwife begins by observing all aspects of midwifery care, and applying the academic knowledge she has already received to practical, hands-on situations. As her experience expands, so do her opportunities-she assumes more responsibility depending upon her level of experience and skill. Students are always grateful for any opportunity afforded them to learn, and would love to be as involved with your care as you feel comfortable with. I always strive to make sure the client feels completely comfortable with any care provided by a student, whether that is allowing the student to feel for baby’s position and fundal measurement, or whether it is as extensive as allowing the student to participate in a high level of care during delivery. Whether you prefer lots of involvement or minimal involvement, a student generally acts as my birth assistant during the actual labor and delivery, helping to provide labor support, take notes, and in general act as my second set of hands. 

Q. Who will attend my birth? Is is okay to invite others to be present in addition to the birth team?
A. Normally I attend births with one or two qualified assistants. These ladies are usually either skilled students or birth attendants, and enable me to know you are getting the best care possible, allowing both baby and mom to be cared for in case of emergency. Besides this, whomever else you choose to have present at your birth is up to you. I’ve been at births where it was the bare minimum of people, and I’ve been to births where there was a crowd! The main issue is that you feel totally and completely at ease and comfortable with whomever is present, as that can majorly impact your experience.

Q. Are children welcome to attend the birth?
A. It’s your birth, so you get to decide if you want your children present or not! If you are planning on having your children attending, I strongly recommend you having an extra person handy whose sole responsibility is caring for your child(ren) so that you can focus on the delivery.

Q. Do you do waterbirths?
A. Yes! Laboring and delivering in the water are both options. For many people, their home tub is comfortable enough, but if you’re wanting to use an actual “birth pool”, I can put you in touch with rental possibilities.

Q. I had a cesarean with my previous delivery, does that rule out a home birth?
A. I am happy to help women VBAC whenever possible. For most women, a VBAC at home is statistically safer than a repeat c-section. Make sure you get a copy of your previous medical records, and we can discuss your particular situation in person in more detail.

Q. What birth positions are options at home?
A. There are about as many options as there are women!  One benefit to delivering at home is the flexibility to figure out what works the best for you…whether that is squatting, laying in bed, standing in the shower, or wherever you are the most comfortable. I have a traditional “birth stool” that I bring along to births which gives you the option of a low squat, but most women instinctively find a position that works the best for them.

Q. Are you prepared for possible emergencies?
A. Yes. I maintain current certification in both neonatal resuscitation and CPR, bringing along emergency equipment in case of a baby with breathing difficulties. I also carry equipment to assist with stabilizing a mom in the rare case of hemorrhage. It’s my goal to make your home birth experience as safe as possible, which includes careful monitoring of both baby and mom during and after labor, so as to catch any concern that is out of the scope of “normal”. Consistent prenatal care combined with healthy, low risk moms lowers the chance of emergency procedures drastically, but your birth team stays alert for any signs of possible surprises. We can discuss this question in more detail during your consultation if you wish.

Q. So, laboring at home sounds nice, but what about the mess that comes along with birth?
A. Most people are surprised at how little mess is involved. I have families purchase disposable underpads (available at most drugstores) and a cheap shower curtain, which we use to protect surfaces such as the bed and carpet for the actual birth. These things get thrown away afterwards, and myself or my assistant will start laundry before we leave your home. We also make sure to tidy things up so that you aren’t left with clean up!

Q. How do I go about getting documentation for my child?
A. I will file all needed paperwork with the state, which includes the official birth certificate and request for a social security number. I also perform the newborn screening test on your baby during the home visit which occurs 24-48 hours after birth.

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Sweet baby feet as baby is being weighed during the newborn exam!

 

Remembering seven years ago…a thank you to many of you!

Remembering seven years ago…a thank you to many of you!

I had to stop today and remember what happened on this date seven years ago…it’s actually hard to believe it’s been that long! I’m sure the fact that it’s also one of my grandmother’s birthdays helps to remind me of the actual date, but it’s fun to take some time and think about and remember some of the dear people that played such an important role in the midwifery aspect of my life. It was on October 16 in 2007 that I had the great privilege and wonder of “catching” my first baby…

As a student midwife, I had been eagerly anticipating when this time would come. By that point, I had finished almost one year of the academic work required to complete my training, and I had been working, living and training at Family Birth Services, a birth center/training center since the end of May of that year. Living at FBS was like studying midwifery by immersion…that was seriously most of what you did all the time…live, talk, think, dream and study birth, babies and mothers. Since my arrival at the birth center about 5 months before this, I had spent many hours sitting in prenatal appointments, talking with other midwives, attending births in a variety of settings, and trying to take in everything I possibly could.

Family Birth Services was a wonderful setup for aspiring midwives. Besides being staffed by a lovely group of ladies (who didn’t mind questions and discussions going on into the wee hours of the night!), those of us who were students were offered the opportunity to truly get our hands into the work as the birth center offered discounted rates for those families who chose to have a student provide them with care. When I think back to the families I had the joy of working with (many of whom still stay in touch today!), it makes me incredibly grateful for the investment they made in my training. Getting the opportunity to learn how to care for mothers and babies while assuming a major portion of responsibility is one of the best ways to learn! And I’m grateful, too, for the midwives who tirelessly gave of themselves to supervise and ensure that the clients were still receiving safe, quality care while allowing the student to provide as much care as they were capable of.

So, come October, I was feeling mixed emotions about when I would get to play the primary role in my first client’s birth. At this point, I had already had two primary care clients who had already delivered…one who went preterm, and another who ended up delivering while I was gone at a required midwifery training workshop. I should back up here, too, and note that while I had been assisting with other births, each of us students especially savored the relationship we had with our “own” primary care clients-these were the ladies we were providing care to under supervision, and whose births we were the most involved with. Due to the fact that I had some ability to communicate in Spanish, I was give the opportunity to take on my own primary care clients earlier than most students, as there were no other students available at that time who were able to offer Spanish speaking care. My dear Spanish-speaking supervising midwife, Sorani, had her hands full as she not only worked to help me communicate with clients, but also worked to make sure I was covering all the details needed especially since I was so early in my clinical training.

Given the fact that my two previous clients had not turned out the way I was hoping, I was beginning to wonder what might possibly happen with my third client. Sorani patiently encouraged me to trust the Lord with the timing and outcome, and relax while we waited for this baby who was taking her own good time to come. I still remember getting the call on my phone in the wee hours of the morning, and thinking that here was my time to put into practice the things I had been learning! Things seemed to be progressing well, and since this birth was planned to take place at the birth center, my client decided to come on in.

I’ll never forget the thrill that went through me when, just about 2 hours later, I helped this beautiful little girl enter the world during a lovely picture-perfect birth. While the difficult births would take place later, this first one was beautiful…totally breathtaking to me as a new midwife, and thrilling as I realized again how much I was drawn to the birthing process and how fulfilling this work was-even at 4 in the morning! 🙂 I’m sure Sorani (who was supervising) and Peggy (the other student assisting) won’t forget how they had to pull me down to earth and remind me that I really should eat something before my blood sugar crashed due to the high I was on! 🙂 We had a special celebration with hugs and ice cream in the kitchen early that morning, and I was reassured that this was indeed the work that I thoroughly enjoyed doing.

While there have been lots of other experiences in the years since, this birth still stays clear in my mind. And on this day when I remember this particular birthdate, I also want to thank all of those who invested in my training…the families who allowed me to be a part of their birth experiences, the midwives who allowed me to be part of their practices, those who spent hours teaching/instructing/coaching me, the other students who I trained alongside of, and the Lord who opened the doors and allowed me to be involved in the beautiful & intense work of assisting new lives into the world. Thank you!

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Baby L just a few hours after birth…dressed and ready to go home!