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Thursday, October 05, 2006
Born in the Caul
Before I entered this program I had a pretty clear picture of who I wanted to be as a midwife. It is evolving, this idea, changing so quickly. I have seen some amazing things these past weeks, some things that downright scare me as well. I feel very human and very vulnerable right now and I can't quite pinpoint the anxiety source, it comes from many places of insecurity.
Tomorrow morning I am back on shift, I am first up to catch, it will be my 1st catch and I want it to be gentle. Is that too much to ask? I am trying to focus on what I would like to experience, instead of what I don't want to experience as I know if I focus on what could go wrong. If I focus on what I don't want I am liable to end up with just that.
The very 1st catch in our group of students was a lovely gentle birth of a baby the day before yesterday. It was born in the caul. Could that be a better sign? Being born in the caul is supposed to be good luck. I imagine the baby blinking its eyes, still present in its aquatic world, cushioned from bright lights and loud voices by fluid, gently the midwife made a hole in the bag at the chin and pulled the delicate membrane up and over its head. It takes its first breath gently. I have yet to see a baby born in an intact amniotic sac, I would have liked to have been there.
I would like a little of this, a little good luck, a gentle birth into midwifery. This feels like a big deal you know, but in some ways it isn't, it is just one part of all of this process. One tiny part. Being a midwife is so much more than supporting a perineum. I make a joke frequently that catching a baby isn't difficult. Really-babies come out without midwives all over the world(and without any other health professional). Just make sure the baby doesn't fall to the ground, that is all it should be. I feel like there shouldn't be a need for glory, a woman should never say "I couldn't have done this without you." Yes she could have and she would have.
As I write I am identifying my anxiety. A long time ago I made a pledge that I would be a vessel for the strength of women, nothing else. A vessel is a place to hold something temporarily, it really gets no glory. I am ashamed that I am seeing this 1st catch as a time to prove myself. There are many people watching me as I unfold in this new role. What I really want for this time is to be alone with it. I don't want anyone watching or evaluating. I don't want it to be about me and my abilities. I want it to be about the family, the woman, the baby, the dad if he is there, the grandmother, the aunt, whoever is in the room. I want to trust that all would have unfolded normally had I not been there.
Mll doesn't operate this way, I will have someone whispering over my shoulder about where to put my hands and what to say as the baby comes. It is a paradigm that is not wrong, just different, and so I have to shift a little in my expectations. I feel that my expectations should be that there are no expectations, and so I will go with the flow wether that flow is a transfer to the hospital, a baby born in the caul, a precipitious birth, a long labor. Whatever it is, it just is and there is no changing that, no forming it to my needs. The only thing I can be is present.
How is that for waxing philisophical. I feel better