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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


jjcups said...

What a great example of working through your 'stuff'...right on girl!

It is very true that you will attract to you what you think most about. So, I encouage you to think & visualize how you would like your first catch to be...gentle, empowering for all involved & sweet. This is how I will imagine it for you.

Please post about your actual experience.

Sunshine said...

Thank you for the encouragement! I will think the same for you and Greg!

Lesa (off the midwifery today boards) said...

this is very inspiring, sunshine -- i can only imagine the anticipation and excitement you must feel, and i have to say it sounds like you're so grounded that there's no way you won't be great!

can't wait to read about the actual event. good energy to you, lady!

Navelgazing Midwife said...

I encourage you to remain open to what the Universe has in mind for you - not what YOU want for you. Your wants and needs are secondary in this grand picture, don't you think... or maybe even tertiary next to the mother and baby's? I encourage your just remaining open to the world... eyes, ears and hands open, ready and waiting.

BE. That's what a midwife is. Ready.


Sunshine said...

Oh yes Barb, you hit the nail on the head. I apparently need to keep hearing this because it keeps coming up for me in many different voices. Thank you