I had an unusual midwife moment yesterday. My cat, Skittles, was getting bigger and bigger "with kitten" - sometimes she looked like she was about to pop! I was watchful, wondering when and where she would birth, really hoping to be there when it happened, as even 1st-time kitty mamas can act a bit inexperienced and confused. Every time she looked at me and cried at me, I was quickly checking her belly for contractions...usually all the poor thing wanted was attention and food! It got a little comical, to say the least.
I came home yesterday to a skinny cat. You knew that was coming, right? I quickly went searching for her babies, thankful to discover that she had chosen my closet where I could easily get to them. Surprised to only find two kittens, I went searching further, and found four more bunched together.
Then my heart stopped. Tangled in the live, warm kitties was a poor little cold, wet one that had apparently suffocated. I cradled it in my hand while I got the other ones situated with mom. I took the dead kitten away to figure out how to take care of it, struggling to keep my emotions at bay.
Then the midwife in me kicked in, and I cried, sitting right there on the kitchen floor. I apologized to the poor baby for not being there and saving it. Said I was sorry that it suffered and that I wasn't there to help. I felt silly, yet heartbroken all at the same time. I am a guardian of life, and death happened on my own threshold.
As midwives, it is our very nature to comfort the hurting...cry with the weary...and guard that precious spark of life with every fiber of our being. Yet sometimes things happen that are far out of our control. We are not responsible for every one of life's tragedies. To think that puts us on a level with the supreme Creator, who is in control of every facet of life and death.
So I mourn a little, thank the kind friend who took the kitten away to bury it, take a deep breath, and turn my attention to the living. After all, there's a tiny one that needs a midwife's tender loving care, and that's surely what it will get.