Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Hi! Are You the Midwife?"

Before the week began, I thought doing a prenatal Tuesday evening wouldn't be a problem at all. I was taking an extensive course that week to become certified as a lactation specialist, but when a new client called me, I immediately scheduled an appointment. I would be heading out of town soon and time was valuable. But that night when I hit the road I wasn't having as much fun as I thought I would be. My stuffy head hurt, several nights of little sleep were already catching up with me, and on top of all that, snow was falling. What a night to be out! I fought my foggy brain, keeping my eyes on the road, watching for slick patches. I finally saw the sleepy little town that was my destination, and after a few false leads, found the house. My weariness all melted away when I stepped inside and heard a young voice say eagerly, "Hi! Are you the midwife?" I smiled at the grinning 9 year old face in front of me, and answered, "Yes I am!" Bouncing up and down a little, his hands rather clasped in a pleading gesture, he then asked, "Are you here to bring my baby brother??" I had to laugh, and told him I would do the best I could, but that it was rather early yet for baby to come! So started a wonderful evening. I even got hugs from a couple of the children, including the 9yo - "That's for bringing me a brother!" Boy oh boy, but I hope I don't disappoint him!

I left there a few hours later, a smile on my face, shared laughter making my heart happy. As I drove home in the thickly falling snow, I started thinking about how much I love that question..."Are you the midwife?" It brought to mind another time just a week before...

Excited at the thought of a homebirth sometime in the future, a local family had me over for dinner. I'm always just a tad nervous to walk into new homes and new situations, hoping I will meet needs and that we'll be a good fit. This night I walked into a home filled with smiling faces, and three bubbling children just brimming with excitement. Another 9 year old, eager face looks at me and says, "Hi! Are you The Midwife?" Yes, I'm pretty sure she said it in capital letters! I joyfully answered, "Yes, I am!" I walked out of that home with precious memories...the 9yo sitting on the couch doing her embroidery, calmly asking me about the benefits of waterbirth, then deciding that was how SHE was going to have her babies...the delicious meal that my new friend had prepared....the questions and conversations about what I love the most - midwifery and homebirth...and the three year old following me around in the end saying, "Don't leave! Please don't leave! I have to find my socks and go with you!" It makes me smile even now.

It delights me to be known as The Midwife. I can't express how much it humbles me to be allowed into homes, doors flung wide open, welcome arms bidding me entrance. I love getting questioned about my work. Every time somebody says "wow" when I tell a birth story, or recount the number of births I've attended, I realize anew just how blessed I am.

I've walked into near-mansions...and humble log cabins. Homes built into the ground with grass for a roof...and expansive homes holding large numbers of children. Yet no matter where the question is posed, when I hear, "Hi! Are you the midwife?", it gives me joy to answer in the affirmative - "Yes, I am!"