This life–the Life of a Midwife demands our attention, respect, joy, sacrifice and commitment. Midwives must remain vigilant and open to all the experiences that this path presents us.
The phone rang, I am hopeful that it is a client in labor. It has been a couple weeks since I was able to catch a baby, and I feel the urge tickling in my fingers.
I can tell instantly from her voice that this is not the reason for her call. She is early in her pregnancy and experiencing spotting, she is nervous and concerned. We talk. I offer her reassurance and comfort; based on her symptoms this could be nothing or it could be everything. After our discussion, we hang up the phone with plans for her to call me with any needs or changes in her symptoms.
Mere moments later, the phone rings again. This time it is a client in labor. Her partner is the caller and I can hear her in the background working with her labor. We talk. It is still a little early in the process, so I offer reassurance and comfort. We review labor patterns, I encourage good hydration, eating a light meal and movement. We hang up the phone with plans for them to touch bases with me soon.
Another call, the earlier client. Her bleeding has increased, she is crying, she has questions. We talk. I offer her comfort and a shoulder to cry on; I tell her that now her symptoms are likely a miscarriage happening. Based on those symptoms and the timing of her pregnancy, I recommend that she go the hospital for an evaluation, she agrees.
A short while later and the phone is ringing again. The laboring client is ready to come in. When they arrive, she is beautiful, alight in that sweaty glow of labor. She and her partner are working together in such a sweet way. She progresses well and has a sublime waterbirth to welcome her babe Earthside. It is a birth that feeds the soul of the world. They are then snuggled up in bed, safe and warm.
A final call, the other sweet client is now home from the hospital. She has indeed lost her baby, she is heartbroken. We talk, mostly I listen. There are no magic words for these experiences, the only healing is through time. Having someone to listen and simply be present is the support I can give. We then schedule an appointment for her to come in, so we can give her more love and help her through this process.
This is the life of a midwife…..
Image credit Aubre Tompkins, CNM