Years ago, I started this blog, to share my experiences and thoughts. I craved the stories and company of other midwives and hoped that my words might help to support other new midwives who may follow behind me. This piece recalls my first time Up To Bat, the first time I was on my own, the Midwife. Please join me in looking back and remembering these first steps of mine.
As a child, I was fostered in the heartland, the Midwest of the country. Small town life can be glorious for a child; we were free range kids, riding our bikes, climbing trees and generally running wild. In the summer, I rarely wore shoes. In the winter, we went sledding and made snow forts. Everyone knew everyone, for better or for worse.
I came from a family of athletes; my father, my aunts and uncle and my cousins. I remember admiring all of the medals and trophies that my cousins were able to earn and display. I would stare at the collections and feel that green twinge of jealousy around the edges. I often felt like I did not fit into this family tradition; I was the only one who did not excel in this pursuit. I was more reserved and quiet. I was a champion reader, nose in a book kind of girl.
I was on a softball team in grade school. In my head, I wanted to be great at it. In reality that was not the case. Not that I was awful, just not great, and in my heart of hearts, I didn’t enjoy it. Every time I was up to bat or in the outfield, I was terrified. As I got older and tried to find my sports niche through volleyball, basketball, etc. I would hear other people talk about a calm that they felt when they were “up to bat”. A quiet that would descend upon their brain and allow the world to melt away, creating an exquisite focus. I never experienced this when “up to bat”, on the contrary, I would be overwhelmed with worries and pressure. Eventually, I was able to accept that I was not an athlete and be happy with my other strengths, but I always wondered about that exquisite focus. I had yet to be touched by that type of magic.
Then I was on call by myself for the first time. My phone rang and a client was in labor. I rushed to the birth center. I must admit that my nerves got away from me. I was literally pacing and going over the cardinal movements of birth in my head. Circling around the birth center with my eyes partially closed, hands in front of me preforming the hand maneuvers for birth. I am sure that from the outside, I resembled a crazy person. I may have even been mumbling to myself. I set up the room that the client wanted and double checked; ok triple checked all of the equipment. After that, more pacing and running through drills in my head. Then, the family arrived at the birth center and suddenly the world melted away, my brain was calm, my breath was deep and I felt it, the exquisite focus. It was a transformative moment for me and I knew this would be wonderful, I had found my niche, my space in the universe. I was the midwife, not the student midwife, not the orienting midwife but the midwife. The family and babe were glorious and in a sense, that night they helped to birth a midwife as well. The responsibility was all mine and even though it felt heavy, it was bearable and I felt confident in my abilities. All the years of study, struggle, sacrifice and dedication had been worth it. I was here at the side of this woman and this babe and my soul felt secure and serene. I was up to bat; the focus was exquisite and I am a midwife.
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