Monday, October 13, 2014

I want you to know...


I want you to know that your midwife cries for you, hurts with you, and although she doesn't Know the magnitude of your pain, she worries, she stays up late in the night, she holds your head and prays you though each contraction. 

I want you to know that your midwife loves to tell you to see if you can feel your baby's head, and smiles when you do, knowing you'll always remember you touched him first. 

I want you to know your midwife steps back, becomes silent, and basks in the moment as your baby takes it's first breath and cries loudly in the night. 

I want you to know that your midwife thinks about you while she's having her breakfast, wondering if you are getting enough protein. She thinks about you when she's running up The Hill, or doing burpees, or push ups in bootcamp and wants to quit, but because she remembers that you just pushed out a nearly 10lb baby after a 24 hr labor, she charges up that hill one more time. 

I want you to know your midwife loves receiving Christmas cards and texts with pictures of your beautiful family. 

I want you to know your midwife rejoices with you when the ultrasound says it's a boy! It's a girl! It's twins! And when the ultrasound comes up empty and the bleeding starts, she wonders how she will ever say the right words. 

I want you to know when your baby flips, or your labor is long, or heart tones become non-reassuring and it's time to transport, your midwife puts on her brave face and tries to pave the way for a smooth transition of care, so that you can be treated with respect. 

I want you to know your midwife will stand by you, even under the judging eyes of hospital staff and her own peers. 

I want you to know When it takes your midwife a minute too long to find your baby's heartbeat, she feels a lump in her throat, and when she finally finds it, hears angels sing. 

I want you to know that when the doctor tells you your baby is gone, your midwife holds herself together, and tells you how beautiful and precious your baby is as he/she is laid in your arms one last time, then she goes home, crumples to the floor, and weeps. 

When your baby is slow to transition, and the piercing cry that a baby makes that we are accustomed to hearing on a tv show doesn't come, and seconds seem like hours, she holds her own breath until baby gasps with stimulation. When your baby is even slower to transition she gives her own breath to inflate tiny lungs, feels her feet on the floor and counts a steady rhythm. 

When Your midwife wakes up randomly in the middle of the night, she frantically checks her phone, sees she didn't miss a call and wonders if she woke because across town you are awake wondering, worrying, wishing. 

I want you to know, your midwife questions "why" when these things happen, thinks about quitting, and in the same exact breath, knows she never could. Because the next day another baby will be born, another mama will be made, and grace and mercy will meet, when heaven once again, kisses earth. 

Full

How was your weekend? Mine was full. Hard. Long. Beautiful. Full. 

I'll never understand it and I'm figuring out that I don't have to. 
 

I get to witness how strong we truly are in our weakness as a mama goes through a long labor that seems never ending, says she wants to be done, to run away from the sensations in her body, but never quits. Her baby takes her first breath on her chest. The whole room tears up. I am overwhelmed with the moment unfolding in front of me. 

I have to make hard calls and I sometimes have to be the one who says "I'm so sorry" at an early ultrasound, and when the bleeding begins my heart hurts. Each baby matters, even the very, very small. 

I have collegues and friends who work together, who love, who support, who get it. I am surrounded by powerful love. We all are. The world is full of grace and mercy.


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

"...show me, how big your brave is..."

Today, while I was unloading the kayak from the car a woman who was sitting in her car struck up a conversation and then said to me "I wish I was brave enough to do that like you" I smiled, and told her "I wish I would have brought the other kayak so she could join me." 


As I put the kayak into the water I thought to myself, "lady, if you only knew... 


Brave is getting in a kayak, getting in the saddle, running up a big hill. Brave is a 10K in a blizzard. Brave is quitting your reliable paycheck job. Brave is catching babies and supporting mothers and families as they grow. Brave is making phone calls. Brave is being honest. Brave is loving someone even though they will leave. Brave is loving yourself enough to say "no". Brave is saying "yes!" Brave is making decisions that change the course of your life. Brave is holding someone as they take their last breath or their very first. Brave is breathing for someone when they can't. Brave is trusting your team, your heart, your mind. Brave is driving with no destination in mind. Brave is dancing. Brave is taking a chance on love. Brave is letting go if love isn't there. Brave is a motorcycle ride, Brave is going to the dentist. Brave is letting go of that which steals your joy. Brave is  dropping off a future sailor. Brave is saying goodbye to a big black dog. Brave is changing a flat tire. Brave is being the biggest girl at bootcamp...


Yes, random lady at the park, how I wish I could have taken you out on the river, so you could find a piece of brave, in a simple kayak, on a tiny river. 




Thursday, July 17, 2014

What does a midwife do?

A midwife cooks scrambled eggs
Dances and sways 
Puts cold cloths on your head
Fixes your ponytail 
Snuggles in bed
Tells you:
 "you are strong"
"You are brave"
"You are listening to your body"
Puts water and honey to your lips 
Says drink
Converses with you on the toilet between contractions 
Silently holds the space
Naps on your couch, your floor, your toddler bed 
Holds your hand
Holds your puke bucket 
Doesn't flinch about body fluids 
Supports your decision to transfer 
Goes to ultrasounds and holds your hand when the news is devistating 
Wraps you in warm blankets and love 
Gently guides your baby into your arms 
Steps back as baby takes it's first breath 
Smiles 
Is grateful for the opportunity to serve 
To witness 
 A midwife eats dinner in the bathtub then falls into bed
Waiting for the phone to ring again 


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Grace

As much as last year's theme was "Brave" this year the key word is 

GRACE

Grace for myself
Grace for those who love me
Grace for those who speak before they know 
Grace for my colleagues 
Grace for those who will never understand
Grace for those who hurt
Grace for those who are hurting


Running a practice is not for the faint of heart.
But it's worth it, 
every day, 
every mama, 
every baby. 


Monday, May 19, 2014

Circles...

Sometimes 
I get stuck 
in my thoughts,
they circle around 
and tell me I'm no good. 
Around 
And 
Around 
A
Round

STOP! 

And I remember 
To count my blessings: 

A Soccer game huddled under blankets
Hot tea 
Comedians on tv 
Full homes 
Silly boys 
Ponies 
A@@ kicking workouts that make me feel strong 
Mini trips "up north" to check on babies and mamas 
Bright eyed smiling Amish babies 
Sister time
A not so slimy but still frozen pool
Sunshine 
Notes left in the counter 
Serving others 
Singing loud 
Couch naps 
The weight of a newborn sleeping on my chest 
A friend's successes as an author 
Letters from bootcamp 
A day off
A job that I love 
Dinner with my mama 
Hour long phone call with a friend 
Words 


Love says STOP! 
And Grace 
Grabs 
Tight 
Shouts 
Shakes 

Whispers 
And I am once again in awe of how, even though I don't deserve it, Grace is everywhere. 
And maybe... 
Just maybe 
I should show myself a portion of the grace I give to others. 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let the adventure begin...

The first midwifery supply most student/apprentices purchase is a watch with a second hand. Why? Because one of the first skills you learn is counting out fetal heart tones. Eventually you learn what normal sounds like and can pretty accurately determine what the heart rate is without counting, but even seasoned midwives pull out the watch when they detect a variation from normal. I held back tears tonight when I opened a gift from "the boss" and saw: 


It's a familiar tool; the comforting ticking in the darkness, the reassuring overlapping rhythmic thump-thump beating heart of a baby soon to be born. 

As I begin my first year as primary midwife under-supervision I will do so surrounded by mama and baby duos who will teach me many things, new and old preceptors and colleagues who will share their wisdom and serve along side me, the voice of "the boss" echoing in my ears, and with the weight of a familiar tool in my pocket grounding me. 

I'm ready for this adventure. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Majestic Tour


Yesterday I worked as a runner for a Kari Jobe concert. It was a really interesting day. Doing laundry and airport runs and pizza delivery, oh my! It was amazing to see all the behind the scenes work that goes into a show and lots of fun to have an all access pass. I met so many interesting people!  I told a friend I had never been more excited to go to Meijer when they sent me to buy face wash :) 


I got to spend some significant time with Warren Barfield when I drove him to retrieve a car. He's a really great guy. (Let's not talk about the fact that I didn't know who he was until later lol) 


I also found myself driving one of the bus drivers (who was hysterical!) his girlfriend just got back from touring Europe with BeyoncĂ©. What an interesting life these guys live! 


During the concert Kari did her new song "I am not alone". loved it! She introduced it by sharing the story of her friend's baby who was born too soon and lived 40minutes. This midwife heart of mine connected instantly, then she said the song was based on a scripture from Isaiah... When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, when you go through the fire you will not be consumed" Isaiah 43:2. 


I wear it on my wrist, an anchor to remind me. I named my buisness in reference to that verse... Hit to the feels lol. I was supposed to be guarding a door but I found myself squatting down against the wall with tears flowing. 

God's grace is abundant. 


(Thanks for the use of the midwife mobile Wendy!) 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Celebrate....

March 4th... It does get easier. "They" are right about that whomever "they" are. But snowy March and a chilly fall day in September are still hard. My arms feel empty, my heart breaks all over again, my mind wonders; 

Who is she today? 
Is she safe?
Is she happy? 
Does her mama know what a gift she is? 

I remember the weight of her tiny body on my chest, her newborn baby smell, the breeze blowing through the soft dark hair on her head. 

I mourn
I cry
I bake cake 
I light candles and sing "happy birthday"

I celebrate 

You see this mama heart not only aches for the daughter that God gave me to hold for a short time and know for 6 months and love for a lifetime. It celebrates;

I'll light the candles in honor of a 4 year old who stole my heart, who was named and loved. 

I'll also celebrate 

The gift of prayers answered in ways that seemed opposite of what I wanted, but are exactly the answers I needed. 

The gift of babies to love for a short time or for their whole lives. 

The gift of foster babies reunited with their mamas

The gift of the laughter of waiting children in orphanages 

The gift of tiny babies in the womb whom never took a breath on earth

The gift of wombs full of life and wombs that are empty

The gift of babies born at home in water and those born in hospital rooms, the very definition of what strong is. 

The gift of babies that pass through my hands into their mothers arms 

The gift of an 11year old who were not supposed to be able to walk or live to be 5, riding her first bike. 

The gift of a strong little boy who beats the odds every day with each beat of his super heart. 

The gift of big grinned boy born on the day of peace, that is the definition of living fully into the beauty of bittersweet. 


This year as the wax drips and melts the frosting-purple this year because she is 4. I celebrate the gift of motherhood. I honor those who have mothered me and those whom God has given me to mother, if only for a moment. Because it matters.

"the word mother is more powerful when used as a verb than as a noun. All woman are not mothers, but all women are called to mother. To mother is to nurture, to train, to educate, to rear. As daughters of Eve all women are uniquely gifted to help others in their lives become more of who they truly are -- to encourage, nurture, and mothers them toward who they truly are" -Stasi Eldredge, Captivating. 


Happy Birthday Isabella Esperanza Maria! 
Whose name means "God is my oath and hope in this sea of bitterness" 



(Type Isabella in the search box to read more about her story)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

On finding my midwife voice


50 days. I love my job, there is nothing like it. Cords and molding, water, sweat, tears, cries and pouty lips, heaviness, being forever connected by the holy moment when heaven kisses earth. Still and calm, loud and strong. Brave and beauty. Life doesn't look like I imagined it but I am still so overwhelmingly blessed.