In a Nutshell..... Why do I do this?

Last Friday, I rode with the midwife I assist to do our home visit with one of our clients. We typically make a home visit before the birth so we can familiarize ourselves with the route - makes it so much easier than driving cold turkey in the dark- and we get the sense of the layout of the home in terms of the birth. This was a repeat client but she had moved since her last birth. It took a bit of doing to get there and it was a lovely rural type setting. The weather was warm and the sky was clear and blue. She greeted us with her toddler. We chatted and toured her cozy home. Then we did the prenatal appointment- belly check, fetal heart tone check, urine check, blood pressure check- etc. Her little one showed us some of his toys. I admired some of her homemade toys and she showed me how to do the blanket stitch in order to finish the edge of her handmade doll. We lingered a bit and I remembered her last birth. I'm very much looking forward to attending this birth. We hugged goodbye and waved as we slowly drove out of the driveway. I looked out the window as they stood there watching us leave. For me- the next time I see her she will be in the midst of labor, as I'm typically not called until labor is advanced. The midwife precedes me and calls me to assist when she needs me which is usually later in labor. The mama looked so beautiful with her round belly and her precious little one was standing there by her side. It was as it should be. I felt almost moved to tears and I thought " We have the best job in the world!"Every woman deserves this type of prenatal care. We get to know the family. We listen with respect and true interest. The midwife builds a relationship with the mama and the family. When labor begins we attend as invited caregivers. We will be the supporters of the process. The birth will be attended with care and attention. The family unit is respected and supported. The baby will be gently and lovingly welcomed into the arms of his/her mama and in his/her own home. I love home birth. Love it love it love it.Post partum care is equally wonderful. They don't have to go anywhere. We leave them settled in in their own bed. Personal attention. Family support. Breastfeeding support. In addition to the personal visits there is the continual availability for phone consultations. Midwifery does not leave mothers and babies in the lurch. I'm so proud to have a share in this model of care. I wish this type of care for all families.So, there it is..... I love this work. It never grows old. As is the case with this family we build a history with our clients. What a privilege. If only more women availed themselves of this dignifying and respectful model of care. As a nurse part of my role is education. I feel the need to make this model known as an option. I'm using this blog as one way to accomplish that goal.
Posted by Helen at 9:43 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Birth class reflections

Tonight I taught birth class- just as I do most Wednesday evenings. Next week will be the last class in this series. Tonight each person created some birth art. It’s an activity borrowed from Birthing from Within and I must say it’s actually my favorite part of birth class. I am always so amazed and impressed with what comes out of this activity. Tonight I sat quietly listening to the CD that was playing- it was Loreena McKinnett, and just looked around. We are together here in the Birth Center, cozy and relaxed in this beautiful setting. Some are sitting on the soft couch, a couple in the rocking chairs, one on the floor and others sitting in the other chairs. I think about this space and how perfect it is for birth class. What a great memory for these couples to have spent class time here, rather than another less welcoming setting. The beautiful voice of Loreena is filling the air and the lamps are reflecting a warm glow off the golden walls of the living room of the birth center. The weather is not cool enough to have a fire in the fireplace, but it is welcoming anyway and there are cheerful flowers on the mantle. Birth art is on the walls, table and in many parts of the room and everyone is focused - working on their own personal art expression. I bring crayons, colored pencils, pastels and each person has chosen their medium. I sit quietly, taking it all in and just let myself be in awareness of the moment for a few minutes. Listening, and looking without reacting.
When I initially explained what we would be doing I received the usual reactions, but after some talking and laughing they began to create. Art is personal and usually outside of the comfort zone, but then so is birth. So, I’m looking at each person as they are busy creating. Then I begin thinking about the time we have shared together these past few weeks, in this room, in class. I always feel a bit sad when I think about a class series approaching it’s end. I’m wondering what their art will say and I also think about their upcoming births.
Time is up and they begin to share. This class is no exception when it comes to the beauty and depth of their art. Not so much in the techniques- no, technique is not what this is about. We already know that most of them are not artists, but they share what they were thinking and feeling as they were creating and it was touching and beautiful, impressive and meaningful. It is good to stretch ourselves and do something outside our normal box. It is good practice for birth and life.
So, we go on to discuss newborns, breastfeeding etc. We will all be together one more time before they birth. We’ll have our last class, I’ll give them their certificates and the blanket that I will make for each baby. We’ll say goodbye and talk about a reunion. It’s a privilege to share this part of the journey with them. I feel the responsibility and hope I’ve done my job in a way that empowers them so that they feel they’ve done it all on their own and that they are equipped and ready to embrace and own their birth experience. I love teaching birth class and I have affection for each person that allows me to share this very important and special time with them.
Tonight was just one of those moments in time that we experience. I took time to “stop and smell the roses” so to speak. I just took it all in and savored it. I love the many facets of working with families. It’s a good and satisfying work and I'm thankful to have a share in it.

1 comment:

Ingrid said...

As one of the soon-to-be mamas sitting in that room, I just have to say that even 18 months later I still cherish all those weeks we spent in your class! I actually found your blog today when I was looking for your information to pass on to a pregnant friend...and it's really reinforcing why birth class, and your presence at my daughter's birth, were so special:) As I keep telling my husband, I want to get pregnant again just so I can hang out with you and Karni! And, I want you to know that despite the fact that I was the least artistically comfortable/inclined person in the room, I still have the art we made. Someday when Sadie is older I'll enjoy sharing it with her and telling her how excited we were to meet her. Thank you again Helen!!!