Friday, February 08, 2013

Another fine boy in the world, this one with black hair like his papa. First-time momma who had a lickety-split labor and a relatively quick pushing phase. Fine, fine, you say. Great except for the big swooping heart rate decelerations while she was pushing. Just on the edge of calling for an ambulance about a half dozen times. When I'd had enough, the heart rate would go into the normal range. I finally asked my assistant to go get a midwife in the clinic (we were in the birth center) and blessedly, one of them was free. She came down, sat on the bed with the heart rate monitor and listened while the momma pushed. With another few pushes, the babe was born. Screaming. With a big ole loop of cord by his head, which was probably causing all the excitement. What a relief to have a sister midwife by my side. Gawd.

Running all that adrenaline sure kicked my butt. I staggered home, went for a walk in my birth clothes and ate a bowl of yogurt. After I closed the chickens in for the night, I took a heavenly bath and went to bed. Now I'm awake at midnight, hungry and tired but awake. Clinic all day tomorrow.

I taped an interview I did with a friend who is a midwife about an hour south of here. I began transcribing it (we talked forever) and such a rush of love for her as I listened to her voice. Surely the work we do is somehow angelic. We agreed that every baby whose birth we have attended is a special baby to us but especially the ones we've resuscitated. There is a strong cord running between us when a baby has had to be encouraged to take a breath, when there's been some drama. As Audrey said, 'years later, listening to them playing the violin!'

Fragile and tough. I'll tell you. A 6 pound babe yelling his head off while held in his mother's arms is the sweetest thing in the world. I'll never tire of it. What a privilege. What a responsibility. Joy.


Sabine said...

You are doing the best job in the whole wide world. And job is not the correct term at all.

Ellena said...

How about 'best facilitatress'?

Ms. Moon said...

Yes. Oh yes.
Good on you, Beth. It's those last-minute hard decisions that make midwifing such an art/science. It is a constant falling-in-love. It is the hardest work in the world. It is saying hello to life which is pretty darn sacred. It is everything.

Radish King said...

You are a goddamned angel. I've known from the minute I met you.