Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Midwife Is Not A Jr. Doctor

I love Diana, the midwife. Love, love, love her. I love that she comes to Lily's house for everything. She brings her bag and pulls whatever she needs from it, like a blessed Mary Poppins and it all just feels so right. She is so calming. She has four children. She has delivered many babies and has a crazy-low transfer rate. When Lily was going to the Birth Cottage in her pregnancy with Owen before her blood pressure became an issue, Diana was working there and both Jason and Lily felt the most comfortable around her. She was reassuring and Lily's blood pressure was fine when she was the one taking it.
And now, right in time, she is on her own with what she calls her "little home birth practice." And very happy doing so. She said that she delivered four babies last weekend. That doesn't sound too "little" to me.
"Full moon dregs?" I asked her.
"Must have been," she said.

I mostly played with Owen so that Lily and Jason could sit and chat with Diana, go through Lily's history, concentrate. Focus. We played inside, we played outside. I was his personal slave. Okay. I am always his personal slave. But I was able to come in when Diana was looking for the baby's heartbeat. She found it, too, and tears sprang to my eyes, to hear that loud, strong, rhythmic proof of life. Second pregnancies are so different from first ones. It's always been so ironic with me that during the second pregnancy, when you really do need the most help because there is generally already a crazy toddler around, so much less help is offered. It's almost as if everything thinks, "Oh yeah. She knows what she's doing by now."
Which is true, but the body is as tired and the tasks are so much more.
And it is so good to be reminded that there really IS a baby in there which is every bit as magical and amazing and miraculous as it was the first time.
Which it is.
So. I heard my second grandchild's heartbeat today. Or, heartbeep, as we like to call it. Owen said it was "loud." He was a bit overwhelmed by the whole situation but by the time Diana left, he wanted to give her a hug.
"I'll be back soon to see you," Diana said.
"Bag," he said.
"Yes, I'll bring my bag."

I am just so overwhelmingly grateful that Lily may be able to experience what I was able to experience in giving birth. The comfort of getting the sort of personal care which can only happen when the midwife comes to your house. It sets the completely right tone to me- the midwife is an honored trusted guest in your home, not a semi-stranger in a white coat or scrubs to whom you are required to go see. No signing in, no "may we have your insurance card?" every damn time. No sitting on a paper-covered table with weird pictures on the wall while waiting that interminable wait for the care-giver to come in. There is a million times less anxiety which the body will thank you for by being able to give birth more easily. As Ina May points out, we don't like to poop in front of strangers in strange places. Why would we want to give birth in that situation?
No, it's not the same but there is no getting around the fact that there is no medication or drug in the entire western medical arsenal which can relax a birthing woman as much as being in her own home, surrounded by only the people she chooses to be there.
It gives the mother a sense of control which she cannot possibly have anywhere else. And it empowers her in a way that nothing else can. To know that she can trust her body to do what women's bodies have done for so long. That the midwife in her practice is proof of that fact. Yes, she has her bag but mostly what she has is faith in the mother and the process. And her hands. Her strong, midwife hands.

I feel so at peace with this situation and I think that Lily does too. And Jason, as well, and that is as important as anything- that support from the partner. I saw the way they worked together getting Owen born and I know it will be that way again. But hopefully, this time, in their own home, by their own time frame.

I heard my new grandchild's heartbeat today and of course, my heart leaped in response. This is the way of it. A new one coming.

And then we took Owen to lunch at the Mockingbird and saw our darling May-May and Owen cried out to her for the entire lunch, "May-May! May-May!" and every time she came to the table his eyes shown and he showed off for her and he loves her desperately as she loves him and two years ago, he wasn't even here and then he was and the world shoved over and made room and our hearts opened up and made room and now we get to do it all again.

Thank-you, Lily and Jason for bringing all this love into the world. And thank-you, New One Coming, for letting us hear your heartbeep. We are so looking forward to meeting you. You can't even imagine. But we are.
And thank-you, Diana, for walking the hard path of the midwife. It's one I thought I wanted to walk, but realized I did not have the strength for. But I tell you this- if there is one thing that I know, it's that if there are goddesses on this earth, they are the midwives.


  1. Just wondering what a home birth costs (midwife fee?) and if Lily's insurance will cover any or all of it.
    Hang in there Ms. Moon (responding to last post). No plane to Paris would dare leave without you on it.

  2. Lucy- Her entire fee for everything is not going to add up to much more than what Lily's co-pay was with Owen in a "traditional" setting.
    And no, her type of insurance does not pay. The fuckers. Some types, however, do.
    Thanks for saying that about the plane. I am NOT planning on going to Paris any time soon. Believe me.

  3. The Ina May quote made me laugh because my mom always tells me that the post birth release/relief after I was born felt like she had taken a realy satisfying shit.

    I think my mother is calling me a shit!

  4. You all are brave. Does she have anything to give for pain? I will have to read up on mid-wifery.

  5. A smart and sweet post, Mrs. Moon. Full of love and heart beeps. Love to the New One. Love to all.

  6. Stephanie- Oh. I don't think so!

    Syd- Nope. Nothing for pain. And yes, I say we are brave but the whole experience is SO worth it.

    Denise- Thanks, sweetie!

  7. Aw, how I love this post. I couldn't agree more about the goddesses on this earth being midwives.

    I'm so excited for your family! What an amazing experience.

  8. I love this photo of Lil with Diana. It's just perfect.

    Wish I had been there to hear that heartbeep. That is one of the sweetest sounds, although Owen is totally right, "loud".

    I love my family so.

  9. Dearest Mary, I had to pop by and say hello and send you tons of love.

    Big love to Lily and Owen and Diana too.

    Thinking of you loads. I love you xxx

  10. Midwives are truly goddesses!!! And isn't Ina May an amazing...goddess? Yes, I read her book forwards and backwards and learned much of what I wanted in the birth of my children. I only had one baby at home but three with a midwife.

    So very happy for all of you! And the heartbeep...reality of a baby growing...


  11. Kaitlin- We are very blessed.

    HoneyLuna- I felt you there, baby. All of us. We love YOU so much.

    Christina- And I love you.

    Ellen- Yep, yep, and yep. Thanks, love.

  12. I got all relaxed just reading about Lily's home visit and her wonderful midwife. And to add to how much more relaxed women are to birth where they feel most at home (wherever that may be), people are used to their flora and fauna at home so home is actually much cleaner than the hospital bath tub, for example.
    Well, one good thing about Florida is the accessibility and choice of hb midwives. Boo Georgia--here we are surrounded by FL, TN and SC which are midwife friendly (Boo NC too). I am so excited for Lily and her family!

  13. I am so happy that all of you are so comfortable with Diane. How great.

    I love ALL of you so much.


  14. We had a nice experience at the sick-people-building when babygirl was born. I would mention though that we used the cottage folks and they transformed our room and care into something more midwifery-based.

    It would have been nice to have the baby at home though, as the beer would have been much closer at hand. I would have had to throw away the hot tub though. That's just me.

  15. this touches my heart. you, too, are a goddess, dear ms moon. there are many ways to nurture. just ask lily and owen.

  16. Oh I am all teary eyed reading this! I love midwives. Love them. The picture reminded me of the times my midwife came to my house. That first visit I cleaned the house thoroughly, so I thought. But she was so kind as to want to heat up the jelly for the doppler, and she opened up my disaster of a microwave. It was really bad. Disgusting. She did not say a word though, of course not. Midwives are queen supremes.

  17. Wow, such a lotta love, all the way around!

  18. Mother Nature makes it that way because again, if you took the time to really think about what it takes to go through a pregnancy and a delivery and then raise a child to adulthood. AcetazolamideWe had a nice experience at the sick-people-building when babygirl was born.


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