My youngest son turned 10 a few days ago. His birth was unique in that he was born in our home. It was a typical rainy Oregon morning, but the midwives who were on hand to assist me, were not typical – at least compared to my one previous experience with midwives. Mary and Amy (licensed, professional, and hilarious!) distracted me with stories of other births they had attended. Never before had I laughed so hard during childbirth. (I think all midwives, doulas, and even doctors should have Comedic Entertainment included as part of their training! Laughter is one heck of an anesthetic!)
Some of you might now be picturing me with hairy armpits and Birkenstocks. Actually, that more closely describes the doctor who was supposed to deliver my next baby. I never saw his armpits, but he did wear Birkenstocks and have a ponytail. I say he was supposed to deliver my next baby because he didn’t seem to take me seriously when I told him I would probably have the baby pretty quickly. He left to “run a couple of errands,” and missed the delivery. Providentially, there was a midwife attending the woman in the birthing room next door, and she came over to help bring our baby girl into the world. I have wondered if My Dear Hippie Doctor didn’t intentionally extend his errand-running that day. He knew Ginger, the midwife, and he knew I had used midwives before. On one of my first visits to his office, I’d told him that one of the reasons I was looking for a new doctor, was because our insurance no longer covered midwife services. (Another reason I had checked into his office was because it was only five minutes from our house.) It was purely coincidental (or Providential) that this doctor and his wife had used midwives for the home births of their kids.
I’m not the kind of woman who thinks that everyone ought to use midwives, but it worked well for me. (I also had babies in hospitals.) My two-fold reason for checking into midwifery might seem a little mundane: (1) I’d had a couple of close calls in getting to the hospital in time, and (2) I hate having IV’s stuck in my arm.
So, I’m not on any midwife bandwagon, but I am thankful for my own experiences. These things are really on my mind because that home-birthed son’s birthday, like the birthdays of all my children, reminds me that it’s not how they get into this world, but that they do get into this world. To state the obvious, births are just the beginnings. The real good stuff comes when they live many miles away from you and they call you to tell you how great their jobs are going – or that their car broke down. But those are other stories, and even the best midwives can’t top them.