the midwife`s journal < contents


4. receiving your child
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I saw you eagerly reach out and take your baby from your man, and immediately you drew the child close to your breast. There was no hesitation. The spontaneity of your action stayed in my mind, an image that I want to keep.

We recorded the time of birth at 11.58 pm. We don't have a word for the other event a few moments later - receiving your child.

I was in your home as midwife, with woman. My hands actually did very little, and I said few words. Your man's hands supported his son through the water as you turned from your birthing position. All that happened was harmoniously focused on you and your child.

You are young and fit. Your beautiful tall body carried the pregnancy and engaged in the birthing process with a high degree of excellence. The time of preparation for birthing gave you and me an opportunity to learn to trust each other. I wonder how much faith you have in the crystals and charms that are so obviously important to you? I have no faith in such things. As you welcomed your little one I offered a prayer of thanks to God the creator and giver of life for the child he had sent.

Your exuberant spontaneity continued to flow as your families came to visit, and you entered your new life of motherhood. And your man was there for you, so dependable.

The birth of a baby is the climax. The subsequent establishment of the nurturing role, and especially effective breastfeeding, then becomes the important issue.

As with birth, breastfeeding is your own resource, and I am conscious of the periods of extreme vulnerability that you go through. Any instruction, and especially any correction of technique needs to be done in an atmosphere of trust and at time that is right for you. After a couple of nights without much sleep, and a taste of the different types of advice that inevitably reaches the new mother, you were ready to work on getting feeding right.

The little one had contented himself by sucking his own tongue, so that when he was at your breast he had the comfort of touch and body warmth, without drawing your breast far enough into his mouth to take much of your milk.

There are many ways of attempting to correct a feeding problem like this. The principle I follow is that a baby needs the milk, and a mother needs to be able to give her milk to her baby. One strength of home birthing is that a mother does not imagine that someone else will "do it" for her.

You quickly learnt to express and give your milk in a little cup. Your quickly saw your baby's behaviour change to that of a contented, satisfied newborn. And you quickly achieved the correction of the nursing technique, so that his efforts brought the desired reward.

I believe that this early lesson will strengthen you for the next parenting challenge. Thankyou for trusting me, your midwife.

RESPONSE:

The woman, a new mother, has given me a copy of her diary, written as a letter to her child shortly after the birth.

Thankyou so much for sharing your memories with me. Reading it has brought me delight, and I am enthralled.

As you have written to your little son you have surely recorded for him something very precious about who you were at the time of his birth. In your words you have painted a picture that he will one day be able to enjoy.

What a day! You wrote:

"I worked hard in the garden feeling wonderfully strong and good in myself. I knew my cervix had begun its long task of opening up wide enough to let you through. I felt so excited it felt good feeling my body start to work (I) wondered if I would be able to do what I knew I had to do."

You were being mother to your child long before you saw him:

"I had spoken to you earlier and told you not to be frightened and that I would be alright - to trust mummy that Daddy's hands would be right there to catch you as you came out - I knew you would be OK in the birth."

I am enthralled as I recall the harmony with which you and your man engaged in the whole birthing process.

"My entire being was taken over by the surge of my own body pushing you down and out. It was very hard work, When we knew you were very close I somehow managed to get into the pool. Daddy sat behind me and I felt good knowing it was he who would be there to greet you. I could cope with no more.

I am still amazed at the strength of my body. Its will to bring you into the world was so strong - so perfect."

I was in the background. I participated from outside the protective cocoon that you and your man had established.

"Her presence was felt strongly in her trust in me and my natural abilities to allow Daddy and me to have the experience as our own."

It was your birthing, you three, becoming a new family.

Thankyou, for sharing your birthing, and your memories with me.

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