the midwife`s journal <
27. i trust in our baby
It is a special honour for me when the woman who asks me to attend her is also a friend and colleague, a midwife who practises as I do.
The prenatal visits were usually at afternoon tea time, and we enjoyed having a chat. It seemed important that we spend the time together, getting used to each other in the new relationship of woman to midwife. The woman was relaxed and confident as her time approached.
I received my call early Thursday morning, and was soon on my way through the dark cold morning. The woman reclined on a big bean bag on the floor of the living room. The gentle warm light from a few candles enabled me to see her hand resting on the bulge which was the babys head on view. Someone asked if I wanted more light. "No. Were fine" I said.
The woman was distressed by the pain of opening and stretching. I decided to stay with her not to go back to my car for my gear. I wanted to maintain the sense of calm focus that filled the home. The baby would be born any minute now. I knew that this womans first baby had been born in hospital, after transfer from home. The sensations of unforced stretching and opening, allowing the baby to descend and emerge from her body, were new for her. Her man was nearby and I signalled to him.
"Do you want to catch your baby?" I asked.
He moved closer, and poised his hands near his babys head. We waited as the head restituted and the shoulders gently emerged. Together the parents received their baby daughter, and watched a miracle unfold.
The baby arms extended, the little eyes blinked, and she rested quietly, skin to skin against her mothers chest as we dried the birth fluids from her body, and covered them both with a warm towel. There was no cry. The two-year old brother and his grandmother joined us, and together we welcomed the little one. In the soft light of the morning, with white frost on the garden beds and the garage roof, her family gently touched the tiny fingers, stroked the perfect little arms, and marveled at the shock of dark hair. I was able to step back and watch, confident in uncomplicated, beautiful birth.
Some time later, after we had enjoyed cups of tea and homemade plum jam on toast, I noticed a sheet of paper taped to the fridge door. In simple handwriting, on the middle of the page, were the words:
"I trust in my body
I trust in my pain
I trust in my labour
I trust in my/our baby"
The word my had been struck out, and changed to our baby.
Each woman approaches her birthing in her own way. My friend told me later that she had written out her sayings at about two in the morning. She knew that she needed me when she could no longer repeat them. Quietly labouring in her own space, engaging in the mysterious process of bringing a baby into the world, she had found strength and comfort in these profound affirmations. And together she and her husband had received their little one into their hands and their hearts.