I knew I wanted an undisturbed birth. And I knew I wanted to have a connection with my midwife.
I didn’t know that I would develop a bond with her that seemed to transcend time and space. Shiela, our safe-keeper of birth, grew to be our most trusted ally on our adventure into the unknown.
She witnessed my husband and I shed our old lives in the flames of birth and watched as we stumbled across the threshold, just trying to keep balance in this new, rocky world.
She was the midwife to our children, and to the new life we didn’t realize we were giving birth to.
Why home birth?
I had wanted to give birth at home since I first learned about the advantages of it in college. But once I was actually pregnant I started to get nervous. I felt like I was doing something radical by considering to give birth at home (and I wasn’t sure if I was that radical).
I didn’t want a rebellious hangover from my youth to be my first experiment in parenting, so I dove into research.
After numerous books and documentaries, I found my yearning for a home birth to be validated across the board: science and spiritual experiences alike gave me the resounding YES I needed to make the final choice.
Now all I needed to do was find my guide through it all.
After three interviews with midwives who I just didn’t feel it with, my husband playfully accused me of chasing a dragon – he didn’t think the person I was looking for existed.
But I could feel her out there; our relationship seemed to resonate with a vitality of its own, though I had yet to meet her in present time. And since my husband trusts me and my intuitive sense, he kept going on interviews with me until we found her.
Our hide-and-seek game ended with a Google search. I clicked on her Comadres Midwifery website (now updated) and was immediately overcome with a deep sense of love. Tears came to my eyes. I could hardly believe it.
In the notes I had been keeping on various midwives, I jotted down: “website makes me cry and I don’t know why.”
I couldn’t wait to meet her.
My memories of our hour long prenatal sessions are steeped in hearty laughs, tea on the couch, and enlightening conversations. She would check me and the baby and I would leave with a full heart and a renewed sense of self.
Under her watchful eye, I became a first-time, full term pregnant mother. I looked to Shiela for reassurance. Emotions bubbled to the surface.
What was I about to do?
I was blown away after my first birth experience. I don’t know what I had expected, but I didn’t expect that.
The first couple of weeks were a blur of breastfeeding challenges, memory tricks from lack of sleep, the pain of recovery, and emotions gone haywire.
This was the messiness of birth.
Naked, bloody, and breasts bursting with milk – she saw it all. I was a woman-child experiencing all of this for the first time. As I learned to care for my new baby, she cared for me. My trust was in her, just as our baby’s trust was in me.
She mothered me.
And four years later I am still trying to put that experience into words.
When we chose her as our midwife I didn’t expect to receive a birth companion who would support us in all aspects of our dynamic selves. She became part of our family, but a member we eventually had to say goodbye to.
And this is the way that it is. Her role as a safe-keeper of sacred birth has a time limit with each family.
What must that be like for her?
To travel from family to family, helping them grow, discover, and rebirth into new spirals of life, only to part ways one day in a graduation of sorts: the same way a new adult parts from her parents in a joyous separation of strength?
I imagine she feels blessed.
For she is surrounded by so many of her children.