Today is my dear friend’s birthday. She also happens to be the midwife we used for our last baby. So, if you don’t like mushy, here’s-why-she’s-such-an-awesome-midwife posts, it is time to move on. If you do, keep reading. 🙂
I’ve known Debbie for several years now. I met her through Friends of Missouri Midwives and one of my earliest memories of her are from the first family retreat that we both attended. At first, she was just some lady I thought was cool and sort of admired. Over time, as I became more involved with FoMM and got to know her better, I realized she was a powerful force (one that was quite influential in getting midwifery in Missouri decriminalized). Eventually, I started taking a class that she teaches in conjunction with another midwife. This led to a new-found sense of admiration, as well as a desire to learn what I could from this wise woman.
I called her when we had our miscarriage to get her thoughts on a few things, and was calmed/reassured by her gentle voice on the phone. I decided that even though we had been pleased with the service of the midwife we used previously, Debbie was the one I wanted and needed for my next baby. I couldn’t quite articulate to my husband why I felt so strongly about it, but he seemed to understand and agreed to asking her. I still remember the feeling of relief and gratitude that washed over me when she not only said yes, but also that I had made her day! How cool is that?
Early into the pregnancy, I started bleeding and cramping. It felt exactly like the start of the miscarriage I had months earlier and I was terrified. My heart was breaking, sure I was going to lose this baby too, wondering how in the world I could survive this again. I curled into a ball, climbed on my bed and called her. She answered my call and immediately helped me to focus, calming down enough to take the necessary supplements. Her soothing voice, her reassuring words, her calm manner were all what I needed in that moment. We talked through what steps to take and within the hour, both the cramping and bleeding had subsided. I feel in my heart that my son, currently sleeping here on my lap while I type, would not be here if it weren’t for her. How can I ever repay that?
Throughout the pregnancy, she made me feel as if I was her most important client. She turned my questions into learning times, instead of simply giving me the answer. During labor, she was always right there when I need it while being in the background or absent when I wanted that. I remember the feel of her hands on my back, at times softly gentle or at times firmly pressing. I remember her voice, letting me know that even though he was taking forever to come out he was okay. I remember her eyes meeting mine, staying there, keeping me present when I felt faint after the birth. I remember the exhausted smile on her face at 5am, after being with us for over twelve hours, as she went to take a quick cat nap in the other room while we slept/snuggled with our newborn. Her texts, phone calls and visits in the following days/weeks to ensure that motherbaby were doing well and being taken care of.
Now, eight months later, I still can not think of her without a little twinge in my heart. Do I feel that way because she’s my friend or because she’s a fabulous midwife? And really, once someone has seen you give birth, helped you climb that mountain and cheered you on to the other side…how could your heart not twinge?
This is the way it was meant to be, women helping women. Trusted care givers holding the space, with love and wisdom, for families to grow and change. This is midwifery at its finest. This is my friend, midwife.
I know it’s customary to give a gift for birthdays, but what can I possibly give in comparison to what you’ve given me? All I have to offer today are my words. Thank you for being wise, humble, curious, trusting, faithful, loving, nurturing…thank you for being you. The world, midwifery, Missouri and so much more would be a different place without you. I am so glad you were born!