I must say my last birth was just so powerful!!!
It was an unexpected birth with a Rastafarian family. I was called by a colleague late in the evening on Thursday night. She asked me if I would speak to a man who had just rang her for a home birth. I said of course but then she said, he wants a home birth now, his wife is in labour. This is not really normal for us because as home birth midwives we usually know our clients before hand. We meet and decide we work well together and go on our journey towards the home birth. Its planned and we and our patients feel we know each other enough to share this very intimate experience.
But this husband was ringing for birth support kind of blind. I told my friend to have him call me. While waiting I did a bit of chanting, as you may or may not know I am a Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist and chanting is the fundamental part of our practice. I chanted to use my wisdom in this situation and trust this in making my decision to go or not to attend.
It may sound strange to think I would not attend, but with out knowing what I am walking into and going on my own, as my colleagues were on holiday, it can be a bit of a unsafe situation. The mother could have pre existing issues which could cause complications in birth and make home birth not suitable. So if I do no know the patients history, I could be walking into a very dangerous situation for mum and baby. Unfortunately in this world there is also the possibility that the man on the phone is not being honest and their is not birth at all. I could arrive in his home and have anything happen to me, so it was not a straight forward attend or not attend this birth situation.
About 10 min later the husband rang me and as I could here his wife was really cracking on in her labour in the background, I asked as many questions as I could to learn about her health and suitability for home birth. At one point during our short conversation he told me this was her 4th baby and from the sound of her, I could tell I needed to be there now and not later. I explained he needed to pay for this service and that I would come in a taxi now as I could hear she needed assistance quickly. I also asked him to agree to let me take them to hospital if I felt it was needed. He agreed to every thing and I set off.
Arriving at their home about 20 min later I was greeted by the most beautiful tall Rastaman, and as I am a black midwife with dreadlocks myself we both took a moment to value the connection made through pure chance. There is only one other black midwife in Barcelona to my knowledge and she works in hospital. This was meant to be for this family.
Entering their home I meet my patients father, a lovely Ethiopian man who is praying very strongly for his daughter upstairs. I am then shown upstairs to meet my patient. Through the darkness I see a women contracting strongly with two little girls at her side. She raises her head and says to me, ” sister you are and angle sent by god” she then smiles such a beautiful smile that quite with out realizing it find myself embracing her with all my love. I ask her what she needs and we begin the dance of midwife and mother in labour. Her daughters one 7 and the other 8 years old, never leave her side throughout the labour and they are so beautiful and calm with the whole situation.
40 min later with her husband behind her and a daughter on each side, this lovely lady delivered her 4th child and 3rd daughter. Her two wee girls, with eyes like saucers delighted in witnessing the birth of their sister. As she delivere her babies head they both touched their mummys tummy and as baby was born they both said “que bonita!” how pretty. There was no fear or worry or confusion in their presence, just love and a deep understanding of a power they both carried deep with in them.
For me, this was simply wonderful, from start to finish. I could not believe my fortune to be attending this lovely family, this was a kind of powerful moment that we rarely get in life.
On my visit the next day I asked this mother why she had waited until the last moment to contact a midwife. She explained to me that she had bore 3 children in hospital here in Barcelona and each birth was a horrible traumatic experience. She felt racially abused and was physically traumatised by being forced in to one unnecessary c- section, and two further painful instrumental deliveries that culminated in many horrible epsiotomies. Each birth fell on a major holiday and she was attended by staff that smelt of drink and cigarettes. This women speaks 4 languages, but felt treated as an imbecile by the doctors and midwives.
When she found she was pregnant again she determined to have it at home. She had actually met the doctor I work with and liked her very much. She intended to have her as her care provider in birth but went into labour at 36 weeks and 4 days, and at this point our doctor was not in Barcelona. She told her husband to find some one else. He looked on line and chose a midwife who had the same name as his wife, my friend. But when she could not attend and suggested me, he rang me. He said once he saw me at the door he knew he had seen me before and I was the right midwife for them. Amazing!
This couple have since invited me to Ethiopia to support them in their clinic in the country side where many woman died in childbirth from lack of a skilled professional. They have asked me to come and teach the women there how to assist in birth safely. How amazing!!!! I of course have accepted and we will see where this takes me.
Birth, for me is always something deeply spiritual no matter where I attend but I must admit, this birth has affected me in such away that I feel so deeply connected to so much more in life than I have ever felt before.
Its all so beautiful