It’s been nearly 46 years since my mother went into labor a whole month early. My two older brothers were carted off to her sister’s while she went dutifully to the local hospital to lay in a bed and listen to the nurses tell her what to do and how to do it. She tells me the story of how the doctor said, “With this much hair, this baby is probably a girl.” She talked about how my father lit up, and said I have to have the middle name Brett, because he wanted me named after him and Brent was too masculine. She talked about how she didn’t feel much with the epidural, and couldn’t move, but how, with some guided pushes, out I popped, with my mohawk of orange-blonde hair. She recalled the story with details focused on how little patience the nurses had, being alone for hours and hours, and not seeing the doctor until it was nearly time to push.
This was the first of many, many birth stories I would be told over the decades. It was also the most pleasant I would hear for over a decade. And then one day it wasn’t.
Going over to my mother’s friend’s house to watch her young children while she birthed her baby, I didn’t realize she wasn’t headed to the hospital, but in fact, giving birth in her bedroom. When a lady arrived with her bulky bag hoisted over her shoulder, sporting things like a doppler and a stethoscope, and lugging up the stairs an oxygen tank, I asked who she was, and followed up her answer with, “Well, who’s Mid?” She laughed and explained she was here to help the baby.
I’d met my future self. There she was! Her Berkenstocks and flowy top. Her station wagon and plaited hair. Her broomstick skirt and smelling of patchouli. This facilitator of natural birth. This set of capable hands and head full of knowledge that was perfectly willing to do nothing unless she was called upon. This person who believed in the birth process and trusted in the birther and baby to do what they needed to do with minimal interference. The birth of a dream: the start of the life as a midwife.
I knew then that I would birth like that: in my own power, drawing lines in the sand and surrounding myself with only those that believed in me. I knew that my job from that point forward was to share beautiful stories, and help others feel empowered in their births, no matter what comes up.
Life has changed and unfolded differently for me than I’d expected at 12 on that warm day in April of 1989, but my passion for helping families to have the beautiful births they planned and prepared for is still my passion. This final part of my 46th trip around the sun and the beginning of my 47th, I’ve decided to certify through DONA and begin my journey to finally become a certified professional midwife. This means I want to do more births this year than I’ve typically done in the past. It means I want to put in more work than I have before. It means I want to change the birth world for the better even more than I have already. I’ll be offering a discount for anyone who signs a contract with me in the month of March. If you’re on the fence about hiring a birth doula, take this as your sign to reach out to me. Let’s see if we’re a good fit and see if working together seems right for your birth plans.