I hope this letter reaches you in time. There is so much that you may not know about the world you are entering… I have some very important questions to ask you…
You may think that you are there to monitor mother’s in pregnancy. You may think that you are there to schedule this mama’s ultrasound appointments, and listen to the fetal heart with your Doppler. You may think you are there to fill out all the little boxes in your ACOG chart. You may think that you are there to test this mother for gestational diabetes, and test her urine and blood. You may think that you are there to teach her about the benefits and risks of each intervention that will be recommended for her birth. You may think that you are there to asses her risk level for vaginal birth and home birth. You may think that you are there assess fetal well being at the end of her pregnancy. You may think that you are there to decide if she is safe to go past 40 weeks, 41 weeks and as far as 42 weeks before induction is needed. You may think you are there to catch babies. You may think you there to suction, resucitate, clamp and cut the cord, inject this mama with pit and “guide” the placenta out with “gentle cord traction.” You may think you are there to ensure this birth is safe, to tell the mother when she needs to transfer, to latch her baby to mother’s breast. You may think you are there to swaddle the baby and put a hat on it, and weigh the baby. You may think that you are going to do all of these things, or some of these things…
But have you considered what it would be like to do none of these things?
not a single one?
not even a little?
Have you ever held space for a mother throughout her pregnancy, while she described her pregnancy to you, and you took it all in, without an ultrasound and blood work to check her words against?Have you ever not done a single urine dip for an entire gestation? Have you ever listened to her dreams of her baby when she is 44 weeks, with no biophysical profile to compare notes with, and no fundal height on record? Have you ever left the home after the birth without having done a newborn exam, your chart empty? Have you ever just witnessed a pregnancy, even just one, without testing it, measuring it, doubting it, fearing it? Have you ever just trusted that dilation, effacement and decent was going as it needed to, without taking a single heart tone in labor?
Have you ever considered the importance of experiencing undisturbed pregnancy as a midwife? Watching the mama and baby dance in their journey towards what is full term to them? Only giving what is asked for and leaving the rest for them to decide on their own?
If you don’t know what undisturbed, uninterupted pregnancy and birth looks like, how are you going to know what isn’t normal?
If you don’t know what is normal, how are you going to know when help is needed?
If all your training is about the risks, the dangers, the what if’s, and the fear, how will you train yourself to trust this mama and her baby?
If you can’t answer these questions, and if your school or your preceptor can’t answer these questions….
Then no license in the world, no paper in the world, no letters behind your name will convince me that you are safe to be at this mamas birth…
Trust Birth. Trust Mamas.
OR GO HOME…
~Ninja Midwife, 2013