Saturday, February 20, 2010

And Miles To Go Before I Sleep

Today's lesson was that no woman is an island...
As Lone Hero Nurse, I drowned miserably, while the tiny hospital-world kept spinning, in spite of my martyrdom.
It was a hard lesson for me.

And here I sit at ten p.m., awake since 5:30 this morning, having worked all day, and still have my portion of a paper to write that's due tomorrow.


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ugly Truth

Today was rough.
I stood in on a delivery with a first time mum that really had to work for it. She got the epidural, and it crapped out before the end. She could feel pretty much everything, but she did great, and stayed very in control. She pushed for around an hour and a half, and then Hero Doc breezes in, gowns up and delivers the baby.
Mum sustained one second degree laceration midway from vagina to rectum. She had another second degree laceration from clitoris to urethra. Double ouch.
As Hero Doc starts to repair, it becomes painfully clear that Mum can feel every, single thing he's doing to her.
Hero Doc continues to sew.
I offer local anesthetic.
Hero Doc ignores me.
I offer local anesthetic again, louder.
Hero Doc ignores me and continues to sew.
I address the tech behind Hero Doc and tell her to bring the man some local, STAT. While she's out getting it, he continues to sew on Mum. I'm wondering what in the world is so pressing that he needs to hurry and finish with this patient before he moves on...
The tech gets the local anesthetic and preps it on Hero Doc's table.
He continues to sew without it.
It was at this point, that it dawns on me, that Hero Doc is an apparent sadist, and quite possibly a He-Man Woman Hater.
The poor mother is sobbing, and trying to writhe in agony in a way that she hopes will not annoy her was really pitiful to watch.
I enlisted the help of her labor nurse (i.e. dug my elbows into her ribs) to prevail upon Hero Doc the prudence of using the lidocaine.
Hero Doc gave up and used the local, but he was really digging and gouging at her, a touch more than was really necessary.
It was then that I was wondering how he would like someone suturing his scrotum without local. 
I knew if I said anything to him, it would get ugly fast. So I squeezed Mum's hand, and encouraged her breathing.
But you better believe I a) glared two laser holes into the back of Hero Doc's head, b) ripped him a new one to the charge nurse, and c) wrote his ass up.
What a disgusting, miserable person, that can suture his patient, knowing she can feel every stitch...!
It was all I could do to stop from grabbing his hand. Good thing Mum had a death grip on mine.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I'm learning a lot about myself.
I hate...abhor...and Loathe the overwhelming fact, that I am a procrastinator of the worst sort.
I just want to get to the meat of being a midwife, already.

Or do I?
Is this dragging of feet a subconscious plea to wait, and listen? That maybe midwifery isn't really for me?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The plan was always five steps:
    a) become a Doula
    b) get the associate nursing degree
    c) finish the bachelor nursing degree
    d) tackle the master's midwifery degree
    e) open the birth center

And so, here I am. On the eve of step four. I'm amazed that I've made it this far. Not because I doubted myself, I just didn't realize it would happen so fast. Or maybe I've been so intent on the journey, that I forgot all about the destination. That there actually is a destination.

But here I am. I have reached the peak of the mountain, and the view is...
More peaks ahead. Rough climbing. Solo-work. Social excommunication. And the nagging feeling of being tethered down, of staying in one place.
The rest of my life written.
I've always enjoyed the luxury of thinking, "One day, I will live in a gigantic, drafty, crumbly Italian villa, or cozy English cottage...I will travel frequently, and study flamenco in Spain. I will probably live in France for awhile and have a brief romance with a nerdy-but-charming French bookseller...I will do all of that and so much more."

But in the shower this morning, it occurred to me, that the odds are I will never do any of that. Especially if I stay here, devote myself to a midwifery practice and potentially open a birth center. There would be no room for any of those other things.
And it sort of saddens me, that the luxury of my youthful dreaming is so quickly running out.
I feel this loss keenly.
And it makes me doubt myself, and the foundations I have laid.

The Importance of Waiting

To A Delivery

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I am in my first term of midwifery school, and it's been a long journey to get to this point, so I am determined to savor every single drop of this experience.
I feel like this is the first profound thing I have done with my soul purpose in mind. Not "sole" purpose, but S.O.U.L. purpose. What I am meant to do. The work that my soul demands that I do.
Feminism, female-ness, birth, feminist theory, the relation of women to women fascinates me.
It captivates me and resonates in me.

As I am writing a paper on the history of midwifery in America, I am struck, finally, by a sense of innate belonging.
Something I have heretofore glimpsed, only.

I'm a mixed woman, from a poor family. Growing up, it was mostly my mum and I alone, in my formative years. My mum's family know very little of where they came from, and our ties to one another are, sadly, not very strong at all.
The older I get, the more I have come to regret and resent my lack of heritage.
I grieve for the lack of strong women and strong female ties in my upbringing. 

It is this grieving, regret, and resentment that have caused me to "mother" myself.

I have found my history in the history of American midwives. I have found it in the thousands of women-healers burned during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Europe during the Inquisition.
Those were my ancestors.
I'm not sure of the exact linear relations, but I know the blood of these women flows through my veins.

I speak with their voices, and see through their eyes.

I look at my hands, and realize that, these hands, in new skin, have been around for centuries.
They've caught babies for thousands of years.

This is my history.