I started thinking about midwifery and home birth when I was about 15 years old. I read books by Sheila Kitzinger. The desire to be a midwife came and went throughout the next, nearly 20 years. I’m still not sure entirely why God, in His manifold wisdom, has waited until now to bring this to fruition, but I have faith that He has the perfect timing. Midwifery is all about who I am as a person, my maturity and people skills, for example, not just a certain level of technical knowledge. So my all-around development over the past 20 years is serving me now, too. It certainly was not wasted time.
I labeled this post “trauma” because that is actually one main factor that has led me to this current study. Certainly not only trauma because I have the long-lasting interest and desire of the last 20 years behind me, too. But the trauma of actually observing births here in Ukraine has moved me so greatly. And sadly, what I have actually seen is not even a drop in the bucket compared to what has and probably still is going on in some places. I watched my friend’s birth in a birth house about two years ago. I cried several times a day and had insomnia for some period after. The more I study the perfect orchestration of birth and the exquisite sensitivity of the bourning and newborn baby, the more it troubles and grieves me what is happening. Another friend recently gave birth. “Aggressive,” was the main descriptive. I am still disturbed about it, just imagining what I know and have seen happen. “Only at home,” she tells me, for the next birth. Really? Will she be able to make the enormous leap of fearing the 100% chance of birth interference more than fearing the minor-% chance that something split-second will go wrong at home? It’s such a hard chasm for most people to cross over.
It was exactly this type of situation that brought me to the “triumph” part, if you want to call it that. This summer, after deciding that I should just shelve midwifery for a few years while my kids grow up, I drove a sweet couple to their birth hospital when she was in the throes of labor–she called me at 6am saying she was having contractions. I said call me back in 30 min and tell me what the change is–I hardly knew them, but I’m the one they call. Then I put in my contacts and sat at the computer, and I just had “this feeling” that I needed to hurry. I called back at 6:15am, said I was bringing the van and would drive them wherever. I dressed and loaded up the sleeping girls (Vitaliy was out of town), and went a few streets over to their tiny apartment. She was in the bathtub, and boy, was that uterus working so beautifully.
I helped get their stuff in the car. And her and him and a pillow. We started driving to birth hospital . . . 1? was it? (they number them). Do I drive fast to get there? Slow so not to bother her? She was pushing by the time we pulled in. I left them there. She had her baby out about 20 minutes later. A few hours after that she called and I asked how it was. They weren’t really nice to her . . . and all the memories of that first birth I’d seen started flooding back. I cried (by myself), I cry now after hearing about my friends’ birth hospital births. It’s crazy; I need a therapist. Fortunately, I have God and His Word, the ability to forgive, grace to go on in a healthy way.
And that was the turning point. I wanted to study. I couldn’t wait. They were birthing, my dear, sweet Ukrainian ladies who shouldn’t be yelled at, shamed, subjected to needless and dangerous birthing practices. . . .
I woke up one morning soon after and said to Vitaliy, “I really want to study midwifery.” . . . . “OK,” he said.” . . . “OK?” . . . I read this advice once in a marriage book–just state simply what you want; don’t hint, nag, suggest. (You get the idea.) We decided to empty out the $4k in our ROTH IRA to pay for it–Ancient Art Midwifery Institute–the hardest midwifery school known to man (er, woman). Then a girl I’ve never even met, a friend through my brother, on FB–I asked her what she thought of the course–and she mentioned to me that the director had a 1/2-price deal going on. And that, in short, is how it started. We had some money left over from purchasing our house (the house was $9k and we had $11k in hand), and then, a few weeks later, an acqaintance couple from a not-on-any-map town in WV gave us $1k just for my midwifery studies–I have to order books and stuff like that every month.
So that’s the triumph part. I just am living in this “drive” mode that I MUST study. Paul said that he labored more than all the other apostles, but it wasn’t him but the grace of God in him. And that’s what I feel like right now. I have put on my blinders and am focusing on studying midwifery (and a few select other things, like my family and ladies’ ministries). People are already asking me if I will be able to help with their births in a few years, so it helps having real faces in my head as I do my work.
I wil post more about my studies soon, but that’s my full and overflowing heart right now. As Skyla and Vika say so often, “Thank You, God!”
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