As a young mother of twenty three, I stood at the crossroad with my heart in my hand. Going one direction was the liberal arts education and the new computer software career. Cutting straight across was the mystery, pain and joy of birthing my new baby daughter. When my eyes opened to this amazing and earth shaking event, I saw clearly that I would not give birth again anywhere that my healthy newborn could be taken out of my arms and whisked away to a separate nursery. I also wished that I would one day have a role in bringing human values back to birth care.
Off to Chicago to become a Certified Childbirth Educator with the Association for Childbirth at Home, International. Teach parents, I thought, and they won’t put up with shenanigans in the labor room and the delivery room.
My first home birth, a baby girl, and it was like angels were there. Then when my baby was 10 weeks old, I had my first “catch,” down in West Philly, with my mentor Betsy by my side.
Back to the land in Northern PA with my precious family, a new baby boy in 1980 and nursing school 1981-1983. Still teaching childbirth classes, and witness to another 60 or so births.
Applied to midwifery school, but Oh MY! another baby girl to bless us! Guess I’ll start next year.
A newly minted CNM, working at Familyborn, the free-standing birth center in Princeton, and the big prize: I worked for the first time with Pam! We knew right away. AND our hospital instituted its first “No Separation Policy,” for the first time keeping babies with their mothers, part of my dream coming true.
Pam and I attended our first Midwifery Care Associates home birth in January. Again, it was like angels were there.
Fast Forward 15 years: 2006
Home birth of my first grandchild. Pam was the midwife (but I was allowed to be there) as our student Nicole deftly assisted my son in law in the catch. My old friend and mentor Betsy, who caught this same daughter, sitting behind her, crooning support and wiping her brow.
The beautiful baby girl, with generations rolling forward one notch.
But best of all was the realization that as heady an experience as it was, and as personal as it was, we really hadn’t done anything special in caring for my daughter than we would not have done for you, or any of the other precious mothers under our care.
It turned out to be true, that we do care for you like we would our own family. And, in fact, we did.
The years have come and gone. Home birth is a safe, legal and available option in my home community and beyond. Women are listened to, women are respected, their feelings honored. Babies stay right with the mothers. With Pam in the lead, and Heather working with us going on four years, and with our dear Danielle coming up and taking on her full role, I know my mission continues in service and love.