Today, I had my first day as a Midwifery Apprentice.
Our story starts… OK, no wait, before that… further… OK. So like, nine years ago, a group of CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) at a birth center in CA betrayed me, by their allopathic thinking, into a completely unnecessary and traumatic cesarean. I spent years healing. I spent years being angry. And at this stage, having had two homebirths, I have spent years yelling, shaking my fist, getting anyone who will listen to listen to me.
Because of my big mouth and strong opinions, I’ve ended up traveling around the world, to other countries and all over this one, talking to people about birth, about information technology, about social media, and about justice.
And finally, Carla Hartley called me on my foo, and asked me when I was finally going to become a midwife.
I scoffed. I denied. I wriggled like a worm on a hook. And one after another after another of my friends shone the Flashlight of God ™ on me and said “No, really, you big chicken, what are you waiting for?” And they were, one and all, right. The final step in truly being an advocate, I think, is to be able to say “I believe so deeply, in birth, in birthing women, in the strength of my convictions that birth just works, that I am going to stand between the candle and the dark, and do this thing.”
I started in on AAMI, and plowed promptly through the first two Phases of coursework. AAMI is famous for being a tough curriculum, and well, it is. But in a gorgeous, fulfilling, “oh my gosh, you mean it works like *that*???” kind of way. Little lightbulbs of joy and knowledge popping off all the time.
Then, we found out that Jason was getting transferred to San Diego, to work in the Rig Shop at West Marine there. So I pinged Carla, and asked her to keep her ear out for a possible apprenticeship for me, since I know no one in San Diego, and am totally ignorant of the birth climate there. And in a beautiful bit of serendipity, Celesta Rannisi, not three days after I called Carla, called Carla, to ask if she knew of any potential apprentices.
The rest, as they say, is history. Except that it’s only been like two months.
So today, I went up to Celesta’s house, and attended prenatals. There’s always a bit of nervousness there, for me. Because of my start in birth, and because of years on cesarean recovery/support groups, I have an overdeveloped sense of red flagg-ery. I am, admittedly, hypersensitive about things that can go wrong. And I was kind of on pins and needles, wondering where in my personal disaster cosmology Celesta was going to fall.
And it was so, so, so good. I saw how she handled a client with all kinds of fear, I saw how she dealt with a client with all kinds of stress, I saw how she dealt with a client with all kinds of old pain (yeah, in one day of prenatals. Midwives are tough, tough people, and I can see that infinite compassion is totally called-for here). I see a lot of skill, and a lot of patience, and the kind of drama-minimization skills that make the world a better place.
I am, in a word, happy.
I am also, in a few more words, on call for a while, and getting ready to attend a bucketload of births, add my massage practice to the midwifery practice, and add my mad geek skillz to the practice, in terms of social media and web presence.
Let the adventure begin…