when words fail me, which is often, I paint. When words work for me and are available on time, I am surprised.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In and Out

One day you're in, the next you are out.
I am not talking about the in and out of favor of the Hollywood type, but of the desire to attend women in labor. I began studying Midwifery when I was 18 years old and pregnant with my first son. My mentor and favorite midwife of all times, lived down the dirt road from me. I lived in a 12X12ft. cabin with no indoor plumbing. I studied everything I could get my hands on. I talked about births with Meg O and would attend seminars and weekend workshops but I needed to get to births other than my own.
By the time I was 23, I was the proud single welfare -mother of two babies. I had no child support, no job skills and no real family close by. I wanted to move closer to my family, but I did not want them to see how "unsuccessful" I had become.
Giving birth to two beautiful healthy boys was not good enough, you know, I am Jewish, I needed to be something. Someone educated, to be respected, or so I thought.
I applied to one of those grueling midwifery apprenticeships on the Mexican border. Midwifery boot camp.
Six months, no sleep. Six months, 55 births and my 2 year old son forgot who I was. He only recognized me (if I was able to escape the compound for more than an hour)by the reaction of his brother. His older brother, he was four, would shout with unquenchable excitement, "MOM-MOM" whenever I could get across the border to visit.
It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Hardest on my heart; but it was also one of the most spectacular and rewarding. It seems strange but those births, the women the babies, the other apprentices, the border, all amazing.
I still attend the occasional birth. I no longer have the ability to give birth myself. I sometimes assist women with pre-natal instruction and hypnosis for birthing.
I recently decided to become more active in the birthing community and like I say, one day you are in, the next day you are out.
It's a dangerous game in today's society. Persecution, comes from three sides of the fence. Do I trust the women of our current society? The pious and the litigious? And then there are the midwives with their economic competition and their push to be able to be legal, licensed by the board of medicine, accept insurance and medicaid, without paying in to the system. Third side, the Doctors and the CNMs who have to cease attending births and loose all that money because they cannot afford the malpractice insurance; they cannot practice without it by law. But the Midwives can practice now, if they comply and pay the Board of medicine.

I received a call the other day, a woman due to have her first baby in April. Elation.
You're in, you're out.MY website has been updated by a pro


thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Your time along the border sounds like an adventure, actually.

And does this mean you're back in?

M@ said...

I now understand why you think I'm rich. You have had an interesting life, Stacy.

You should write more about the Mexican midwifery boot camp. I know nothing of this. So you were trained in Mexico where a regulatory environment allows such schools?

I hope I never have to pass a gall stone, by the way. They don't have specially-trained Mexicans for that.

Technomonk said...

I am also interested in hearing more about this midwife bootcamp. 55 births!

Also, the dirt road and 12 by 12 house sounds like they have some interesting stories behind them too.

Jerri said...

Like every one else, I want to hear more about the boot camp and the cabin.

And I clicked over to Take Back the Birth. LOVE your art there. So full of possibility.

Do write more about these adventures, Stacy. Soon, if possible.

Laura said...

Stacy, if I ever decide to have another baby (that's a big IF!) I'll fly you out to help me birth in my bathtub! I really was eying the tub when my youngest was born three years ago. My water had just broken, and I knew the car ride to the hospital wouldn't be fun, and I really wanted to just stay home. But no. Too wimpy to trust myself. Of course, when he was born 6 minutes after we got to the hospital with no complications, I was kicking myself -- I could have been home in bed, instead of in an ugly hospital room with "soothing" colors and not-so-soothing florescent lighting.

Your midwife bootcamp sounds wonderful, in a hard working way!

Stacy said...

TWPITG- I am afraid so.

M@- it's actually on the border, El Paso. Midwifery is legal and there are 2 midwifery "schools"/ clinics on the border serving mostly Hispanic women who can get across the border and have a US baby. It gets complicated when you have to take them to the hospital-oh, that's story stuff.

Technomonk-nice to see you back, love your name. If I get started on either of them, I may not stop.

Jerri- when possible is key, my writing time is suffering a great loss.

Oh Laura- I am so there, forgive yourself for the wimping out thing- it's a cultural mass hysteria sham. Doctors convinced women they needed them to give birth after they had been doing a fine job for millions of years. Really suggestible these humans!

Mariposa said...

Keep coming back in. What you give is priceless.