Thursday, February 14, 2008

Five Gratefuls

On days when you're feeling a little shaky, thinking "why me" thoughts and wondering if the sun's ever gonna shine again, try this. Make a list of 5 things you are grateful for on that very day. Amy taught me this simple therapy and it really has saved my day - many times. It's even cool on days that are smooth sailing. On this Happy Valentines Day, this is my list of 5 Gratefuls.
1. Pink frosted sugar cookies - a warm fuzzy memory from as far back in my memory as I can go. We made a list of our special friends and Mom personalized cookies for them.
2. Presley's teeny little red polished toenails.
3. An e-mail from my Valentine; we celebrate 33 married years together on this LOVE DAY, a package from Washington and cards from the home girls.
4. The family circling 'round to help Lindsay cope with a long week of severe hives.
5. Memories of a spontaneous trip to Seattle with Chuck a few weeks ago. It was filled with unexpected joys like an exquisite breakfast in front of a fireplace, new shoes, walking to Pike's in the rain with twin umbrellas, finding my favorite Mexican Chocolate candle, taking a snuggly nap in our room with the sun shining in, browse time in Elliot's bookstore and so much more.
I really don't want to stop at 5 but I'll save some for another day.
How 'bout sharing your 5 Gratefuls?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

'til we meet again

Today was B.'s 6 week post partum visit. They are always bittersweet for me. 2 year old E. opened the door and welcomed me with a hug as she squealed to her mama, "Cathy's here" just like she did for all of the prenatal home visits. I flashed back to those visits that started early last summer. The children always came running, eager to listen to their own heartbeats, have their temps taken and touch their mama's belly. They taught me about raising baby chicks and making apricot jam. Their home was respite for me more than once. One tired morning when I just didn't want to start up, I drove to B.'s house. Her kind spirit and happy children with gifts of artwork lifted me. As I got in my car to leave, I looked up and saw 4 little faces and a mama in the picture window waving good-bye. Driving away, the tears started to fall. I remember saying out loud, "I am so blessed to be welcomed into this family's space. I love my work. I love this family so much." Seasons passed, the Christmas tree went up and we knew a baby would soon be born under those lights. With 3 girls and 1 boy, hopes for a baby brother ran high.
Today Baby Brother N. was so chubby and smiley; the adoring siblings were generous with their kisses and hugs. Dad was home, too, so it was a great little family gathering time. Did I already say I love this family so much? I was midwife for Baby E. a couple of years ago and they make me feel like an honored auntie or something. We took some pictures and lingered a bit longer than usual knowing this was the end of another childbearing year, the end of our visits. As I finally said good-bye, B. surprised me with the coolest gift. As I prepare to leave the safe nest at Better Birth and fly off on my own, she knew I would need so many supples of my own. She gave me a new set of birth towels and cohosh tinctures tied with a big bow. What a great addition to my basket of postpartum supplies gathered by a favorite Tri-Cities mama, Karen Sharp. Then Daddy D. gave me a big basket of pretty bath goodies, for relaxing after long births he said. Next, out came a pretty box with pictures for me, one especially sweet one was even framed. We all hugged again and D. helped me carry the gifts to my car. His parting words were, "Our family isn't complete yet. We'll be calling you again." Once again, I said to myself as I drove off, "I am blessed. I love my work. I love this family."

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Work

A recent edition of the MCU newsletter included the winning student essay in the "Why I am a Midwife" competition. Since it has been published, I feel safe in quoting the author, Christina Shaffer, here in blog world.
"It's about how, at 3 in the morning, you can crouch, tired, sweaty and hungry, with your legs asleep and your back aching, arms wet up to the shoulders from leaning to far into the birth pool, and not be concerned about any of it. Because as you crouch there, what matters is that your hands are helping to support the emerging head. You know that yours are the first hands EVER to touch this baby. And with your eyes wide and glowing, you get to be RIGHT THERE as the universe shifts to make room for this whole new person who's being born."
Midwifery is all about hands and heart. I appreciated this reminder today to keep both of those parts of myself pure and worthy for the task that is mine - to support women with all of my heart and guide their babies with gentle hands.