Brave Woman

Adventures of a future nurse-midwife

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Health Clinic

Posted by Lucille on June 5, 2012 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I decided to go to a birth control consultation to ask about IUDs. I was nervous because I'd never been to a male gynecologist before. I was the last appointment of the day, so we got to chat for a while. I would absolutely go back. Though this is by no means true for everyone in that field, there are advantages to being of the opposite gender in reproductive healthcare. You have the opportunity to go into patient interactions without any assumptions about how things will feel based on your own body, or emotional baggage. I felt much more comfortable with this doctor than with every female gynecologist I've been to. 

       Eventually the conversation moved to specifics.

       "The process is a lot like getting a pap smear."

       "I've never had a pap smear."

        He stopped, looking confused. "Oh. Well then." He grabbed a laminated sheet from the counter. "Let's start with basics. This here is the vagina, and right up there at the top, that's called the cervix. It's the opening to the uterus."

       I smiled.

       "Yes?"

       "Oh, sorry. It's just that...I'm a doula. I'm familiar with the anatomy."

       "Wow. How did you get into that?"

       "Well I was volunteering in a maternity ward in Africa last summer..."

       I left with an application for an internship.

PDX Doulas

Posted by Lucille on June 5, 2012 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

There is a volunteer group up at OHSU, for which you work a twelve hour shift of being on-call three times a month, on the weekend...something I could actually do while going to school full time. It is a long application process, though. There's an advanced training, then application, then an interview, possibly a second interview, and then eventually the mentorship before you become an official volunteer. Fingers crossed!

Posters Are the Best Medicine

Posted by Lucille on June 5, 2012 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

A friend from high school who has been struggling with depression was recently admitted to the psych ward. She wasn't allowed visitors, calls, or gifts, but she was allowed posters to decorate her room. Consequently, a bunch of friends from high school got together in my room for a poster-making party.

Our friend has since gone home and is doing much better.

Leaping and Looking

Posted by Lucille on June 5, 2012 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I got home and started digging through the cupboards for a vase.

       "Where did the flowers come from, sweetie?" Mom asked.

"M. He showed up in a suit before I was back from class, and my roommate told him to hide in the closet and surprise me."

"Aw, how sweet!"

"What's the occasion?" Dad asked.

"No occasion. Just flowers."

"I mean...he didn't...propose or anything, did he?"

"Dad. He proposed the first week we were dating. Something about not wanting a whole bunch of Gambian men to have a lead on him."

"He what? What did you say?!"

"Ask me again in ten years."

"Good girl."

Flowers

Posted by Lucille on April 19, 2012 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I got back from class yesterday and started talking with my roommate when I heard a knock. I went to the door and looked outside but there was nobody there. The knocking continued. “Is that the room next door?” I asked, and my roommate shrugged. More knocking. I looked around, confused, and then my closet door opened and Matthew stepped out, in a suit, holding a bouquet of roses. I’m not sure what my face looked like, but my roommate didn’t stop laughing for a long time.

Babies

Posted by Lucille on April 19, 2012 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I was warned about baby lust. And I was warned about guys. But I don’t think I was ever warned about baby lust IN guys. Matthew’s aunt invited us over to meet his newborn cousin. When she put the baby in his arms, he looked so ecstatic that she instantly asked if he was high. He had his hand over his mouth so that his uncontainable joy wouldn’t wake the baby. I’m pretty sure my insides melted.

       I feel out of sync with the timeline of our culture. My body is telling me pretty definitely that this is the time in my life to find a partner and start a family. Actually, at this point it’s telling me that I’m past due. Getting a job I want, though, one that not only can provide for a family but also is fun, and makes me feel like I'm contributing to the world, means staying in school for a few more years. Well, eight. I’m thinking of applying to the PSU childcare center for next year, not so much to make money, but just to keep myself sane.

Sky High

Posted by Lucille on April 19, 2012 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)

M has a brother my brother's age, so this weekend we took them to Sky High, which is a huge warehouse filled with trampolines. There are trampolines on the wall and a foam pit you can do flips into. We played trampoline dodgeball. I think I know where my brother wants to have his birthday this year.

I'm 19!

Posted by Lucille on April 19, 2012 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)

My roommate and I hosted a boardgame night (we played Quelf) in our room that weekend to celebrate. At one point, M was singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, a friend of mine could only talk with her arms crossed and her thumbs in her mouth, another friend was reciting Dr. Seuss in pig latin, my roommate was breathing through a snorkel made out of a hair dryer, I could only speak backwards in French, and every time Travis stood up or sat down, the whole group had to stand up or sit with him. It was infinitely more fun than the parties at Berkeley.

Beach

Posted by Lucille on April 19, 2012 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

So far I’ve been going home every weekend, and I love having the luxury of seeing my family more than every few months. Dad keeps greeting me with a hug and saying, “Welcome to the family compound.”

       This weekend, we decided to all go to the beach. My shoes had gotten wet in the rain, so I pulled out my Africa boots from the back of the closet, still covered in orange dust. It felt surreal putting them on, like drawing a picture in a dream and then waking up and finding it on your refrigerator. When we got to the beach I was planning to wade out into the water slowly and let the water ceremoniously wash the sand from my feet, but just as I reached the water, my little brother came running up behind me and pushed me full-body into the waves. Oh well.

       We played with a mini-parachute for a little while and then drew pictures in the sand around a dead sea otter. My brother and I got a little annoyed with each other on the drive back. In a weird way, I felt like that was another step of coming home. Over Thanksgiving and winter break, he would just smile and hug me, even if I was annoying him on purpose, because he knew I was going to leave again. I like that I’m a regular enough part of his life for him to tease me back.

Hipster Compliments

Posted by Lucille on April 19, 2012 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

“I love your eyebrows. They make no sense.”

“Your ears are so big and pointy, you look like an elf.”

“You’re like everyone’s gay best friend. Except, you know, not gay. Or Jewish.”

"You are completely insane. You just cover up your insanity with logic.”


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HIPAA Disclaimer

Sometimes I have the privilege of being a part of intimate, powerful moments in other people’s lives. I cannot and would not share these stories, because they are not mine to tell. However, they touch my life and become part of my own story. When I share these moments here, you can trust that I have not broken anyone’s confidentiality. The characters are invented. They are not real, but could be. I take creative license to communicate the essence of my experience while respecting the privacy of others.