Brave Woman

Adventures of a future nurse-midwife



Posted by Lucille on October 8, 2016 at 5:40 PM

I had a month off between nursing school and the start of the midwifery program. At the start of the break I wondered what I would do with myself for a whole month. I knew I needed to catch my breath, but a month still seemed like a long time. I was wrong. A month was exactly as long as I needed.

To be fair, it was an eventful month. I graduated, got engaged, went to California and back with camping stops both ways, got my nursing license, applied for and accepted a part time job at a continuing care retirement center, and read three books. I actually started to feel self conscious about the social media floods of congratulations happening one after another. The nature of life, or at least mine, tends to be that the exciting things are the ones I can shout from the rooftops, while the stressful things intimately involve other people and are thus not mine to share. Which is not to say that I have any deep dark secrets, just that life is always more than the highlight reel...and yet this might be all the more reason to share and celebrate the good stuff.

All of this is just to say that life is pretty great right now and I'm soaking it in. There are a few more days left of break, and I intend to fit at least a few more baths and lazy mornings full of cat cuddles into them.

My brain is starting to accept that I am really going to be a midwife. This is not a fluke computer error. This is real. This is happening.

One year from now, I will be catching babies.

The first time I realized that, it terrified me. But then I paused to think about the unbelievable amount I have learned this year. If I learn as much in the next year as I did in the last one, I am going to be ready. Or ready to be not-ready, whatever the case may be.

I brought photos of my birth to the unit over the summer and someone recognized the nurse in the photos. She had retired, but I was able to look up her phone number and get in touch with her. We marveled at the circle of life in that I was helping to welcome babies in the very same room where she had helped to welcome me. The rest of the summer, every time I welcomed a baby I wondered whether I held a little future nurse, midwife, or other healer in my hands, and whether any of these babies would call me someday when I'm retired (or maybe we'll be telepathing each other by then, you never know) to say that they were picking up the torch.

As the daughter of a musician, I felt embarrassed growing up that despite years of piano and drum lessons, playing music never clicked with me. I loved to sing and dance, but I didn't feel music in my hands. Lately I have been feeling my hands tingling with anticipation. A year from now, these hands will be the first things that brand new people feel on the outside of the womb. These hands will carefully suture tears to promote lifelong pelvic health. They will teach breastfeeding skills. They will guide people through their first and fiftieth pelvic exams. Over my life, I expect they will do these things thousands of times, until my birth tree painting is just a solid canvas of pink and I have to start adding petals to the walls.

But first, it will all be new. 

I feel new. I am the oldest I've ever been, and in some ways this is the end of a journey, and in many more ways it is a brand new beginning. It's strange to feel like I have spring bursting out of my ears when the leaves are changing colors outside.

At least I have my Halloween costume ready!

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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.