Homeschoolin' Midwife - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 03-20-2004, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wrote this up for a zine - comments? criticisms? misspellings? grammatical errors?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It’s 7:20am and the front door closes too loudly as my husband leaves for work. My ten-year-old daughter, B, climbs down out of her loft bed in her room and I feel her slide in bed next to me.

“Mama, what are we doing today?”

I’m so tired. I’m such a lazy mama. If I could, I’d stay in bed until 10. She watches too much TV as it is and anytime that I spend sleeping in is time that she spends in front of the TV. I realize, too, that I have a couple appointments today. I know exactly how my daughter wants me to answer her question: bike riding, a fun trip to Auntie Hallie’s, the library, a bookstore…

“Well, we’re gonna have some breakfast, then I have a few appointments,” I tell her.

“Who are the appointments with?”

“Ummmm….Lisa and then Carla.”

“UUUUUUHHHHH! I hate going to Carla’s!” Carla’s two and a half year old daughter is a chore for B. Normally, she does so well keeping siblings occupied while I’m doing prenatals. Unfortunately, Carla’s daughter is very wild and loves B. It’s a lot more work than she bargains for with this little one.

She plays with a friendly dog outside during the first prenatal. All is well, both she and the dog are completely out of breath by the end of the appointment. We head over to Carla’s. I attempt a quick pep talk, bribing her with some cold hard cash for her work with Carla’s daughter, Mollie. She’s not complaining as much, but clearly she’s not looking forward to this.

We get to Carla’s house and knock on the door. Immediately, I hear Mollie scream, "B!!!" B ducks behind me, sighing and moaning under her breath. I put on my happy midwife face.

As I get settled in next to Carla on the couch, Mollie happily grabs B’s hand and drags her off to another part of the house where there are toys. They emerge a couple minutes later with a big box of wooden blocks. I am conducting the prenatal, while also keeping B and Mollie in my view, too. I suddenly see Mollie get up and jump on B’s back, pulling at B’s long hair like they were reigns. B cringes, says, "Please, Mollie, don’t pull my hair, come on, please get off my back." I am so amazed by her patience and gentle redirection with this crazed toddler.

By the time we’re palpating mama’s belly, Mollie is throwing wooden blocks at my poor daughter. Her mother, unaware how to discipline her daughter or set boundaries for her behavior, is managing weak statements, "Oh, Moll, please don’t do that. We don’t throw." I’m trying to help my daughter, and then Mollie is on her mom’s belly, grabbing at my doppler and my tape measure. I’m struggling to keep my equipment hidden or zipped up so they don’t disappear with Mollie.

I glance over at one point to see Mollie taking B’s hand. She grabs B’s index finger and sticks it up inside her nose. B is freaked. I could tell that having her own finger in her own nose is one thing, but to have her finger forcibly put up a toddler’s nose is too much. She is losing patience. She is trying so hard. I offer her "the look" which means that I will wrap this up as soon as possible.

Carla asks me, since she is a week past her due date, if I would check her cervix. I glance at B, wondering how she would do here with Mollie for another fifteen minutes or so. By the look on her face, I know. Still, I tell the mom sure and grab my glove and lube as we head to the bedroom.

The mom leaves the door open, not worrying about B or her daughter. I am starting to do the exam when in bounds Mollie; she runs for the bed, hopping on her mom, all over the large swollen belly filled with baby. B runs in after her and is caught short by the sight of what we’re doing. I think this is the first time she’s seen me doing this at all. I smile at her and tell her what we’re doing. She knows all about the mechanics of birth, and either understands or doesn’t care to ask questions. I began to think about how weird that must be for so many people, and how normal this is for my daughter.

She’s relieved when we leave their house. She heads out to the car even before we can finish scheduling the next prenatal. I hear her bitch in the car about the visit; the horrors put upon her by this seemingly small and innocent girl. I empathize, thank her profusely and promise that next time I’ll find a friend’s house she can go to.

In the last year, B has been invited to two births. The first birth was a mama with a four-year-old son that was smitten with B. If weather permitted, she was planning an outdoor waterbirth. We were all excited and B was thrilled to be with me and get to witness a birth.

When the mama went into labor, it was 10:30 in the morning. Perfect. I get my things and B and we head out. B is playing with her son in the lovely summer sun, and by 3 that afternoon the mom is pushing. She’s in the birth pool, on her hands and knees. B has her son on her lap, holding him up as they both have a great view of the baby emerging in the caul [in the water bag] under the water. Then, a small piece of poo goes floating by. I nonchalantly swoosh it out of the way, but I catch B’s face in the corner of my eye - she is appalled. I smile and the baby emerges in to my hands, the vernix exploding out of the water bag as it breaks, catching the sunlight in the birth pool. It was a beautiful, short birth.

Of course, all the way home, I heard about the poo in the water. She was mortified. She used to talk about wanting a waterbirth, but now she is totally freaked out about it. I kept wanting to talk about the baby being born in the caul and what an auspicious sign it is in some cultures and she returns to the topic of excrement.

The second birth she attended with me was a client who was having her eleventh baby. A large family to my only child was heaven. Of course, given an hour at a time, all these siblings can appear fun without any of the hassles. B and three of the sisters were there for this little one’s birth. It took all night, and the younger girls and B giggled until the wee hours of the morning, which stressed me out. I don’t mind if their kids are making noise, but I’m so self-conscious about my own daughter disrupting labor. I was relieved when they all fell asleep.

They woke up in the morning to mom getting ready to push her baby out. She was in the tub, but decided to stand up suddenly, feeling like she couldn’t do it any longer. Suddenly, this little boy comes falling out of his mother and I am lucky enough to catch him in mid-air. The girls, B included, are wide-eyed and excited. The dad cleans out the tub and we do our normal after birth stuff and we leave.

B tells me on the way home that there was poo in the tub when the baby came. Out of all the things she could have taken away from these two births, the poo was the most memorable. I laugh, realizing that the beauty of birth is not as important to her as the other things that catch her attention.

I have fantasies of one day having B come to more births with me. Perhaps when she’s a bit older and has more patience. She’s so great with the children that I see her being such a welcome addition to the birth team. I’m grateful that she gets to see such normalcy around birth and women’s health: no fearful language, just intimate relationship building and gentle, loving support.

It’s hard to remember that she’s not even ten yet. I need to be aware of how much I expect from her and how much she is exposed to. I realized this winter that she picks up on so much information from my interactions with clients. As I came back from the bathroom during one prenatal, I heard her telling my client how she could turn her baby from posterior to anterior through various exercises. I know there must be so much more [including risque information!] that she absorbs.

For now, I’m working hard to balance my home life, homeschooling and midwifery. Unfortunately, progress of labor and women’s anatomy is not covered on the state tests!
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#2 of 16 Old 03-20-2004, 05:02 AM
 
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That was such a fun insight into your life as a midwife mama! dd is up so i gotta dash-- wonderful though!
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#3 of 16 Old 03-20-2004, 09:12 AM
 
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I love it!!!
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#4 of 16 Old 03-20-2004, 09:39 AM
 
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This is so good! My midwife's daughter is 17 and has attended more than 70 births already ! Your daughter sounds like she's on her way .

~~Kristina~~ Mama to DS(10/30/01), DD1(VBAC 3/28/04) and DD2(HBAC 5/21/06)
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#5 of 16 Old 03-20-2004, 11:22 AM
 
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Oh, Pam, what a neat story!! It makes me want to become a midwife and homeschool my daughter, so she could grow up absorbing all these wonderful experiences! Your daughter is so so lucky.

I have to laugh about B's obsession with the poop- as you said, children have their own ideas about what is fascinating. I gave my daughter several disposble camaras to take pictures during my labor (she was four.) She loved taking pictures of the sink in the hospital! (It was automatic and the flash from camara would trigger the water to come on.) She also took a LOT of pictures of her doll at the hospital- her doll in the bassinet, her doll in grandma's arms. She did take one or two of her new brother- one or two out of 48 pics, LOL!!

(PS- I think I got the idea of giving her a camara from your website, btw.) We have a great scrapbook created from these pictures!
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#6 of 16 Old 03-20-2004, 12:50 PM
 
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Aww.... I loved reading that.

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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#7 of 16 Old 03-20-2004, 02:15 PM
 
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That was great--your daughter sounds so sweet
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#8 of 16 Old 03-20-2004, 02:20 PM
 
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So beautiful!
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#9 of 16 Old 03-20-2004, 08:59 PM
 
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Great story! Very interesting and easy to follow.

I plan to have a waterbirth with this baby. I too am obsessed with the poo part, so I understand where your daughter is coming from.

DS 6 DD 8
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#10 of 16 Old 03-21-2004, 12:45 AM
 
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I think this piece is very engaging and accessible (did I spell that right??). It's a unique perspective. And I think it reflects both the amazing opportunities of homeschooling as well as a few of the anxieties that so commonly accompany homeschooling (well, and parenting).

On a personal note, what a super situation for your daughter. You must know that even if she starts hating anything to do with midwifery (unlikely) or grows up to become an engineer, her whole outlook on life will have been informed by the experiences she's had accompanying you. What a facinating person she will be, the one I'd most like to talk to at a party, yk?

Tracy, doula and Army wife and homeschooling mama to A and E
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#11 of 16 Old 03-21-2004, 05:38 PM
 
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I so enjoyed reading this! How I wish all girls could learn about human bodies, pregnancy, and childbirth in such a positive, empowering way.
I especially enjoyed your paragraph pointing out how your dd's perspective on birth was different yours. I can imagine her face when she saw the poo float by. :LOL

I totally understand why you wouldn't use your dd's full name, but I noticed that you chose to use Carla and Mollie's names. Maybe it would be more congruous to use Carla and Mollie's initials too? Or to use fake names for everyone, including your dd?

Rainbow.gif ~ Molly
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#12 of 16 Old 03-21-2004, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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repeat
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#13 of 16 Old 03-21-2004, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I used fake names for my clients and their children. I simply used my daughter's initial for another medium, in which I didn't want her name known and merely forgot to change it here. Her name is Bailey. - what is funny is we call her B alot.
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#14 of 16 Old 03-22-2004, 02:50 AM
 
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I loved it!
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#15 of 16 Old 03-23-2004, 11:46 AM
 
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I thoroughly enjoyed your story--and the myriad contributions you make to this community. What a wonderful way for your daughter to learn about life and birth!

Off topic almost, but what about early labor enemas to deal with the poop problem? I have no issues with you just swiping it away, but if a laboring mama has poop concerns, the age-old, out of fashion enema seems like a great solution. I did one with my first labor because my experienced homebirthing naturopath friend suggested it might speed up my labor and feel better to have my system cleaned out. An added bonus was that nothing had to come out of that tender, sore region of my body for a couple of days...

I agree that enemas shouldn't be standard because poop is shameful and women are dirty, but it seems like the proverbial baby might have gotten thrown out with the bathwater here. I think there may be other excellent reasons to have an enema during labor. What is your opinion?

Blessings,
Sarah
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#16 of 16 Old 03-23-2004, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I highly suggest enemas for the mamas who are worried about poo. I would rather have it taken care of in labor and not affect pushing efforts. Most definitely. It has been used by quite a few of my clients.

For the two clients in the story, however, it was not an issue for them. LOL!
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