The Moment I Knew I Could Be a Midwife
As a hospital nurse, I was often advocating for my clients, a mediator between them and their various healthcare providers. One afternoon as a labor and delivery nurse, I heard a mother screaming and while I recognized the call of a mother nearing birth, I was concerned about the fear in her voice. I thought I could offer her nurse some assistance so headed towards the labor room from which I heard this mother's plea. All rooms were empty however in that particular hallway, which caused me to more frantically search. Soon I opened a bathroom door in which I found a Hispanic woman, standing and beating on the opposite door, umbilical cord trailing from behind her directly into the toilet which was completely consumed in blood. Without a second thought, I reached into the toilet and brought out her child. He was alert, took his first breath and I immediately realized the only distress in the room was this newborn's mother who believed her child was drowning. She was completely unaware of my presence, so I held her son as I turned her towards me and although I was unable to communicate with her in Spanish, I tried to express that her son was doing very well. I began drying him off by rubbing him on my scrub top and then quickly laid him within her gown. I will never forget the gratitude in this momma's face and the perkiness in this little boy's eyes. The entourage of residents, medical students, and nurses soon arrived so in effort to protect them from the chaos, I wrapped myself around this new couple as I escorted them to the bed, keeping baby warm on mom's chest and reassuring her that he was pink and breathing. Then I realized I was covered in blood and vernix, and toilet water. The newly arriving staff demanded that I step back and I quickly realized they were irate that I hadn't taken baby to the warmer (although it had never been turned on), that I hadn't cut the cord immediately, that I hadn't laid the mother down on the floor... I knew I was going to be reprimanded, but I also knew at that moment that I would and COULD become a midwife. I was the only person in the room that thought clearly, that realized the real need was to reassure this mother. I was the only one that looked at her, that spoke to her, and I was the only one that realized the best place for this baby was on his momma. I knew I may never live up to my own expectations, but I would be better than the options currently available to women. It was that moment more than ten years ago that caused me to take my first step in faith, towards becoming a midwife.