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The inconvenience – and beauty – of birth

Posted on 21 July 2013 by hulda

I have been a midwife for more than a decade now.  I have always loved my job and found great fulfilment in it.  There are days in between that I find it really hard and in terms of family and hobbies, it is very unfriendly.   Probably around 6 to 10 evenings or nights each month, plus one to two weekends each month are usually taken over by births or breastfeeding problems.  Additionally, we would like to go out on our boat a lot but very often cannot, as we need to be close by shore, should anyone go into labour.  As for Shenzhen trips or Macau weekends, – pretty much never possible.  Most holidays, my husband goes first with the children and is then joined by me. 

Recently I have been training for a 250 km Race in Iceland that will take place in 2 weeks.  This has taken its toll and pretty much all extra time, so my poor babies have been neglected by their mother as a result.  But even this is hard to do when on call.  Who wants a sweaty midwife who has been hiking in 30 degrees for hours, into their birthing room?  So all long distances have been on hold and it is stressful plus I need to have all my equipment with me for the homebirths, so I can never leave the car far away. 

A glass of wine?  Not so much.

A trip to Bali?  Not either.

Birthdays of my kids?  Seldom.

 

Each birth requires at least 4 weeks of commitment around it, and each one I also must hope that it does not overlap with another birth, therefore, not too many can be booked.  Additionally, each time there is a birth, there are usually around 5 to 10 other pregnant women who need to be rescheduled, some of which have come far away for their consultations with me. 

 

So from all of this, you can see that births and on-calls are highly „inconvenient“. 

 

Therefore, it pleases me immensely when I get to experience these same births eventually, with the families, and feel how this is all worth it.  I find it truly amazing to be a part of the experience where fear, pain, stress, noise etc. is NOT a part of labour, but rather it is replaced by some real Zen, peace and quiet.  The very peach that should surround every birth.  Where the parents are in the main role, as well as the baby, and the rest of us are bystanders that inspire and help, but don’t take over. 

Recently, I have together with my great team of other midwives and staff been very busy with births, including 2 homebirths and a few other births in hospitals, where luckily the doctors and medical team has been respectful and wonderfully professional to the families. 

Sitting there in the quiet, waiting for the births to unfold, giving it all the time it needed, is something that not everyone understands how important is. 

And seeing the little head slowly emerging and the parents quietly but enthusiastically gets the little baby into their hands and onto chest immediately, without any „procedures“needing to be done – just so important. 

Here in Hong Kong, there is so much need for support of normality in labour and birth.  Reading through Facebook pages, news, blogs etc. sometimes it saddens me how little support there is out there.  I read yesterday about myself as having „burnt my bridges with certain hospitals. “  Stories of my co-workers that have had the same are always regularly out there.  Not with any explanation of that IMG_6215these bridges are actually burnt while supporting  patients’ rights. It makes me tired and sad.

Although there are many who are also very supportive about normal births, these voices need to be louder. 

It does not all have to be about a natural birth.  It needs to be about good births, normality.  Support.  Women led – or family led care.  Based on the needs of the family.

I am proud to say that that is what midwifery is about.  This is why I love my work can proudly say that my whole team of midwives at Annerley also do.  We are a private practice that could so easily start to focus on the „inconvenience“ of births.  And make you think that you „need“ this and that.  But we don´t and I hope all of the families we have supported feel the same. 

Dear all mothers, fathers and babies – thank you once again for making it all worth it, allowing me and us to be a part of your births and for proving hundreds of times that births can be normal and peaceful, a good experience.  And for reminding us of that even if births are not very predictable, it is all completely worth it.

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