I massage the feet of this mama expecting her first child.
The due date written on her maternity card has been past by a week and restlessness enters her mind. When will this child arrive? I listen to the heartbeats of her baby with my fetoscope. Strong and powerful beat and tone. Baby has settled well into mama’s pelvis. Just needs little bit more time to get going. Our discussion calms the mama, as do my acknowledging the well-being of her baby. Laying comfortably on the mattresses of my midwifery practise she smiles.
In the morning I receive a text message. Signs of labour emerging. We agree that I pop into their place on my way to work in the maternity – the one they plan to birth in. The baby was however eager to meet his parents and they made it to Kätilöopisto maternity hospital before me. Wonderful lil’ boy, on mama’s breast, basking in the rays of morning sun.
After few months it’s my turn to hold this child in my arms as I am invited to his namegiving ceremony. There I get to hear stories of the family into which he was born, now with his fine name. There has been a midwife in his family they tell me. So lovely to talk about midwives.
After few years a message reaches me. The second child has signaled to be en route.
Happy reunion with the family. We start planning a joint journey in which I would first come home as midwife and then when it felt so we would as a birth tribe trek to the maternity hospital. There I would take the role of midwife-doula. I visit the family regularly for a cuppa, we follow the beautifully growing womb and ponder the meanings of signals the baby seemed to be sending with different movements. The first-born shows his toys to me. He knows the midwife. He calls me by my first name.
When the labour starts the father takes the first-born to grandparents. The oxitocine-filled atmosphere as the labour intensifies fills the air at home. The tempo and growing strength of contracting womb tell about the progress of the journey their baby is on. We head to maternity hospital together, with a wish that this time we will have time to fill the tub into which the mother hopes her child to enter. From water to water. Lil’ mermaid is born. The sweet one.
In the namegiving ceremony the first-born so proud and brotherly, the tiny sister having roses on her forehead. The large family so warm and united around the newcomer. With grandparents we talk about the old-time midwives, those who were always invited to namegiving ceremonies. I feel like one.
The pregnancy test positive. This child might turn out to be a Christmas present.
How fast nine months pass. The thought that the mother has been allowing to grow along the baby, feels more and more inviting. That there in the comfort of her own home would she welcome her child. A homebirth. Would I be her midwife there too ? Of course, I tell her. Midwives are to be with birthing women where they feel they wish to birth and where they feel powerful. Her home feels like that place for her.
The labour starts and I drive in the early hours of mid-winter morning through quiet city into the home where soon a new baby arrives. And how beautifully he lands. Lil’ boy, received by his mama under loving gaze of his father. Midwives smiling in the hazy background.
My midwifery is born out of birthing women and their families. Such lucky midwife I am ♥