What We Do

I wrote last week I intend to share some of the reasons I decided to write Homebirth: Safe & Sacred.

I started with a bit about safety.

This time I want to share a bit about sacred.

And, of course, that means I’m still sharing about safety. As my friend, Dana McLaren, so aptly put it, “It’s the ‘sacred’ that makes it ‘safe.'”

Though homebirth midwives don’t attend either twin or breech births in Colorado, I attended several of both while serving in Michigan. I thought I’d share the story of one such experience from the spring of 2010 today.

Tiny twins, born in the still, secretive night… watched over by a perfectly full moon as she crossed the skies east to west…

The seven pound baby boy birthed without a hitch at quarter till three, followed by his six pound sister twenty-one minutes later, an incomplete breech. Her birth was trickier than her brother’s with a moment or two of breaths held… I was fully aware of her mama’s pure efforts, aware of and moved by her daddy’s sudden burst of passionate tears ruffling the fringes of my psyche as I worked with Jean to coax the little body forth. Mom birthed most of her daughter from a hands and knees posture, but the baby’s left arm was trapped up beside her head, bringing the flow of her birth to a brief pause. We had mama flip over, and the motion released the baby’s shoulder. I reached inside and pressed my fingertips against the baby’s cheekbones, flexing her head as Jean drew the little life around the curve of her mother’s pubic bone and safely into her arms. Smiles spread over every face  as her hearty cries filled the room! Sister joining brother and mother and father upon the bed… the bed of their conception and their birth, the bed rumpled and splattered and be-specked with blood and sweat and tears… the bed awash with waves of love and joy and gratitude…

Recalling the scene later in my mind’s eye, I watch how quickly and quietly we moved, the five of us women… mother, daughter, midwives, apprentice… women working in concert… focused, strong, harmonious, effective… and the image raises the hairs along the back of my neck, and stings my eyes with salty tears…

For all the ways within our society our femininity is reduced, even by ourselves, to a thing of petty weakness and misdirected insignificance, there really is something so very fierce and formidable dwelling in the depths of the female heart! And here I am, called by God to a vocation, to a ministry that, at its essence, every day witnesses and reveals and evokes that fierce and formidable vitality!

I am in awe, and beyond grateful.

My experiences… being and doing life together with my family, with my friends… playing, working… celebrating, mourning… birthing, suffering, dying, re-surging… facing, grappling, pressing, plunging, climbing, fording, braving, enduring, conquering…

Unanesthetized! Unhindered!

Yes, a little bloodied, a little bruised… a little sweaty, grimy, shaking, and smudged with tears…

But exhilarated! Empowered! Transformed!

But aware! Awake! Alive!

Yes, indeed, this is what we do…

We live.

This mother and dad were a newly married Amish couple, bringing to completion their first pregnancy.  Their second pregnancy was also a set of twins—two sweet girls born twenty-two months later!  These four children marked the beginning and the end of a little streak of twin births, with three other sets arriving in between. 

Photograph by IStock

Kim Woodard Osterholzer, Colorado Springs Homebirth Midwife and Author

Books by Kim:

Homebirth: Safe & Sacred

A Midwife in Amish Country: Celebrating God’s Gift of Life

Nourish + Thrive: Happy, Healthy Childbearing

One Little Life at a Time: Recommendations + Record Keeping for Aspiring Homebirth Midwives

6 thoughts on “What We Do

  • I love, LOVE this one! Even after reading your writings time and time again, you leave me breathless with your words, Kim. I especially like this line: “watched over by a perfectly full moon as she crossed the skies east to west…” 🙂

  • I agree with Steve. Being at a birth very recently when after mama birthed her baby into her husband’s hands, calm and quiet, I stepped back with the midwife attending, and being able to witness this little one coming into the world Safe and Sacred , I realized again how I have been so blessed to be there. And my eyes again “stung with salty tears” ❤

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