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What DO Women In Labor Think?

There is this belief that women in labor, especially once they are in kicking labor, are unable to make decisions for themselves... that they cannot remember to pee or drink or change positions. The belief unfolds even further in that women seem to hire a midwife so that she is able to guide the energy of the labor and birth when (not if) the woman goes into that place of Other-Worldly-ness. Birthing From Within fosters this belief... a book I love! Whole paradigms foster this belief. Birth plans foster it. Doulas foster it. Dads as Coaches foster it.

Is this paradigm reality?

(Paradigm: a set of deeply held beliefs; usually someone else's)

Women who UC know when to pee and move and shift and wiggle and touch and poop and get into and out of the water. Women who UC in other cultures (they call it "birthing") know how to do these things, too. I acknowledge that our culture doesn't see birth in its normalcy like other cultures might (tribal or migration cultures), but can our bodies be so inherently disassociated that we don't even feel when we have to pee anymore? If the woman was so disassociated when not in labor that she didn't know she had to pee, I might buy that she might not know when in labor, but that isn't whom we are speaking of. We are talking about women in their right minds and bodies... merely in labor... a process made to perfection (most of the time).

Is it my job as a midwife to be the Energy Shifter? Is it my job to say to a woman who has remained in bed for 5 hours (or 20 minutes) that it is time to get up and move so her labor will pick up? Is it my responsibility to offer her sips of water between contractions? Will a woman who is dehydrated not know she is and find herself, eventually, dangerously dehydrated? Where does that belief originate? If I can see a baby is posterior (or hear it with fetal heart tones), is it my job to offer ideas to turn the baby? When does that responsibility move to me and away from mom? Is she offering her Power to me so that I can assist with my knowledge and experience? How do I hold her Power in honor and love without her feeling like she failed? If I see the bladder full, do I assume she can't feel it and ask her to pee? How do I traverse that woman's journey with her without leading her by a leash? Is asking enough? Should I even ask at all?

This is today's concern. How can I discover what a woman can and cannot say in labor if most women are brainwashed/convinced in childbirth classes, by doulas, by midwives, and by OBs that they don't know what they feel? Whom do I ask?

With my clients I have now that are pregnant, do I begin with, "When you are in labor, I will let (probably a sucky word, but after trying different ones, I came back to "let") you guide the Energy... you tell me when you have to pee or drink... you tell me what you need from me." (I can hear some clients now! "What am I paying you for?! Aren't you my caregiver? Why would I be the one to know when I need to pee... isn't that what I hired you for?") How in the world do I come off as someone who is encouraging the retention of Power as opposed to someone who wants to slack on the job I was hired to do? When does the discussion begin for a client? At the first meeting? The interview? Do I take clients that only want to retain their Power? Or do I take clients that want the gamut of "care" and then gradually release the Power they gave me back to them (or not take it in the first place).

I work to offer choices, of course, but that is different than the Here and Now of labor and birth where the midwife is assumed to take control of the Energy... it was what I was trained to do!

A discussion on a doula list right now is about doulas not buckling under to the hospital protocols... not signing them... so they (doulas) can stay autonomous and represent the laboring mom in her time of need. What happened that we believe women cannot speak in labor? When did that happen? I have heard women in labor be very, very expressive of their needs. Why do we think that it is an oddity that they would speak up sometimes and not others? What is it that we who work with laboring and birthing women think we have to be the translators for the client... translating medicalese... translating their own body's signals (or lack thereof)? Why can't we share the information prenatally... offer an OB dictionary so they understand the language being spoken around them in labor... role playing telling the caregiver to "SPEAK TO ME since I am the one in labor here!" Why is there information we don't share? Why do we concentrate on the biomechanics of labor and birth instead of the path to remembering our Power and capabilities in times of stress? Wouldn't that benefit humanity much more than how big 10 centimeters is?

I often say that, in my doula role, I am a walking childbirth class... a sort of cheat sheet should something be forgotten or misplaced during the stress of labor. I would like to see myself like that as a midwife, too. Just an augment... a place to turn when confusion is the emotion of the moment... but, ultimately, returning the Power to the laboring mom/baby/couple/family... as they get their balance again. Similar to when I helped that hands-off client when she was saying she was scared at the end of her labor. I could have gone in and touched and "helped," but, instead, I believed in her... and let her know she could do it... that it was okay, that fear... that she could hold it and birth her child. And she did just that and she soared with that experience!

And so did I.


Developing a Topic

This from another list where the UC discussion is unfolding:

The topic is my seeing another viewpoint... that my saying that UC isn't safe is no different than a doctor saying he advocates homebirth, but... he has seen some dangerous things and just can't really suggest women do it. The woman wants me to see that perhaps I am not the best person to bring up UC even though I have had one.

There is absolutely no difficulty in my hearing your thoughts... at all. Things you have said are nothing new, of course, but bear repeating... and I am hear to listen. I know that the discussion we are having will help me formulate a fantastic workshop on As Midwifery As It Is vs. Midwifery As It Could Be. UC as a choice... especially as a feeling of forced choice... is imperative to what a midwife can do to wake-up and Be the caregiver a woman wants and needs her to be. Too many women are manipulated or coerced in birth and I acknowlege that and want to bop some midwives on the head to wake them up! I can't do it across the world personally, but I can sure try with my words in writing and speaking. You and others here and elsewhere (including the women in my past doula/midwife-life) are all spirits that help guide me to what I feel my true calling is... reminder of our perfection.

What I have to offer in that reminder, however, is that I am deeply rooted in the belief of technology in its place. My clients tell me that they know if they transport, they damn well needed to be in the hospital. I beam when I look at where I am as a midwife right now. Not that there isn't always room for growth, but I am reveling in my evolution today.

The woman prompts that the only essentials in birth are the woman and the baby and that anything... people, meds, things, etc. are "technology."

I often encounter the "Birth Is Natural and If We Left It Alone, It Would Be Perfect" discussion. This is often followed closely by "Our Bodies Instinctively Know What To Do." I agree in theory, BUT, these bodies aren't what they were 500 or 500 thousand years ago. The grand majority of these bodies in North America do not live like our bodies were made to live. I often use Dances With Wolves or my new analogy, Girl With The Pearl Earring, as examples of what our bodies were meant to do: walk to the river for water, make our dishes, plant our food, weed the garden, harvest miles from our home, cook everything from scratch, migrate twice a year across the continent, starve in winter, feast in summer, walk, Walk, WALK miles and miles a day. Sacagawea, at 14 years old with her newborn, walked with the Lewis & Clark Expedition an average of 16 miles a day!

Instead, most of us in this culture sit... at the computer, in front of the tv (in a recliner), in SUVs (in a too-reclined position)... walking to the end of the driveway for the paper is a complaining chore! Pregnant women especially get so little exercise it scares me. (I was one of them, please know that. I was over 300 pounds with each kidlet.) Our diets are dramatically different than our bodies were made to digest... fast food, processed food... even organic foods suffer from pollution, soil depletion, etc. We inhale toxins, eat toxins, sit on toxins that our ancestors couldn't have imagined in their worst nightmares! Evolution just doesn't happen that fast that we would have different birthing instincts from a foremother 1000 years ago.

I rarely saw posterior babies 20 years ago. Now, whole books are written on the subject and it is a common topic of discussion amongst pregnant women. If we cleaned animal skins on our hands and knees, gardened, picked veggies, etc. posterior babies wouldn't be nearly as common. But, we don't, so we have to simulate it with pillows and exaggerated sitting positions to try and avoid posterior babies.

Sometimes extra is horrible. I agree. Sometimes extra is fantastic! And yes, the indiscriminate use of technology SUCKS. The judicious use, however, can and does save lives. Seeing everyone as a potential tragedy is just as wrong as believing that every birth when left alone will go off without a hitch. Babies and mamas died without midwives way back-a-when. Midwives were only called when needed, but it was usually too late for one or the other of the birthing couple. It is how midwives began attending births during the labor, so they could catch a potential issue before someone died. Does it mean midwives have to be all in the space with hands in and on the mom? That is where my own walk is taking me and I shout a resounding NO! (There are, of course, the legal issues I haven't even touched on and that is a whole 'nother topic of Midwifery With the Law Hanging Over Your Head.)

The poster mentions mothers and babies that would have been alive or healthier had they been at home or left alone at home.

Oh, absolutely!!! Absolutely. From birthrape to infection to death... I have seen and heard all that you say. I do not discount that at all. You are absolutely right and that what you shared in that paragraph MUST be said in this hypothetical workshop I am writing... absolutely. You are more right than you know. I despise that the norm in birth is the hospital. I get sick to my stomach thinking of all those normal women lying like gutted fish in the infection and impersonal clanking, stinking hospital. I am totally on your page there.

Whew. Lots to say about this. I should write a book. laughing You all are great to listen. Thanks lots.

I actually would like to impart that UC as a forced non-option could be remedied by a midwife who was hands-off and who allowed things to unfold normally and be there only if needed or asked. The law, of course, is another matter altogether! Is this coming together as a topic for speaking or am I muddying the water considerably?


Random Emails and Posts (of mine)

A high school friend emailed that she looked around my website and was amazed at my work and that I was one of a few that made a difference in the world from our high school. She runs an ABC affiliate's camera department... handing out assignments, etc. and I make a comment about that near the end of my comments to her.

It's funny... I just don't even know how I fell into midwifery, in love with migrant women, in love with service to other human beings.

For so much of my life, despite compassion, I was so self-centered and selfish, I just don't even know where the push to midwifery service occurred! I am often asked how I got into it and I have no clear answer. Circumstances put me in birthing women's lives, yet it took until a move and a second child before Life's mallet hit hard enough on my head that, oh! you want me to be a midwife?!

In my childhood, I could never in a thousand million years, have imagined a life assisting women in finding their path through the rite of passage called birth. I still shake my head in amazement (and confusion!).

But, that was the long way around to thanking you for the very kind compliment about my calling. It is a miracle being asked into women's/family's lives during a year of change and transition and joy and a walking through fear; I am so blessed.

You tell the story in a different way... through pictures. I speak through words (written and spoken). Your storytelling isn't any less valid. And I depend on your medium a LOT... wish I had more access to it because the standard press is so immune to the real ways of birth, we are on a mountain climb to show that what you see on tv (even un-reality birth shows) is not how birth can or should... or even is... when the women are loved and cherished and respected to birth in their Power.

Thank you.



When one has a gastric bypass, the worst thing in the world that can happen is an ulcer in the pouch. The pouch is the size of an egg, so any hole in there can be devastating. More surgery, blood transfusions, incredible limitations to food intake are all a part of the difficulties of ulcers after Weight Loss Surgery (WLS). So, when I began throwing up blood, you can imagine my concern.

During PSI (an entry all on its own) on Sunday, I threw up twice and there was blood, but I had tomatoes on the sandwich and thought that might be it... kinda noted it, but pushed it aside. However, during the herpes check at the doc's yesterday and I felt so horrible (faint, weak) and after the NP left and I vomited blood again... I became more alarmed. My daughter helped me find a bathroom so I could diarrhea and vomit at the same time (I thought I was going to faint) and I was just terrified about the blood. I called the doctor before I even left the hospital. I ran through the multitude of meds I was on, trying to see if any were NSAID in origin or had that inclination to pierce a pouch... nothing that I could think of.

The doc didn't call back in a timely enough manner, so I called back and they put me right through. He told me to get to the ER now. Asked what my pulse was... 110. Go NOW. Take an ambulance if I am alone. I told him I wasn't, that my daughter could take me. He said go NOW. I called my partner who raced home, threw her armor off, a shirt on, and we were out the door toot sweet.

During the waiting time for the doc to call back, I collected, in 2 separate Gladware thingies, my vomit with blood and my diarrhea to check for occult blood. My daughter was disgusted and made aluminum foil covers for them so she didn't have to see the specimens. I laughed while I nearly fainted covering the plastic.

I get to the ER... they whisk me in... ask a hundred questions... and then my partner and I were in a cubicle thingie and I am gowned nekkid and gurney-ized. The kind nurse comes in, tries to poke me for blood work and an IV and misses. I tell her no more pokes until she tests the samples for blood. She thought that was a great idea.

During the time apart, when my partner and I weren't fighting over PSI concepts or silent because I was done fighting, she went through my diet for the day. I ate au gratin potatoes at 6am... that was it! I felt horrible... zero desire to eat all day. She asked, "no candy, no crackers, nothing else?" and my face dropped. I'd had TWO Skittles at the doc's office... but I couldn't remember what color they were! We started laughing about the absurdity of my vomiting Skittle-color, not blood... that the day before had probably, in fact, been tomatoes. She played the What-If game about why I had a fever, why was I faint, why blah blah blah and I told her I was NOT being scoped if I didn't have blood in that vomit she was checking.

When the nurse came in, we told her about the Skittle episode and she laughed her head off... went to the other nurses and they laughed their heads off... we were all giggling so much; the comic relief was welcome.

The nurse came back awhile later... no blood. No pokes. I wanna go. She said I would have to sign AMA if I didn't wait for the doc, but she would send him in right away so we could go. I was soooooooo embarrassed, but couldn't stop giggling. My daughter tried to give me granola when I felt faint! I chose the stupid Skittles.

The doc came in, asked his requisite questions, laughed and sent us on our way.

All I had was Skittle-itis... didn't even need a Skittle-ectomy or anything.


Cynical or Reality-Based?

So, the motto/mantra is To Think Is To Create. And for a LONG LONG time, I heard this from my partner and believed its reality and truth. And then, when I stepped out of my depression and my house and my sheltered (sorta) life, I began watching as women of privilege worked very very hard to create their Perfect Births. Hypnobirthing classes, childbirth classes, reading all the "right" books, hiring a doula, a midwife, planning their elaborate home waterbirths... and then they had horrendous labors, transports, ending up, 2 in particular, not only with cesareans, but with cesareans with general anesthesia! What is up with that? Or the UC women we know who work so hard to birth their wondrous babes only to have them die. Or our hospital mums... and their amazing work to create the birth they need and want on their path... and they are given birthrape instead. What of that?

What of children who are molested? Folks who are raped? If all thoughts manifest into reality, who the fuck is thinking up these thoughts at 6 months (or 6 years or 16 years) old?

Is this cynical? Or real? I can't wait to explore it more the next 3 days, 'cuz if no one else brings it up, I sure am.

Now, I will agree that there are no accidents in the choreography of our lives (my words, finding more poetry than they used). The rapes and incest and neglect and watching a drugged mom and all that I lived through have helped make me who I am. Crappy childhood and early adulthood, sure, but I wouldn't have gotten into therapy and found new ways to mother (not only my Self, but my children, too!), new ways to cope (besides killing my Self), new ways to handle difficulties in relationships, etc. Does it mean I am glad I had those things happen? Hell, no! Does it mean I Own the experience? Absolutely. By taking them and making them mine, I take the shitheads' power from them and become stronger as they get weaker. (My incestuous step-grandfather killed himself about 4 years ago... thank the Goddess! Ding dong, the Witch is dead!)


Feeling Loved

So many loving thoughts and words have come through one of my lists and my private email... so many women abused and raped who are pulling me into their hearts and trust. I feel so blessed (and the word "unworthy" jumped to my fingers, but I will squelch that one)! Much work to do and one woman in particular had amazing points that were in my fingers earlier today as I was driving to the prenatal I had to do... that when I joined this particular list, the reception I received was chilly and, in some instances, downright angry and my email was nasty! Very, very interesting that it is obvious I hadn't been around long... the word "midwife" stinking up the room like an old lady's perfume long before I got myself seen and heard. I share what I know (no secrets here!)... and offer information and support to whomever asks, things are more calm... easygoing.

But, I wonder what the hand's off birth would have been like if I had had to do something. What if the baby needed resuscitation? Mom needed pitocin? What if she had asked for a vaginal exam? What if we had had to transport? Would it still have been considered a Perfect Birth? Or is only a midwife-observed birth or UC a perfect birth. What about a UC that ends in tragedy? Or a birth where the midwife starts an IV during labor because the mom hemorrhaged and transported last time and she is trying to avoid that happening again (an open line for IV pit which hits the system immediately as opposed to IM pit that takes 3-5 min to take effect).

What is the Perfect Birth and who defines that?

I remember this one couple... I had only just had my second kid (UC) and had been to maybe 2 other births... starry-eyed and HIGH with hearing birth stories. I listened as they told their story of laboring quietly in the livingroom in front of the fire... no one speaking, hearing the crackling of the logs... music playing softly in the other room... mom squatting for the birth... baby comes out, no tear, breathes right away... nurses right away... midwives clean up and leave. The woman/mother telling the story doesn't feel my jealousy... green with envy because my UC was so chaotic when my daughter couldn't come out and we called EMS (no 911 back then). But, I sat with eyes glistening in my place of wishful thinking and then she says after a pause, "But I wish we had blah blah blah instead." And I can't even remember WHAT she wanted instead (different music, different food afterwards, different choice for birth position... something like that), but the impact of the desire for alteration to what sounded to me like The Perfect Birth was amazing! I heard women, over the years, have similar wishes and grew to acknowledge that there is almost always something we would change about our births if we could. It seems to help some women who feel guilty about not making the "right" choice the first time (or 7th time) around.

In our society, however, women have fewer babies and the healing that we can accomplish through birthing might not be done via our wombs or vaginas, but perhaps our words... our acknowledgement of what occurred... maybe that is another path to the healing that women need to do. (Or any number of other vehicles... I am not wanting to seem arrogant that writing is THE way... art, dance, music, drumming, boxing, biking... endless options.) What do we do with the mom who had every semblence of the Birth From Hell and it is her ONLY birth experience she will ever have? I have at least 2 women in my life right now that that is the case and, besides therapy and listening to endless tales of their stories (one of which I attended, but was a near-observer), I don't know what else to do. Do I take them out to the desert and have them shoot targets? Do they stab sheets on the clothesline? Do they do as I did once and throw bread dough at the walls for 2 hours? Make confetti by tearing up 4 reams of paper 2 sheets at a time and leaving it around to kick for 3 weeks?

This discussion brightens my hope for my Self. I felt so disgusted with who I was and what I had done and now, I can honor those women's spirits and souls and thank them... just as I thank my firstborn every time I talk to him... for letting me learn on them... Be-ing my stepping stones (spiritually, literally) to where I could DO the hands off birth.

What if I had never found that specific list? What if that woman hadn't liked what I had to say those first couple of posts? What if she and I hadn't met 15 years ago at a pool party? What if I didn't live here? What if I hadn't attended her transforming birth? Where would I be?

Surely not here.

As I bless and thank the women I pained... I thank the women whom I haven't pained, yet have transformed me, nevertheless.

I love you all.


Thoughts on Morning/Mourning

I knew that doing something for someone else was the answer to the pain I feel at what I have done to women as someone learning midwifery... and one of the wonderful midwives on one of my lists stated this as an idea, too. She suggested a letter and I might do that... burning it... praying/sending love and apologies to the women... that might be the beginning at least.

I can never go back to that place... where I was learning... where so much evil happened. It swirls around my head and makes me dizzy.

I love the daylight and am saddened by its waning already. I can feel December's darkness over my shoulder.

Long, long day ahead.


More thoughts on birthrape

I have read so much on one of my lists... so much pain. This writing shares thoughts about the accumulation of thoughts from the past few days... and adds more thoughts to what I wrote earlier tonight.

And, then I also need to add that a violated friend wrote me the most kind words about why she would want me as her midwife with her as she birthed (even after she read the post I wrote below this one)... because I knew... I know the Truth. That meant more to me than anything.

What I wrote:

I could die I am so saddened by what I read. My heart aches for the vile and despicable acts you women... too many women... have experienced. Forgive as I speak to post after post and don't attribute the original poster... I just need to talk.

There is no violation worse than another's. Absolutely. In incest survivor groups, it was always a case of Hers Is Worse Than Mine because all of us minimized. Even the women who were ritually mutilated thought the others had it better.

A bizarre aside: I left Christianity after a life of United Methodist and Born-Again Christianity for 2 reasons. 1. Because a youth counselor told me that men were allowed to masturbate, but women were not because men had needs... women were closer to God and could control those urges. and 2. Because, in Incest Survivor's Anonymous, we read the Lord's Prayer and I was NEVER going to speak to "Our Father Who Art in Heaven" who raped me ever again. Such a weirdo where my mind bends.

I'm sorta Jewish now.

Anyway, I had to go vomit twice at work today. There were no words to write as my office manager left work early to tend to her sick husband and today was friggin' busy. Vomiting was better at the moment. Writing is now, but I am still nauseated.

I keep seeing the pictures shared. The violations. The rapes. Yes, the absolute and concrete rapes that were committed on our precious women (YOU precious women). I am so repulsed by the stories. I am incredibly saddened by the realization of others as they use new words for their disgusting birth stories.

My own hospital birth pales in comparison (ooo, minimizing?) even though the unnecessary episiotomy I had (mediolateral) went deep into my thigh muscle and I could not sit flat on my bottom for well over 6 weeks and had green pus oozing out of me. Even as I couldn't shit for 5 days postpartum and when I did with an enema and near hysterical screaming, I tore my colon inside that would tear with each birthing head I passed through my vagina and require surgery years later.

And I sit here thinking about my role in birth as a care giver... and it sucks. I can't even begin to describe my own inner horrors of what I have done to women. I have written about them. I have my Self and my own inner journey to process all that I find I am as this discussion unfolds. (I am sorry I sound so angry. I am VERY angry at my Self and my history as a midwife, doula, student.)

I carefully weigh what I share. Knowing that many will write and demand my unsubbing... that unsubs might come of my own disclosure... because I am a Discloser... airing my own dirty laundry.

I know that my impulse to unsub came from my own feelings of Being the Enemy most here despise (even if I couldn't verbalize it at first). I am still compelled to unsub, but will work through the urge as I have been asked to by one of the violated who has read my
story already. I will do my best to find a place of peace.

Somehow, I need a way to thank and apologize to the women I hurt along my path. I am pondering what exactly to do.

*crawling along, not feeling so evolved tonight*


Birth - rape and otherwise

My mind cannot stop the thinking about the birthrape issue and NO ONE in my life, not even my partner, wants to hear one thing about it. A childbirth educator friend said she would talk and we could process, but she is a client of mine, albeit my hypno-therapist, but I have horrid feelings of guilt I have begun exploring about HER birth. She has told me she loved her birth, even when I sobbed speaking about how I hated what I did to her at her birth (retrospectively; after my hands-off birth). It doesn't make my heart rest any easier... well, maybe a little.

I can't stop diarrhea-ing.

I think the insanity and birthrape guilt are separate and together. Maybe I am paying for my past now instead of later.

Just dig in.

As I learned to be a midwife, I did horrible things to women in the name of education. I have held women's legs open ("to get the baby out"). I have pulled placentas out ("to learn how to get one out that needs help or if the mom is bleeding"). I have squished a woman's belly until I could nearly feel her spine, which is, actually, the wording used by the teachers (plural): Push until you find her spine ("to keep her from hemorrhaging and expel clots"). I have pulled placentas until cords have fallen off. I have grabbed women's nipples and shoved them into their babies' mouths. I have done vaginal exams on women who were screaming NO! I have coerced women to allow me into their vaginas for exams. I have done "finger forceps" [a misnomer] (using my fingers to press the ischial spines open wider for a baby to come through faster). I have ruptured membranes because I needed to learn how. I have manually dilated cervices that did not need to be touched because I needed (or thought I needed) to learn how to do it in an emergency. I have manually dilated a cervix on a woman having a waterbirth (and I wasn't wearing gloves) and got her cervical flesh under my fingernails.

As a doula and student, I stood by and watched as women screamed to be left alone. I watched midwives with 3 inch fingernails shove cervices from 3-10 in a few minutes. I watched as women had cytotec inserted into their vaginas secretly. I watched as women unknowingly drank cytotec from Gatorade bottles. I witnessed pitocin being secretly injected into the vaginal vault to projectile a baby in second stage arrest. I witnessed pitocin being put on gauze and put in women's vaginas without their knowledge. I watched as the gauze was put in their rectums without their knowledge. I have seen women sutured who might not otherwise need it simply because someone needed training. I have seen OBs cut an episiotomy because they are in a hurry. I have heard evil things coming from OB's mouths towards clients and stood by and said nothing. I have heard even more evil things come from midwives and stood by and said nothing. I have seen and heard women be screamed at to shut up, grow up, that she asked for it by opening her legs 9 months ago, that she gets what she deserves. I have seen a woman slapped by a midwife. I have seen a midwife, on more than one occasion, hang a baby upside down and slap the baby up and down the back to revive him/her. I have seen, on more than one occasion, midwives take a fainted woman's nipples and twist them nearly off to revive the woman.

I have seen many illegal maneuvers that have saved women trips to the hospital and have learned amazing amounts of information that I would never use unless a woman or baby were dying in my arms. I have NOT done other equally unethical acts... have not ever cut an episiotomy because I needed to practice... have not sutured because I needed to practice... have not ever used forceps or vacuum extractor. I have learned how to birth a baby in the caul. I have learned how to sit and wait from long second and third stages. But it doesn't remove one iota of the pain I feel. There is no catharsis.

I am the enemy of many women. I am their pain. I embody it. I created it. I am more filled with shame than there are words to describe.

Does it make any difference that I have grown to not do these things? Did I have to walk that path to get where I am? Why did I love the learning I experienced? Why did I get high from all the energy and the uncertainty? Do I really believe I wouldn't be the midwife I am today if I didn't know all I know? Am I better able to speak the language of the enemy because I am the enemy? Do I have any right speaking to the women whose hearts bleed and whose bodies are mutilated?

I pray to find the balance of peace and forgiveness... all within my Self.


Stumbling along...

... and it is so scary sometimes. My titers came back today and they were down for the first time in at least 4 months! Hurray! The doc lowered the Diflucan to 600mg a day instead of 800mg, which is good since my hair has begun falling out in clumps and the ulcers are now in all of my mucous membranes. sigh I woke up with night sweats, but I know that happens when I lower the meds, so, I'll live with it.

I have stopped the sleepy-time pills (terrified of addiction, despite what the Psych says) and am now awake in the middle of the night after a mere 3 hours' sleep. Oh, well. I am on so many meds, the fewer I ingest the better, in my book, even if I am awake in the middle of the night sometimes.

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