I am training to be a doula. A what-a? A doula. A doula is a woman who assists a mother (and her spouse) during birth. I have had three very different births. Well three very similar births -- "unmediated, vaginal, quick, relatively little physical pain." As far as the birth itself one was far better than expected and I felt like a rock-star, another was completely perfect, and another was the loneliest worst thing I've been through. And you might be surprised that the third birth I described is not my stillborn son's birth, but my daughters birth.
So here I am. Working to be trained in an industry that I have my own stories to bring to the table for the hope that no woman has to go through labor with out the physical OR emotional support she needs. I don't even know if I'd say it's something I want to do, but it is something that I feel called to do. Oh and do I ever needs God's power and strength to get me through it.
I can't even get through introductions. I can tell so many people in passing about my son Luke who was stillborn. And now (I never thought I'd do this) but sometimes now I don't even tell people ...or correct them. "Oh, you have a boy and a girl? One of each. How perfect!" In my head something sassy like yeah and a headstone with my name on it because I'm the parent of a dead child, real perfect is composed in all it's sarcastic glory, but I'm too nice to actually say something like that to someone (but I guess not nice enough to not think it!) I digress.
Do I start in ascending order or descending order of my children? I thought I had already worked through in my head what I'd say and it would just be simple and matter of fact. And now I don't know where to start. What facts to share. And before I can even get the words together emotions are rising. I'm tearing up. Nothing like sitting in a room with a dozen woman who are PASSIONATE about birth and babies and mothers, just their presence made my emotions raw and bring it to the surface. But I'm okay. I really am okay with things. So the lump in my throat is there and I get choked up a smidge, but I get it out just fine and relatively quickly. Well...that was one way to start introductions as the second person to intorduce themselves, but the first person to introduce who has given birth. Why didn't I ask to go later? I didn't want to go right then? If only I was quick enough in the moment to realize that I didn't want to speak yet and then just ask for that. To just ask for others to go first. But maybe it's best to not be the mood kill toward the end. It's just not easy. That's all there is to it. Sometimes it's not easy to say and sometimes it's not easy to share. Well it's easy to share, but it's not easy putting this big weighty thing out there for someone to have to receive.
So I did it. I got through introductions. Moving on.
The whole thing was filled with moments of pain. Moments that I only visit when I need to open up those painful wounds and sit with them and be with them. I haven't needed or wanted that in a while.
It was little things and little points of education that brought me back:
Talking about getting an IV as a standard protocol in hospitals.
The IV in my warm while I labored with Luke was excruciating. It was placed in a way that was completely uncomfortable and an irritant the whole time I was laboring. And a brutal reminder that I am in a hospital. I shouldn't have been at the hospital because I was going to have a home birth, but instead I am in a hospital delivering my stillborn son. That IV was there to make sure I didn't forget why I was there that day.
Talking about checking dilation and how a discrepancy in centimeters reported can happen simply because the nurses fingers are smaller than the doctors.
The doctor. Not "my doctor." He wasn't my doctor. He was simply the doctor that was "nice enough" to take me on as a patient so I could be induced at the hospital. Another symbol of how this was not the birth I had planned. The doctor doing vaginal exams. Painful. They were painful. Well, not as painful as when he was removing my placenta manually.
The IV finally ripped out of my arm at some point while I was laboring. No more contractions so they stabbed my leg with pitocin to try to get my uterus to contract and birth the placenta. No luck.
So it went on. The memories. The memories I didn't choose to revisit yesterday. The memories I'm going to have to revisit today and tomorrow. The memories I'm not sure if I can handle revisiting each and every time I'm assisting another woman during a birth.
So I'll go back today. Not because I want to. But because I feel called to this.
God today I need you more than other days. I need you to protect me. To make me strong. Protect me from my own heartache and pain. Hold me up in the face of it. If I am to serve others in this capacity I need you to strengthen me and make me more than I am, because right now I don't like it. I don't want to face it.
So I'll begin my day. Showering. I was I was dancing, but I'm going to go shower and commute and get myself to my training. I will go and I will do.