Monday, September 7, 2009

Why I Became a Midwife - Lylaine

OK. I admit it. My name is Lylaine and I’m a birth junkie.

SO….why did I become a midwife? Guided by the Universe, I guess…and numerous influential women. My entire career has centered on mothers and babies-starting with scrubbing delivery tables in the 1960’s while attending college. I can still picture Mrs. Dodge, the labor nurse in her starched nurses’ cap and white apron, who instructed me in proper cleaning of equipment after each birth (maybe why I feel compelled now to “tidy up” after births). And Mrs. Tidwell, the cherubic nursery nurse who let me rock babies when I wasn’t cleaning (maybe why I feel magnetically drawn to little babies). Next came along Mrs. Bonny, the maternity nursing instructor. She had a way of making each student feel important and confident. She instilled my life-long belief that birth is a miraculous event, a natural process, not an illness. Then while working as an RN in Labor and Delivery at Good Sam, Mrs. Thomas taught me to stay calm in the midst of crisis. There were many others who have contributed to my evolution as a midwife, especially Anne Marie Faxel and Nancy Bolles who were the first midwives I ever met. Joyce Roberts and Lorraine Guyette were marvelous mentors and always made time to “be with” student midwives. Kitty Ernst and Ruth Lubic are others that have inspired and motivated me to continue the advocacy and empowerment of women in pregnancy and birth. The sisterhood of midwives is a marvelous place to be, a network of like-minded souls sharing love and joy with families at such important times in their lives.

Working in Labor and Delivery as a nurse (for about 15 years) solidified my love affair (and fascination) with birth. What I saw in the first midwives I met (at Phoenix Memorial) was an opportunity to get to know women and their families and be “with women” at birth in a more related and deeper way.

Since becoming a midwife, I have learned most of what I know about birthing from women (and their babies). For each and every one of them, I am truly grateful. And to mothers yet to cross my path, I cherish the opportunity to be with each one as I continue to learn from my most profound teachers.

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