Midwives are so uniquely placed in the world to witness miracles every day. Perhaps in the complexity of birth that society has created now, the miracle is lost in the web of medical knowledge. I've witnessed this already as a student midwife - we begin as (reasonably) empty vessels, keen to be filled up with knowledge so that we can graduate safe and competent health professionals. As the first year of training draws to an end, I have learnt so much about the unseen parts of labour - the complex hormones, the anatomy and physiology of the body, the beautiful design of it all. A triggers B triggers C triggers D... At times, I've felt bogged down by all this knowledge - I mean, I get that we need to know it - but where is the 'art' of midwifery - when will we be taught how to be a midwife... not just the head knowledge but the heart knowledge as well...
Sometimes its good to just step back and remember the small miracles of birth. To just accept the amazing process for what it is - which brings me to my favourite part of a birth...
Birthing can be loud. Birth sure can be messy. And birth can be incredibly intense for everyone in the room. But for me, time stands still when that little head emerges, and that slippery, squirmy little body follows - and then... that moment of quiet. Everyone stops and stares. We wait, expectantly, air hung with hope and promise... it might only take a few moments - a second in time, a millisecond even. Everyone draws in their own breath - do we do that on purpose? Are we subconsciously breathing in to call that brand-new person into action too?
Then it happens.
That amazing miracle.
My absolute FAVOURITE part of a birth.
Baby's first breath. Inhale.
And with that first gasp, then we can all breath again too.
Exhale. Does time stop? Of course not. But it feels like it. And the rush of grateful joy flows straight through me after every 'first breath' moment. The energy in the room changes - there will be laughter, happy tears, sometimes even cheering from a proud new Dad.
Inhale. Exhale. Surely the most unified human experience, breathing. Welcome to the world little miracle.
"I took a deep breath
and listened to the old bray of my heart:
I am, I am, I am."