When I first heard your moans and grunts, I wasn’t sure I’d make it. But I did, with a smile on my face, knowing a little bit more than I did before.
The first time I ever experienced that dangerous, scary, and life-threatening complication was with you, and we both stayed calm and got through it, your bright pink and talking baby clearly none the wiser that we had a moment (or really, or many) of stress. And then I knew a little bit more than I did before.
As your partner looked right at me after seeing the baby’s face, and then his eyes rolled to the top of his head and he slumped into the chair the nurse had wisely snuck underneath him just a second prior, I learned a little more than I did before.
That night after I got home, I was not sure I would be able to fully process my own grief for your loss, knowing that I was not sure I even adequately supported you in processing your own. I wanted to crawl into bed next to you and hold you while you grieved, as I would do family or friends, but that was my first time meeting you, my first time caring for you, your first time hearing words you will never want to hear again, and those moments were more intimate than either of us could hold in that space, and were barely tolerable on their own. That night, I began to learn about processing my own grief and its importance in my care provision and self care, and I breathed knowing that in those sacred moments, I came out knowing a little bit more than I did before.
When the midwife student challenged my clinical practice with curiosity and respect but questioning, I learned a little bit more than I did before.
As the Resident left the room crying, the mom and grandmother held each other and sobbed, the medical student leaned against the wall wide-eyed, and I stood there with a baby screaming directly into my face who immediately before its own birth the mother screamed she did not want any part of its life, I realized I did not know anything about anything, but nonetheless came through knowing a little more than I did before.
That lunch, when I was exploding with excitement and just had to talk only about birth with my non-birthy family, and they tolerated it with stoic faces and patience and kindness I did not notice until I was done talking and took a breath, I quickly learned a little bit more than I did before.
The middle of the night, when my dreams woke me with a lifetime-up-until-now compilation of every clinic visit and every birth and every physician interaction and every medical student frustration and every midwife student triumph, I woke up the next morning knowing a little more than I did before.
When I hold space for myself long enough to realize that with each birth and midwife moment, I experience a growth and an expression and a fulfillment of my own life vibrations, and fingertips and words of intuition I did not have in the prior moment, I also acknowledge the ways in which I am birthed, welcomed for the first time into the worlds of others, and presented to myself anew with wide eyes and fresh breaths.