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Cloaked in Red; Living. Breathing. Birth.

My personal reproductive experiences are quite vast and include an induction at 38 weeks gestation with a (failed) epidural hospital birth. That breastfeeding journey dwindled within weeks, and was challenging from the start. I’ve also experienced 3 homebirths; one on land and two in water. There were newborn complications at my first homebirth that were expertly managed by my team of Midwives. At my second homebirth I experienced greater than normal amounts of blood-loss resulting in the use of skilled techniques to clear my uterus paired with the administration of Pitocin by my *licensed Midwife and thus, safely avoiding a need for transfer to hospital. My homebirth breastfeeding outcomes were all vastly improved by experiencing physiologic births alongside the woman-centered care I received.

I’ve also experienced the loss of two pregnancies. I share these things here and now, to normalize the fact that there are dark corners and dimply lit paths when it comes to having (or not) having children. Rarely are the circumstances “perfect” and I have dedicated my life to shallowing the depth of painful experiences for anyone going through this season of life. I remain mindful that my experiences do not influence the information that I provide my families; always sharing openly when asked. Unbiased support of anyone having a baby is a key factor to healthy birth. Absolutely no one should tread this beaten path alone, when so many have gone before. Extending an open hand and heart to Women that may not yet understand their vulnerability is necessary.

I often question the sanity and health of my professional drive.

Living birth is thinking of dilation as I slip my child’s clean shirt over his head and observe the collar expand. Breathing birth is practicing breathing patterns of laboring women while cooking dinner so I can convey what she might experience. My body is an extension of knowledge as I teach about labor positions that promote improved outcomes. I think about each client daily and reflect upon the sometimes raw nature of their experiences…with only hope that I can be a light on a sometimes wooded and chilly path. I stand in awe as I witness the determination of informed parents marching towards their births with the confidence that they are participating in their care. Love is the only explanation I have found that explains their resilience. The babies that are finally and desperately held, or not, are innocent passengers cloaked in the red of blood and of love.

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