The Top Ten LEAST Wonderful Things About Being a Private Practice, Home Birth Attending Midwife and Small Business Owner
10. Your clothes need to be permanent press, ready at a moment’s notice, stain proof, comfortable in any position and still look reasonable in case of transferring a client to the hospital (Yeah, I am dreaming. The comfortable, cotton clothes that have been shoved into my birth bag for three months prior to being donned are hardly wrinkle-free).
9. Your car’s gas tank needs to always be at least a quarter full. (There’s a story here! Driving at midnight to a mom who is huffing and puffing…She lives 40 minutes away…Last person to drive my car left it empty… There were swear words and downhill coasting involved… And I did catch the baby.)
8. You rarely get to car pool. Even rarer to carpool with another midwife. (‘I have someone who is due and she lives in Galway.’ ‘My ladies are in Hudson, Greenwich and Troy.’ Two cars it is!”)
7. Your choice of cars is limited. (I need high clearance, 4 wheel or all wheel drive and lots and lots of storage room. Good gas mileage is a real plus.)
6. You always have to have a Plan B. (What if someone goes into labor while I am at the acupuncturist? What if two people go into labor at once? What if the power goes out with this storm? What if my cold turns into pneumonia?)
5. Watching your relationship with electronic devices grow stronger and stranger daily. (Sitting here typing on an iPad, feeling badly that it desperately wants a charge. My iPhone is nearby, just roaring to go. Oh, dear, I just anthropomorphized my e-tools!)
4. Rarely having a second glass of wine. (For me, this might happen twice a year when there is no one in The Magic Due Date Window from 37 weeks until birth.)
3. Missing important events (birthday parties, graduations, camping trips, weekends away, family visits…) if they are happening more than 60 miles away.
2. Planning vacations 10 months in advance (And then falling in love with the clients whose due dates fall in the vacation window. Hoping desperately that they will birth before I leave… All the while knowing that they will be in good hands with my colleague… But still not wanting to miss the moment they meet their new baby, face to face. Sigh…)
And the Number One Least Wonderful Thing.…
You feel anxious and somewhat naked if your phone is more than ten feet away. And if there is no cell service, or the power goes out, or the phone battery is at less than 10%. The horror!
All joking aside, the real Number One Least Wonderful Thing about being a midwife is this:
Bodies fail us. (Yes, in spite of perfect care and good intentions, babies die, women miscarry, friends get cancer, I can become sick or injured.. All human bodies come with an expiration date. Every cell in every single body is simultaneously living and dying. As a midwife, I am intimately involved in people’s lives, and whether they are my client or not, I feel the pain of loss deeply. And often. And then I turn around and knowing what may lay ahead, I do it again.)
May all babies be born into loving hands