Thursday, March 6, 2008

Doulas and Midwives Everywhere

Last week, I contacted a graphic designed I know from my museum days, and she is working up a doula business card for me. She is very talented and she is giving me a really good deal. I also contacted a publishing company that I worked for briefly here in Ely and they are going to let me advertise in their summer magazine for free. This is all very fortunate because I will not be charging for my doula services until after I complete the certification process. I also sent an email to friends locally asking them to share my contact info with anyone who may be interested, and I have already gotten a few possible leads.

As if all of this weren't enough, a few weeks ago, Susan (of the yarn shop) got a call from an old customer of hers who now lives in Duluth and happens to be an apprentice midwife. The woman and her mentor where going to be in town for a home birth and were looking for a place to crash. Susan put them in touch with me and I offered our house to them. The baby was due last Thursday and we finally got the call at 11 pm this Tuesday. They midwives didn't actually come by our place until Wednesday morning - after the birth - at which point we talked for a few hours. The apprentice is also a doula in Duluth and she was wondering if I would be interested in attending two births happening in Virginia (about an hour from here). The same apprentice/doula is also involved in establishing a new non-profit very similar to the Mother-Baby Center in Bellingham. It will help low-income, high-risk moms attain free doula services through grant funding. She was wondering if I might be the Ely representative for the organization. As of right now there are no other doulas and no midwives based in Ely, so both of the women who visited me were very excited to discover that I was here and that I was interested in being both. Most of the other doulas and midwives in the area are based in Duluth - 2 hours away - and although they do not want to decline services to mothers in Ely, they would rather not have to travel that distance themselves for births. A birth is exhausting in and of itself without that kind of travel time.

Okay. Then - today - I went to Duluth to attend a midwifery study group. The group is facilitated by two of the midwives who attended Jack's birth, and it meets each Thursday. Today there were nine women in the group, including myself. It was amazing. Sitting in that circle, I was actually able to imagine that someday I could be a midwife myself. I have fantasized about it for years, but I mean - come on - it is huge! But, the other women in that group were all so casual, open and welcoming to me. And, at the same time, they were so strong, intelligent and serious about the task at hand, it was impossible not to be moved by their collective energy. I wasn't sure before I went, but now I know that I will be going to the study group each Thursday. I simply have to. It is a long drive, but it is an amazing opportunity and well worth the effort.

Finally, while we were in Duluth, Jack had an appointment with our midwife, who is also a naturopathic doctor. The visit was unrelated to his ear infection, just a wellness check. I was so pleased to hear her proclaim "He is so vital!" and to have her confirm that he is developing as he should be and that he is not too small. I always leave our appointments feeling as though I have the information I need and that I am doing the right things for little Jack.

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