Most of you probably read the trilogy Call the Midwife years ago. I am a little late, but I just finished all three books. The stories of people, mostly from the East End of London, seem more unreal than fiction, yet they are all true, according to the author, Jennifer Worth. She writes about the midwifery services, mostly homebirths, provided by the nuns at Nonnatus House for 99 years—from the 19th and through most of the 20th century.
Complications are why we need midwives. If birth were completely normal all the time we midwives would not be needed—but, indeed, we are needed. It is so important that we all learn and gather the necessary skills and didactic and emotional knowledge we can before we take responsibility for a mother and baby. One of the great keys to a good birth outcome is knowing when and how to act and to do so quickly. Otherwise, we can keep hands off and be the quiet midwife in the corner—unobtrusive and loving. We need to be careful not to disturb the process.
The most important event in many women’s lives is giving birth. It is so pivotal that most moms can remember it in great detail their entire life. I met a woman in Japan who was in her 80s and could recount every detail of her birth. Her father-in-law had been her support person.
Every woman is different and every labor is different. In this editorial, Jan shares some of the ways labor can be experienced by different women.
I believe that doulas need to have some preparation for handling emergency clinical situations: not to take them on, but to be ready in case of an emergency. This is a somewhat unpopular view. However, doulas can never know what kind of situation they may find themselves in. For example, you may be the first to arrive at a homebirth, when the midwife gets a flat tire or, for some other reason, does not arrive in time for the birth.
Continuity of carer is key to a normal, physiological, and empowered birth. Midwifery is about relationship which develops in the course of prenatal care.
Our developing insights into the microbiome have the potential to change everything regarding homebirth for moms—if we can get the word out about its importance to a healthy life. We will need to work on this from all spheres of influence.
When we help a mother bring forth her baby onto this earth it will resound in the world forever.
We have lost an amazing Fijian midwife and nurse, Albert Edward McLaren. We would not have been able to do the Fiji conference without this maverick of a midwife. He passed away on September 26, 2016, of complications from diabetes.