Well here I am. An officially registered midwifery student. I always said I would do this when the law changed and since that happened (some time ago), I'm finally pushing...
Seven months ago I attended a friend, at the delivery of her fifth child.  This was her third birth at home with me as her birth assistant .  Little did I know that the Lord would use this birth, out of ALL the others, to proclaim my next step.

I have been a childbirth educator, hospital labor support  (Doula) and birth assistant to midwives for over 18 years.  And I have been happy there.  Happy to have a "career" that has come so naturally to me.  Happy to have had a "career" that offered a certain level of flexibility so that I could be at home with my girls and provide  a needed monetary cushion for our family.  Happy to be...happy! 

As a little girl, all I wanted as an adult was to be a mommy, a teacher and have my hands in "birth".  And thats exactly where the Lord put me! In spite of all my "fleshly" choices, with the birth of my first daughter, he slowly revealed to me His plan for my life.

Beauty from ashes...His promise to us....

My path to becoming a midwife really began as a little girl as I heard the story of my younger brother's birth.  When I was eighteen months old, my brother Scott, "Scotty" to me, was accidentally born at home.  So often I heard the story of how my dad held me in his arms as we watched Scotty's entrance, that I have always been able to picture it in my mind's eye.  Scotty and I became instantly bonded.  Whether it was witnessing his arrival into the world, our close age, or the fact that we both have red hair in a family of dark hair and eyed parents, I don't know.  Probably all of it together!

Being raised in the country, gave me lots of opportunities to experience birth even if it was only from the perspective of 
being a "midwife" to a loved cat, dog or a very fertile hamster.   My Aunt Winnie had an enormous impact on cultivating my natural interest in pregnancy, birth, and babies.  When I was 7, she gave birth to her first daughter and invited me in her life as an active participant in all care of her newborn.  Her faith in me at such a young age built my confidence; my love for it all continued to grow with the births of her next 2 girls.

When I was 16, a good friend of mine became pregnant and it seemed to be a natural thing for me to come along beside her.  From the beginning, I became her "mentor" in all aspects from helping her tell her parents, to translating information about pregnancy and then delivery
to her.  Unfortunately, the hospital would not allow me in with her...."It’s no place for a teenager." I was told.  So I camped outside her labor room for hours on end and performed as a “Hallway Doula” with the only thing I could do;  pray and throw words of encouragement through the open doorway as the nurses came and went.  After Josh's birth I continued to support and mentor my friend.  All the tools I had learned by apprenticing at my aunt's side, finally landed, as I showed my naive friend how to prepare bottles, (I couldn't convince her to breastfeed...), give baths to her newborn, and become a mother at the young age of 15. 

At the age of 18 and the casualty of divorce, I met and fell in love with my wonderful husband.  At the age of 19 (Dave 26), and as we were preparing for a big wedding, we learned we were expecting.  Earlier than we had planned, but welcome all the same, I knew in my heart that God had prepared me for this all along.  After experiencing through my friends birth how a hospital could control your birth experience, I knew that was not how it was going to be for me. During this time my Aunt Winnie discovered that she too was expecting her fourth baby!  Our children would be born two months apart and again we were partners in the nursery, only this time I had a baby of my own!

Luckily, Dave and I found a wonderful, Bradley instructor.  Her encouragement and education began to nurture the seed of my future.  On July 31st, our beautiful daughter, and "Bradley" baby, Molly Grace was born after 24 hours of demoralizing back labor.  Hard, yet powerful, I learned so much and it bonded us tightly.  At 23, Molly is an absolute joy, and she and I are still tightly woven.   Over the next 4 years, as I navigated marriage and motherhood, the pull to be involved somehow with birth remained. I decided to pursue being a childbirth educator; Bradley seemed the obvious place to start.  I taught classes out of my home and simultaneously began offering labor support free of charge.   With only my personal experience, instincts and brief education, I forged through a very closed-minded local hospital and birth by birth gained the respect of the nurses and doctors.

In 1996, I met a doctor at a birth who offered to have me come to his office to be his "nurse".  This very willing and generous man allowed me to apprentice him in his solo OBGYN practice.  Not having any technical education, he taught me everything from taking blood pressure, drawing blood, reading external fetal heart monitors and occasionally checking cervixes. I also “ran” the lab and exam rooms and helped Dr. S. open another office  and interview midwives to add to his practice.
During this time I attended as many births as possible, training others along the way, and eventually transitioned into birth assisting for various midwives. I attended ALACE training, became certified in Neonatal Resuscitation and worked toward certification with DONA. I was an active member of La Leche League and entertained leadership but didn't have enough time! In 1994, I gave birth to our second, precious daughter, Kendall. Her birth began as a home birth and ended as a transfer to the hospital after 4 days of labor and failure to progress. Not as I planned but the experience only added to my "resume".   After Kendall's birth, I knew I was suppose to return home to home school the girls and did so. At this time I began my own business. I specialized in private childbirth education classes, breastfeeding counseling, homebirth, birth assisting, and hospital labor support. In addition, I re-wrote a childbirth curriculum geared towards Dr. S's patients and offered classes exclusively to them at his office in the evenings. Eventually word got out that my classes were not the run of the mill childbirth classes and due to much interest,  opened enrollment to others. 

 In 1998, I gave birth, this time at home, to another beautiful daughter Emma, with wonderful Certified Nurse Midwife in a practice I assisted. I continued doing all the above until 1999. Dr. S. moved his office and I decided to slow down and only offer classes to private clients. Although only having actually delivered a small number of babies on my own, I have attended approximately 500 deliveries.

I have had the experience of being with single women, scared teenagers, women with strong marriages and women in weak ones. Women with wanted babies and unwanted. I have attended adoption births and been with husband and wives as they have held there dying or still born babies. The most apparent thing to me then and now is that when a woman or girl is in the process of giving birth, regardless of the situation, that as a supporter I have the opportunity to put their hand in the hand of God’s as they move through what some think of as a time of “crisis”, instead into the reality of embracing it as a time of “catalyst”... I have the privilege of watching families being born, relationships mended, and joy being birthed right before my very eyes.

So humbled am I....
I have continued to offer labor support and birth assisting but have “reeled” in quite a bit as the needs of my family and my health have needed attention from me that I could not give while running at that pace. The Lord has used the last few years to transition me from one Life to another. He has helped me re-examine my priorities and relationships and to make sure they are in order. Now I can see why He did this when he did.

What has come very naturally to me from the first time I witnessed birth as a baby myself, to delivering my own children and helping with the delivery of others, I have realized it is, to sound very cliché, a calling that only some receive. I used to think all women had this within themselves and you choose it or not, but now I know it chooses you and that I have been chosen.

As I move to yet another level of this process, I am excited to see what will be added to my journey, where it will take me. I have faith in the fact that God has had His plan for me mapped out since the beginning. I know I can trust that as I walk by faith, He will carry me and all I have to do is obediently let Him do it!

At this point I am in continual prayer about where this journey will take me. I can imagine all kinds of scenarios!  I know I can trust what God has shown me over the last few years about myself and who I am in Him. He will, as well, show me through His word, Dave, and others that He has placed in my life for this purpose, the direction I should go. I am learning to gather “manna for today” and trusting that He will provide for tomorrow.

**Thanks Kim and Boden.