Friday, October 06, 2006

What Did I Do?

Well, the mom we've been waiting on is in prodromal labor. My preceptor called yesterday afternoon and said the mom was menstrual crampy and to be ready because it would probably be last night. I went to bed early and woke three or four times to push the little button on the side of my cellphone and check for missed calls. I woke in my own bed at 7:00 AM. At 11 AM my preceptor called and said one of her other moms had been laboring all night and was at 5 cm and going slow, with a posterior baby.

She told me to pack all my equipment in case she was travelling between births, or catching the other baby when the mom I'm supposed to assist with needs help. My preceptor's other apprentice was going to be at the other birth. She is a fairly new apprentice, and a good friend of mine.

But then, the bomb is dropped. I say, "Will they be okay if it's me in a pinch at their birth?" And my preceptor says, "Actually, no. I don't think it will be okay." She then goes on to say that the dad does not like me (!?!?! First I've heard of this!) and he said at their home visit that I better not "get in his face". What the heck? My preceptor was taken aback and asked what he meant and she then she didn't give me any details other than this: when their last baby was born 2 years ago, there was some meconium in the fluid. After the birth, I was listening to the baby and said to my preceptor that her reflexes were sort of weak. The dad, evidently, freaked out completely and wanted to know what that meant, thought something horrible was wrong and I was standing in the way listening to the baby when he wanted to be right up by his wife and baby. He could have gone around to the other side, but that is neither here nor there now. Then the other apprentice beeped in on the call and I didn't get any other information. I have no clue of the details of what upset this dad, but it sounded like he had a litany of complaints.

The issue for me is that I am very sensitive (especially now) and I take this personally. I know I'm not going to "click" with every couple that I attend, and especially not with couples that I only assist with. I felt awkward at this couple's first birth, like I was an intruder. I do remember spending most of the time out in the kitchen and family room with the mom's family, and sleeping in their armchair for a while. I am racking my brain to try and figure out what upset this dad, but truthfully, I don't remember that much about the birth except it was the first birth that I read my preceptor's mind and handed her things before she asked for them. Other than that, I'm drawing a blank. No one ever talked to me at the time and mentioned anything they were unhappy about. And I certainly did not have any confrontation with anyone, which to me would be implied by being "in someone's face".

I am shocked and hurt. I know this won't be the last time a client is unhappy with me. I know it is a fact of midwifery life. But it is one of the aspects that totally sucks. When you are a homebirth midwife and you invest so much into trying to help each couple achieve their "ideal" birth, having someone tell you they have negative memories because of you is a complete blow. I hope that the other lady has her baby before this mom gets cranking, so my preceptor will be there. I can not even imagine what I would do alone.


Sage Femme said...

just remember one of the four agreements:

Do not take things personally.

I know it's hard, but this probably has VERY LITTLE to do with you and more to do with this man. How he views his role in the household, how his relationship is with his partner, etc.

It probably is not related to YOU personally, but obviously has triggered something for him.


Sarahthedoula said...

It is SO HARD to hear second hand that someone is upset with you but not know the details of it and therefore not be able to mend it. Especially when you know there will be continued interaction between you. I've been there...

Remember who you are, and why you're here. Stay grounded. Breathe. Believe that if you ARE present at that birth by yourself, it will be for a reason!