Hubs and I began our first birthing class last night. It was fascinating to see the Asheville demographic represented alongside us. There was: a climatologist, a police officer, a cranial sacral therapist, a massage therapist, an environmental engineer, a UNC-Asheville staff member, an ecologist, two medical students expecting their first baby, and a solar power engineer/installer and his wife, who tends to their mini farm.
Jan, who began the practice back in '97, began by quoting one of my favorite parts of Pam England's Birthing From Within: It's a lot of work, it hurts, and you can do it. She then began describing the work that she and the other nurse midwives perform for their clients as being "Guardians of Natural Birth." That really resonated with me. They're not there to tell you what to do, Jan stated. Their objective, their goal, really, is to facilitate natural birth for you, allowing the woman to tap into her own innate inner strength and wisdom to help the life within her emerge as naturally as possible.
We watched a video after a discussion of early labor (that'll be the format these next 4 weeks-discussion, followed by a video, which works perfectly with my preference for visual learning). I've watched footage of live births before in my life (although, admittedly, not in a long, long time). Maybe it was because it's so literally close to home, but as that first child emerged in the birthing tub and was immediately put onto its mother's chest, tears just streamed down my face, falling onto my shoulders. In fact, just thinking of it now is getting me choked up.
It's incredible, and magical, and beautiful, and painful, and absolutely awe-inspiring to watch new life emerge. Whether it's from a baby chick, pipping its way into the world, a sack of tiny spiders timidly climbing out of their fragile home, or a human infant, transitioning into the greater world, birth is a mysterious, wonderous thing of deep beauty.
T-minus 48 days 'til Nugget.
*Image by Nikki McClure from here.