Saturday, 21 May 2011

Private Clients Make Busfare Babies Possible

Busfare Babies seems to be taking on a life of its own. The first half of this year has been so busy that I have not had time to do much more than midwife and mother. I am realising an increasing need for some one to help with the administrative side of things as I have not got enough time in the days to do this.

Having not really focussed on fundraising, we are still trying to finance the running costs ourselves. Thankfully birth works so well, and a baby slipping into the world is not generally very expensive, but having no funding has meant that I have needed to take on private clients in order to afford to run the centre.

These clients have been such wonderful births that despite having to travel long distances (sometimes up to 3 hours each way) to attend them they have been worth every kilometer of travel. Births in Hamburg I find so beautiful in their simplicity and in the way women are able to labour with such focus. In the private sector, I am amazed at the unflailing determination of women to claim birth back as their own despite a private medical system that believes that a 60-80% cesarean section rate is acceptable.

I am sure Carina will not mind me telling her story here. After 3 cesareans Carina was determined that she would not have another cesarean. She felt that cesareans had been damaging physically and emotionally. She had been obsessed with normal birth since her first child was born by cesarean 9 years ago. This cesarean she felt was unnecessary and she felt the same way about the next 2 cesareans, all of which plunged her into deep post natal depressions which she struggled to shake.
With her fourth pregnancy she carried beautifully. Carina is tall and slim, with hips that no obstetrician could believe could birth a baby naturally. Her belly grew rounder and rounder and her pregnancy lasted longer and longer. She struggled with her own fears and with the concerns of her family and friends and the idea that her notion to have a home birth after 3 cesareans was foolish and risky. Thomas stood by her solidly. In his role of protector, he weathered the wait with her, not bowing to the opinions or pressures, he was a solid, unwavering rock of support.

Eighteen days after the estimated due date, labour started. Labour was slow and steady and I went to her in the night as I had a few nights previously. We slept on and off until labour strengthened and sleep was no longer possible then with the waves of labour we paced stronger times with sleepy times. Children went off to stay with helpful grandparents and there was time to focus on the labour. By the afternoon, Carina was weary and feeling despondent, the place many labouring women must journey through. The terrible place of impossibility. Carina mustered her strength in this difficult place, laying down all her fears and wishes and surrendering to a process that was so much stronger than herself. With this frightful surrender, and Thomas beside through each contraction, her labour strengthened and following a final, intense phase, she birthed her baby. All 4.180kg of baby boy from her own womb, all by herself, despite all the prophets of doom and their predictions of impossibility.

What a healing moment. It was as if she had birthed her fourth baby to make up for all the other births of her babies that she was not able to experience. The delight was tangible. The relief enormous.

For the next few days Carina reveled in the elation that comes from giving birth to a baby. The tiredness came, but this time she had a wholeness that made the tiredness manageable. She felt complete, like she had done this herself and was able and strong to go forward as a mother with confidence. In one of her sms messages she summed it up: ' O Karen, I am wonderful! Rupa is awesome! What a glorious experience giving birth is."

As a midwife there is not much that compares with the satisfaction of attending women who realise what it is that they want and go forward towards that strongly and resolutely.
The satisfaction that these woman feels after giving birth against so many odds is so powerful and incomparable with anything else and it is such a privilege to be in attendance.

It is births like these that fuel my work as a midwife. And it is wonderful that births like these make Busfare Babies possible at the moment and allow the women in these villages around Hamburg and Bodium to have these same experiences which would otherwise be so unaffordable.

Thank you Carina and all the other women that trust me to attend them through their pregnancies and labours and as they give birth to their babies and who make Busfare Babies possible.