Being a Community Midwife

My family moved to Cannon Beach when I was about to turn 14.  My mom was re-marrying and we were starting a new life here on the Oregon Coast.  The day we arrived was one of those misty silver June days, where you can see all the layering in the coast range because as the mountains recede the exact shade of gray shifts a little and the full complexity of the range is revealed.  I fell in love right then and there. I can’t let one of those June days pass without remembering the first one, especially if I’m driving over the Young’s Bay bridge into Astoria.

When I went to college I ended up moving away for 20 years.  I always intended to come back here but it took a while for life’s meanders to bring me back to my home.  But I did come back with my husband and kids and fell in love with this place all over again.  It took a few years for me to figure out how I could give back to the community and ultimately I recognized that my desire to complete my midwifery training dovetailed perfectly with the community’s need for one.

So here I am, in love with a place and full of gratitude for the work that I get to do here.  Sometimes I find myself driving down a road in one of our little coastal towns, like Seaside for example, and I will pass by a home where I attended a sweet home birth.  The memory will rise up within me and I will be able to tap into the moment again, how I slipped quietly into the only dimly lit house on the street in the middle of the night, bringing the tools of my trade and my willingness to be patient and watchful.  In that first moment I wouldn’t know what to expect, but shortly I would immerse myself in birth–  in all it’s beauty, and difficulty; uniqueness and universality; purity and messiness. I would be graced with the chance to step out of time knowing that the world could go on without me, for I was witnessing a moment in creation.

This happens to me all the time.  Traveling up the hills into Astoria; driving over Hwy 26 and passing by small roads in Elsie, or Jewell; driving into a neighborhood on the East side of the Highway in Cannon Beach or cruising down a steep hill in Nehalem or into the grid of Tillamook.  The more this happens, the more I feel that I belong right here. Home.