The Midwife360 story continued…
The Midwife360 story continued…
I saw that many women came away from their experiences physically whole, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually damaged from a process that should have been transformative in a very positive way. We were not helping women prepare for successful parenting. On the contrary, for many women, we were providing experiences that they would have to recover from for years, not the story they were expecting.
Because of my core beliefs about birth and caring for women and babies, I found myself committing to women during times I was not officially on call. I would routinely go to the hospital after office hours to sit with a woman who had asked me to be with her and deliver her baby. Many clients would request that I be available for them as they preferred me to the other providers and I began working even more than that required in my contract. I was feeling like I needed to save these women from my co-workers and from their own decisions. After a while, this just became too much for me. Since I was continuing to practice in this way – struggling with what was expected of me and what my clients wanted from me – my body decided to shut it down.
In 2013, I strained my shoulder and became extremely worried about it as it became harder and harder to perform the activities of daily living as well as the activities of my job. Simple tasks became unbearable, like getting dressed and undressed, closing my car door and wearing my seat belt. Likewise, performing a Pap smear, catching a baby, or suturing a perineum were times that my shoulder screamed at me that something was terribly wrong. After about 6 months I began to seek answers and discovered that I had a frozen shoulder. The prognosis was grim, 3 years until complete recovery – no matter what I chose to do about it.
For therapy, because I had to do something to relieve the pain, I began working with a good friend who was also a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine – she performed acupuncture and massage on me 3 times a week for months. It was during one of these sessions when I was literally crying “why is this happening to me?”, she suggested I ask my shoulder. Sounds strange, but I decided to try it. And when I looked at my situation, when I realized that shoulders symbolize our sense of responsibility and purpose (shoulder the burden, carry the weight of the world on our shoulders) it became clear to me that I was spending a lot of time doing stuff that I didn’t believe in. When I strained my shoulder, that was the catalyst for my body to begin shutting down because what I was doing and what I believed in was not in alignment. I had become a super MEDwife(!) – participating, even starring in scenarios day in and day out that was not in alignment with who I was as a person and importantly, who I was as a midwife.
I asked to take some time off work and was dismayed to find that I would get a month to heal under my contract, but that was it. And I knew that 30 days was not going to be enough. This was my rock and hard place moment – do I quit my job and change my career that I had worked towards for most of my life? Or do I do something completely crazy and bold, something more in tune with my core values? The answer seemed obvious, I was going to have to put myself in alignment with my true beliefs around birth and helping women. I made the bold decision to separate myself from my doctor group and strike out on my own doing home birth.
After I put in my notice, as the time got closer, I started to think about the more practical aspects of my decision – like how I was going to support myself. I had been earning $10,000 per month, getting a direct deposit paycheck every 2 weeks. One day in March 2013, exactly 1 week before my last day, I realized that I would be getting only 2 more paychecks. Well-meaning people had been telling me that to start a medical practice one really should have about 6 months of income stashed away. As I had never been a saver and had managed to create a lifestyle where I was spending everything I was earning, I did not have that nest egg.
Suddenly, at that exact moment, my phone rang. As I was not too busy at the time and since the caller ID was from Colorado (where some of my children live) I took the call. The caller identified herself as a social worker from the Department of Family Services and she wanted to verify my address because they had a check for me from an old child support case. You see, my youngest child from that marriage was already 24 years old, and the case should have been closed when he turned 18. But it was a small town, she knew my family personally and had elected to keep my case open from year to year believing that we had been poor, struggling folks who deserved something good if it should come our way. She was calling to tell me that she had a check for $60,000 dollars from that old child support case. Right there were the 6 months of income that I needed to start my practice, Midwife360.
Midwife360 opened for business April 1, 2014. We have been growing ever since. We’ve been able to secure contracts with all of the major insurers except one. We have assisted nearly 200 women to birth at home and were named one of ACNM Best Practices for 2017. More importantly, my shoulder has healed and has returned to a nearly full range of motion. I have one full-time office assistant as well as a newly hired CNM to work alongside me caring for women and catching babies.
I know that if you believe in what you’re doing and put it out to the universe, or god, or whatever you pray to or believe in, your prayer will be answered. Trust, positive thinking, and following your heart are all it takes. According to the Law of Attraction, if you approach your life with an attitude of abundance and appreciation, good things will come your way. Stop complaining about how things are and start being grateful for what you have, for your health and your family and most importantly, never, ever, ever, give up!