I entered a contest several months back, I didn’t win, but the point for me anyway was to raise awareness and tell my story. That is, the story of why and how I became a midwife. The organization Future Midwives is who had the contest, and they just today reposted the story on their blog apparently. A friend of mine sent me the link on Facebook and so I re-read my story……I teared up, just like I’m doing right now typing this. I’m in tears because I am face to face with all the reasons and emotions that brought me to the place of becoming a midwife and then actually pursuing it. The biggest and most powerful memories are those of my own pregnancies and birth and my three children all grown now. They are so strong within me if I pause long enough I can relive each one of their births and it is powerful and wonderful and beautiful. I’m so thankful for all that they are and have been in my life, they have changed me and I’m a better person because of them.
Other memories, so many on this journey, the women and babies. Their lives and yes even their deaths have impacted me greatly. I believe we should take care of mothers and babies, and honor them for their positions in this world. The ones who bring forth new life and the new life itself, are both full of hope, joy, sorrow and pain. They can and do teach us so much.
Now, I am a midwife, and on the threshold of going and working/volunteering overseas this next year. I am full of all sorts of emotion with what the near future holds. I’m honored to have been asked to go and excited and have hope for this next year and beyond! I’m also very aware of many of the challenges that lay ahead, they are overwhelming and a bit scary to think about. The last few days have been a bit of a struggle for me. I am still far short of the needed finances that will enable me to go . A fund-raising event is still very much in the planning phase (I had hoped to have that figured out weeks ago. However, these things take time, a lot of time. They also require a lot of energy and more time/energy from other willing parties who have nothing to gain by helping me).
I’m posting ‘my story’ from the contest, in hopes it will reveal my heart and why I’m doing this. Perhaps you have wondered what the big deal is with midwifery and especially going overseas for no pay and having to ask other people to support you. Maybe you have thought about supporting me financially but haven’t done it yet. I know people are busy with life, I totally get it. Wherever you’re at with this and me and my happenings I hope you will consider partnering with me in some way or pass along my information to someone or a group that may have a mutual interest. Let’s protect mothers and babies everywhere……..
Suzie’s blog can be found here: The Traveling Midwife
“My name is Suzie Campana, I received my CPM in October of 2013.
My journey began without my even realizing it 28 years ago with my first of three pregnancies. I fell in love with pregnancy, birth and motherhood.
I am not sure that I knew midwives existed then, but I do know I was forever changed with each pregnancy and birth.
Years later, I was working in a labor/delivery unit. I assisted and observed hundreds of births; medicated, un-medicated, vaginal, assisted, cesarean, high-risk, low-risk, post-term and pre-term….you get the picture.
I earned a reputation, advocating for natural and physiological births. Often times being asked to assist with patients who were desiring a natural birth or struggling to cope with labor.
Seeing women transform before my eyes as they crossed over into motherhood was amazing. It didn’t matter if it was their first baby or their tenth.
There are two sides to birth, usually its euphoric, sometimes it’s not….
Babies born too early, mothers that were so sick. There were the elective terminations also. These are not classified as abortions, they are ‘medically indicated terminations’ by definition, very few of these were for the health or safety of the mother.
Still, the decision to pursue midwifery didn’t happen until 2005 while overseas in Thailand most of that same year.
I had an opportunity to briefly volunteer at a clinic along the Thai/Burma border assisting in the Reproductive Health Dept. In less than two weeks time at the clinic, I finally understood what my heart had known for many years.
Like the hospital, I saw amazing miracles happen daily. Now, though, I witnessed the realities of suffering induced by poverty and injustice.
Newborns dying from dehydration and diarrhea; to formula companies often pushing their insidious ‘milk powder’ in countries with bad water and poor sanitation.
A baby so emaciated from being bottle fed Coffee Mate because the family could not afford the ‘milk powder.’ Of course, the mother’s milk had long since dried up.
Postpartum hemorrhages that were managed with proficiency even with sparse supplies at hand.
A mother had labored at home as she had done with her other nine children, without a skilled birth attendant.
The baby was breech, his head became entrapped. He had long since died before they arrived at the clinic. The mother’s abdomen bruised from all the fundal pressure from those who had been with her.
My heart broke over and over with each tragedy, most of them preventable. Then I would take a breath, turn around to witness the miracle of life once more.
A preterm baby who was too weak to suckle so we showed his mother how to pump and syringe feed. She had no hope of his survival and wept almost continually. With encouragement she gradually joined the fight. He grew and eventually nursed at her breast. She glowed like the sun.
Finally in 2011, I enrolled in a midwifery program that has a focus on working in underdeveloped countries as well as North America.
The majority of my clinical internships were in the Philippines at two different charity maternity centers. The clinics and midwives are making birth safer for the women and infants they serve.
I finished the remainder of my clinical requirements attending women at a free standing birth center and at home in the U.S. I found that I really enjoy water births and home births.
My last required birth; a water birth, at home, mama birthed a whopping 9lb beauty, her perineum intact. It was pure home birth nostalgia, I was completely in love with pregnancy and birth as if it were the first time I had ever experienced it.
I am so grateful for all the experiences I have had and in the many different settings I have had them in. Even those negative or traumatic things witnessed along the way have taught me something, even if it is just, what not to do.
I have been asked to return to the Philippines to help facilitate a small maternity clinic in the mountains.
I’m excited for this next season, but before I go I must raise the funds.
This is not a paid position as the clinic is a free charity and faith based ministry. All services provided are free of charge, the clinic is funded by private donations as are all foreign staff.
The plan is to depart sometime in the late spring of 2014 and remain there for a year….I do not yet know the plan beyond that. Though Burma remains on my mind and in my heart.
If you would like to follow along with me I would love for you to visit and follow my blog”