Doula By Donation. Sounds strange but that’s exactly what I offer; doula services for a donation of any amount. All donations go toward missions and midwifery education. In 2013 alone, the Lord has provided the donations for me to go on mission right back to where the new journey began. It was all part of His plan as you can read, but it became new five years ago in the Dominican Republic.
My earliest memory of the desire to deliver babies was at the age of three. I have been intrigued my whole life about the process. I had a natural inclination of wonder about the human body; how it looked, how it worked, all that it could do. But I was especially curious about birth.
I own a little book that recorded information for each school year 1st-12th grade. Within was the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? I would answer this question each year with various answers but one answer was always the same; deliver babies.
While still young, the fact that there were titles for doctor’s specialties came to my realization. I found that Obstetrics delivered babies and Gynecologists cared for women. Without knowing there was a combined title, I put them together myself to one day aspire to an OB/Gyn.
Following the Pre-Med path, the goal felt more of a burden rather than an exciting adventure. Even adventures have their troubles but there was not any joy on this journey. On yet another gray, ordinary day as I walked across campus feeling as if I were drudging around in the same circle never heading toward my goal, I spoke with the Lord. I asked myself if I desired to live life now or in ten to fifteen years after medical school. I chose now. ‘But God, I have no other aspirations, no other goals, nothing to set toward. What will happen now?’ All in this tiny moment was a life changing decision while feeling inept for anything else. But thankfully, God gave me a feeling of surrender and suddenly the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. I smiled with gratitude. It was going to be okay. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 6:30, Romans 8:28)
Life continued on. I transferred colleges and changed my major to Business. I graduated with an expensive piece of paper that states I earned a BBA according to MTSU. Marrying 1 ½ years later, I lived the life I had not wanted to wait for after medical school. The travel, the house, the car, the kids all provided the experience while the desire for seeing a birth was always fresh. When my best friend was expecting, I threw myself all in. This is when I learned midwifery wasn’t something old, but something continuing, something biblical and something better! Although she did not have a midwife, all the reading I did to prepare for HER pregnancy and birth revealed the many options available. I could read and talk birth all day. I still can. I just can not understand why everyone else doesn’t.
I learned so much about the occupation during this time including having my own midwife for one of my births and experiencing pregnancy and natural birth for myself. All of this just intensified the passion.
My walk with the Lord grew during these years as well. Desiring to serve, I joined a mission trip along with my son who had just made a confession of faith when he turned five. I wanted him to realize that the rest of the world was not like America with all of its luxury. The trip had already been planned and a thought occurred to me that it would have something of midwifery involved. During the mission to the Dominican Republic I was blessed over and over again. However, I never saw one pregnant mom! (Mark 16:15)
Just when I thought my presumption was wrong, I was sitting in the airport waiting for our flight to leave the country and two women were sitting next to me chatting about babies. Looking down, they carried with them text books and material all about birth. I do not recall how I entered into the conversation, but I did and I gained knowledge of Midwife To Be. The owner passed her card to me letting me know about the online course and that she lead mission trips to serve others too!
At home, I joined the Midwife To Be email group and stayed abreast of what was happening with her missions and with Midwife To Be. I prayed. I contemplated. I dreamed. At the time, having a two year old at home and always moving with my husband’s job I knew it wasn’t the time to try and start the program. As the years passed, I kept wondering when it would be the time.
Then, one day, as I was cleaning and thinking on these things as I so often did, a pause came over my Spirit. I can remember looking at the pictures of my husband and son being baptized hanging on the wall. These thoughts came to me as Jesus speaking:
‘This is not just an interest, hobby or desire.
It is a passion.
Therefore, being a passion, I put it there.
If I put it there, it will happen in My time.’
At that moment, all my worry and concern was relieved. I simply prayed, “Lord, please do not let me get in the way. Allow my eyes to be open to your leading.” (Acts 1:7, Matthew 6:33)
If you have ever experienced this kind of relief you know what I am trying to express. A knowing that it is all taken care of and an excitement to see how it will be fulfilled is without description.
Although I can not recall the exact time that passed I do know it was less than one month when ‘His time’ came. A special man I had spoken with over the phone approached me at church to finally meet face to face. He had just returned from a mission in Ecuador and was sharing his story with me. I was fascinated and my desire was sparked yet again to be in his shoes working for the Lord. I shared with him how I hoped one day to learn midwifery skills and use them in service to God. I shared with him my first trip to the DR. In reply, he asked the cost of the Midwife To Be program. I answered, although reasonable it was more than what us moms usually spend on ourselves.
He graciously replied that it was now taken care of.
So many emotions overwhelmed me in this moment. I wasn’t just excited at the thought of beginning the program but I was awed by the work of Jesus fulfilling what He said, a miracle happening right there!
I was in shock. It took prayer and time to sink in. I hope I never get over that shock and awe of God’s hand in my life.
And He keeps going!
I purchased the textbooks and signed up! I studied with gusto. The owner of Midwife To Be offers clinical skills at her home. These skills are necessary in learning midwifery and required by state standards and NARM. (North American Registry of Midwives that certifies students as midwives when their criteria is met) Although my goal is not to appease the checklist for NARM, it is a good outline to work with.
Imagine my excitement when desiring to go to skills I find that they are held only two hours from me! Skills are held at the owner’s home and yet meeting her in another country we live that close to one another! Another hand of God! So, off I went. It had been five years and I reminded her of our meeting in the Dominican. It was wonderful getting to know her, seeing how God worked in her life and laid her path, and a blessing to see how she honors Him with this work. Once we had spent some time together, she offered me to assist at births. I began coming to prenatal visits and finally, in September 2012 I was called to a birth!
I missed it.
Delightfully, there is always another birth. I saw my first live birth in December of 2012. It felt so natural to be there. I must express I was more elated than ever in my life. Every time I think of a birth, I can’t help but feel that way.
During this time, friends and acquaintances kept encouraging me to meet a local midwife. Some, who suggested the meeting, had heard great things and some had even hired her as their midwife also having wonderful things to say. Even the owner of Midwife To Be knew her and encouraged the meeting. I had already thought about doing so in order to glean a direction and any advice she could give as I walk this path. Eventually, I called and she invited me to her home for a meeting. I was very elated to have this chance. It was a fabulous conversation sharing with her my testimony then getting to listen to her life’s path. So many births! She offered so much knowledge accumulated and balanced from the medical field, holistic views and everything in between all while being Christ centered! Just as God’s hand was obviously present when meeting the owner of Midwife To Be, one could certainly see God’s hand at work here too. At the end of our meeting she offered me some great resources and the opportunity to come to births. (Matthew 5:16)
Shortly after, she did call me. Meeting her assistant for the first time, she jumped right in showing me all the procedure in setup. I was so very blessed to be at this birth. The atmosphere was perfect for learning. The mom already knew what she was doing being this was baby #3. I shared a mutual friend with the mom and another friend that was there which helped with the overall presence. The assistant was so willing and helpful to show me so much! Learning the skills is one thing but there is a process as well to supplies, set-up and preparation. Just writing this reminds me of the selfless acts of everyone, both at the births and in my life. The midwives, the assistant, other apprentices, the birthing families, my husband, my sons and so many others speak into my life through their selfless acts and encouragement toward this walk I am taking. (Philippians 4:8)
And so, it has come full circle in under a year and a half filled with 29 births, 6 clinical skills classes and two of my own doula clients. I still have a very long journey to be considered a midwife but I will be returning to the Dominican Republic in February along with the owner of Midwife To Be as a part of her midwife mission team this time to DEFINITELY have something to do with midwifery. Society’s most traveled path is not the only road that leads to a desired destination. If we would allow Him, if we would ‘be still and listen’ He just might have a path laid just of our own, complete with beautiful sightseeing along the way. (Psalm 46:10)
I am beyond ecstatic, not because I will get to see babies being delivered but because I get to see God continue to do amazing things on this journey and He chose me to come along with Him!
I. AM. SO. THANKFUL. Psalm 128