A Midwife’s Husband

It’s 2:13am when my phone starts to ring. It only rings once before I have answered it, “Hello?”

“Hi….it’s (husband of a client)….my wife is started having contractions a couple of hours ago and her water just broke.”

It takes less than 7 minutes for me to ask the questions I need to ask (What happened? How much fluid? Was it clear? How are contractions? Alrighty, I’m on my way!), call the rest of the birth team, change my clothes, brush my teeth, and I’m in the car backing out of the garage. It’s 2:20am.

I have no idea when I will be pulling back into my garage – I could be gone for as little as 3 hours in which case I will be sneaking back before the sun is up with my own children having no idea that I was called away in the middle of the night, no idea why I’m so tired – or I could be gone for a day or more while some brave mother battles on throughout the day and into the next night. I commit myself to this family with 100% of my heart and soul for however long it takes to see this baby slip into this world and both mom and baby recover from the experience.

If this were a movie, the mother, father, and baby would be the lead actors. Our role (myself and my apprentices) are as supporting cast members. But what nobody sees is the most thankless job of all – all of the other jobs that scroll through the credits, those who work behind the scenes to make this movie possible. All of those roles in my life are filled by my husband.

As I quickly brush my teeth and race out the door to the birth, I will admit that I don’t stop to think about my own five children. Who will get them ready for school, who will watch over them as they sleep, who will go to their soccer game, and who will be greeting them after school and making them dinner? My husband is a computer engineer (aka. Techy Genius) who has had a job that he telecommutes to for the last 15 years. He laughs as he talks about his “20-foot long commute” into his office at the far end of our home. Simply put, his flexibility with his job makes my job possible for our family. His commitment to me and to our family means that our children always have at least one parent available to them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of their lives.

As if that weren’t enough, his contribution to my job goes even further. He has learned over the last 20 years how best help me decompress after challenging births by knowing just the right time to look surprised when I tell him about that really wild thing that happened, or hold me as I cry after a scary night. He has even learned to speak my language in a way I tend to take for granted…”So my G2P1 client with ROM this morning actually birthed AFTER the primip who had show last night….!”
(Yes, he actually understands things like that without blinking.) He celebrates my triumphs and suffers right along with me when things don’t go our way. He is my silent partner in this crazy life and even he constantly underestimates his contribution to my job and our family.

I think about how different things could be if I didn’t have a partner as committed to this lifestyle as I am…and even thinking about it terrifies me. What if I were a single mother? Could I do this job? I don’t think so. How do you find a babysitter at 3am? How do you function taking care of the kids after being awake for 40 hours straight? How do you raise children with a totally unpredictable job where you can get pulled away at a moments notice with no idea how long you will be gone?

Those aren’t entirely rhetorical questions as I truly don’t know how I would do it.

Stephanie and her husband Brian – 20 years of support!

I would love to take this opportunity to tip my hat to not only my husband (who deserves his own special “man/father/husband of the year award”)…but to ALL partners of midwives everywhere!!! It is an often unrecognized and not acknowledged, and yet takes an INCREDIBLE person to fill that role. Thank you, Mr Brian Soderblom – my partner in every single job I have in this life. Thank you for making this life possible for me. You have made every dream I’ve ever had come true….thank you.