I'm sure when you see the title of this blogpost "When My Midwife Changed My Life", you probably assume that I'm going to be writing about how empowered she made me feel during birth or how she educated me on the benefits of trusting my body and baby or some other feel-good type of situation. Sure. She did all of those things. But the moment that she reached in my heart and touched my inner being happened two weeks after I gave birth to my second child... a beautiful, robust, easy-going, baby boy.
Even though my precious one was as laid back as they come, around day 5-6 postpartum, I was immediately overcome with anxiety. Not worry, persay (I know what persistent OCD postpartum worry is like, and that's not what I was experience). No, this anxiety was physical. It was causing my heart to race; my appetite vanished; my mind raced with nothingness; sleep (even though baby boy was sleeping relatively well for a newborn) rarely came to me even though I was exhausted. I felt like I was racing on a treadmill trying to escape something. The scary part, for me, was that I didn't know what this "something" was.
At my sweet boy's two-week check-up, I mentioned to his amazing pediatrician what was going on with me. Since my midwife's office was down the hall, the pediatrician asked, "Do you want me to try to get you in to see Candie today?".
YES. Oh, yes. Yes. I did! I just needed someone to tell me that was okay. It was okay to seek help.
I walked down the hall and was immediately embraced by my sweet midwife. The woman who had not only caught my two babies, but who had also sat with me for an hour at each prenatal visit to, when we ran out of pregnancy-related things to talk about, just "shoot the breeze". Now I understand that we weren't just chit-chatting, she was making me feel safe. She created such a cocoon of safety and peace for me when I was in her presence, that I would immediately let all fears fly out.
So, during that 2 week postpartum visit, just seeing her face immediately lifted the elephant off my chest that was suffocating me. She told me that what I was experiencing could be just "normal" PP stuff.. or it could be indicative of PPD or PPA. She listened to me. She cried with me. She asked if I wanted to try going on medicine. She told me it was okay if I did. That I would be okay. That we would figure this out. That I was not alone.
She left the room to write the prescription, and I heard her nurse come up to her and say,
"I thought you had left to get an early start on your weekend and spend some time with your family."
Candie responded with, "I was going to. But someone needed me to be present for them."
I'll never forget hearing that.
"To be present."
Wow. To be present for others is sometimes the greatest gift we can give others. And, she taught me that fully. Sure, I could have been prescribed medication from another care provider, but I needed her presence. I needed her. And having her acknowledge and honor that, even though she could have easily told me to come back on Monday or passed me off to her OB, was life changing. It was humbling for me. Maybe I didn't get it at the time. But, now... now, I totally understand. Being present IS the gift of humanity, no matter who you are in life --- a gas station attendant, a doctor, a teacher, the President of the United States.
Being "present" is what we were made for.
Thank you, Candie for that life lesson.
PS. Although I'm in East Tennessee now, if anyone reading this is lives in the Western Kentucky area and is in need of a care provider, Candie Riehl is the best.