The night before last, the first woman that Jewel and I took care of back in January 2005 had her second baby with me as the birth attendant.
I couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff into my new life. Labor was five hours start to finish, hard labor was about 2 of those hours, and it all happened when most families are having dinner and getting kids into bed.
But let’s rewind. I did her visits as home visits after I moved out of my office, so I got to hang out with the now almost seven year old that I helped out. It still messes with my head, really. This former eight pound wonder is now a walking, talking, sentient human being with a will and a personality.
When I got to their house, she handed me a $1 bill. Her dad walked by and said knowingly, “Ah, the tooth fairy money.” She grinned and showed me her four non teeth, two upper and two lower. I asked her, “Sooo….are you showing me this?”
Her absolutely serious reply was, “This is for taking the baby out.”
I tried in seven year old language to tell her I don’t really do anything except make sure mommy and the baby stay safe. Maybe she understood, but later I found TWO $1 bills on the corner of the dresser where the supplies were. I hope it didn’t offend her that I left them there.
Let’s rewind some more and shift to mom. About a month ago she asked me to clear her to return to work at three weeks postpartum. I told her I would do so with great reluctance and only if she swore she’d be in bed as much as possible for those three weeks. She has a relatively sedentary management job that she can mostly do from home, but REALLY. I’m pretty sure she agreed, but maybe I heard what I wanted to hear.
When she was pacing the hall, I distractedly browsed their well-decorated refrigerator. I wonder if any anthropologists have done dissertations on refrigerator art. My eyes fell upon a ticketmaster ticket: Guns n’ Roses, November 15. Actually, not one ticket but FOUR.
As she finished lap # 72 of the hall, I asked, “Um, you aren’t going to this, are you? This is like NEXT WEEK.”
She looked at me like I’d grown a second head and said, “Uh, YEAH?!!!”
No stopping THIS one. I was starting to feel like a scolding mother wagging her finger. I thought about begging her to please not partake of the mosh pit, but I’m afraid she’d just laugh at me.
And the birth? Just beautiful. Remarkable for its unremarkableness. Big baby boy who nurses like he’s been studying.
And with this baby safely earthside, I can turn my full attention to my rapidly unfolding journey. About every twelve to twenty four hours I get new information that dramatically changes….something.
As it looks now, I’m heading to Toronto this Thursday for one month to take a compressed course involving fetal heart rate monitoring, emergency skills drills, exams, observation days. Then back home in mid December.
Providing I pass everything, I begin a clinical placement somewhere in Ontario beginning February 1st. Ideally, I would be done by the end of April but may be there until May. Then boards at the end of May, and returning home for The Big Move.
Then a job, likely starting in July or August-maybe Vancouver, maybe Toronto. I don’t know. Really, thinking that far ahead is somewhat impossible right now.
I continue on a roller coaster, thrilled when the next step is there as I take it, freaked out and convinced I can’t continue a few hours later, confident again a few more hours later. I realized that my biggest source of fear is that I have no financial cushion if anything goes wrong.
Right now, among the things that are keeping me anchored, one is that I don’t need to freak out about what I need six months from now. Right now, I have enough. I have plans for what to do later, but it can wait until I’ve passed this month long marathon of testing and I know I have a clinical placement.
In the big picture, I know that I have too many people who care about me to have any actual worry about being homeless or starving.
In my fearful moments, I take measure of the many ways I’m feeling supported. So here goes.
THINGS THAT LEAVE ME SHAKING MY HEAD IN WONDERMENT
1) That the program administrators of the IMPP were willing and able to take me on as a late entry student.
2) That I got the written exam done in the fashion that I did.
3) That I was able to do the oral exam with the flexibility of my Planned Parenthood associate medical director and the health center manager where I was working that day.
4) That I’ve had four people in my life say, “Hey, I know people in Toronto! Here’s their address/phone number/email!”
5) My fabulous bookend patient had her baby in perfect timing for me to get to Toronto when I need to be there.
6) Today’s passport photos/chest x ray/medical exam was as smooth as anyone could ask for.
7) That the program director is willing to work around my Thanksgiving trip to visit my family.
8) I was genuinely afraid that I might not be able to get a student visa because I need to have evidence of health insurance, which I haven’t had for the better part of seven years. I found out today that I can get international student insurance for an incredibly low rate. (GAWD, that sounds like a commercial.)
9) That all of this has happened inside two weeks.
OK, I definitely feel better now. Off to bed now. I have a lot to do in the next 48 hours or so.