I am writing from the Dad's Perspective. At least this note may be a good note for Dads who are curious about home birthing, or Susie. Needless to say, Allison - my wife - has a much different emotional, physical perspective.
It took some time to compose this. Our experience with Susie was both life changing & affirming and her knowledge, commitment and humanity are difficult to describe in words.
Susie brought our third child into our world. Owen Edward Weis was born 6/5/04 in middle of the night, in the middle of a scorching Texas summer, in the middle of a powerful thunderstorm, flash flood; Anna (6/24/01) and Emery (11/12/98) were asleep across the hall.
Susie knew that we were a bit cautious about the idea of a home birth and was respectful. She offered advice and knowledge when requested and when appropriate. She is deeply educated, very articulate and thoughtful in her communication. We never felt rushed during office visits, never felt uncomfortable, always felt welcomed as if she was our dearest Aunt.
Western Medicine has convinced many of us that there is a life threatening danger very nearby, but can be treated with a dose of this or a shot of that. We came to Susie with a long list of "What If?"s and she patiently and assuredly spoke to each. I honestly think she listened to 100% of all that we said, carefully thought about it and responded in a gentle way. As if we were the first family to have her as our midwife - when we were most likely number 1023.
When the time is right, Susie is professional, focussed, and assertive, in a way that is pleasantly disguised with calmness, confidence, relaxation; Almost what you'd expect from a gymnast performing an iron cross or a triple back flip twist, while smiling.
Under unusual personal circumstances, during a thunderstorm and flash flooding, she arrived at our home in less than 30 minutes from when she got the call. She slipped an fell on our doorstep and I sure she broke her arm (she didn't). But even if she was in pain, it was impossible to discern. ALL her attention was on Allison and Owen.
In our small 11x14 bedroom, Susie with her alert apprentice, in a whirlwind, prepared everything. I can't account for all that she did, but in the end, there was a lot of stuff set up, just in case. Also in the room was a good friend, also a midwife apprentice. Myself included there were 5 grown adults in our little room.
As Owen arrived, he was greeted with peace and calm, loving smiles and dim lights. I don't remember him crying or screeching like his predecessors. He breast fed immediately and bonded will Allison for an appropriate time. Shortly after, Mom and Son were relaxing in a candle lit bathroom, floating in a herbal, healing tub. Serene, Calm and Relaxed. He WASN'T scrubbed, wrapped, pricked, poked, blinded by heat lamps, and carted away in hygienic plastic baby cribs on wheels by eager nurses. Our birthing experience was a living exemplification of all things good. Susie led the orchestra.
Testament to Home birthing: We evolved to Susie and home birthing. Our first, Emery, was born in to DC, at Georgetown Hospital. While committed to having a natural birth, Allison was lured by the epidural after wearing down from 12 hours of labor. Anna was born at Seton Hospital in Austin, "Au Naturalee" as the Texan Doctor w/out socks termed it. Aside from the process, paperwork, inquisition, procedure and other attributes of hospitals, childbirth is the most visceral experience a human can have. It is unsuitable to compare Owen's birth with Anna's and Emery's. They were all perfect. Although, the ambient noise was significantly decreased for Owen's birth at home. No stress of preparing and leaving and driving and checking in and getting hooked up to every monitor in the building and answering tons of questions. None of that for Owen. As Susie put it, and i paraphrase ... a peaceful birth is the right beginning to a peaceful life.
I've been to Alaska and spent some time in Eagle River, Girdwood, Anchorage. I believe that you are blessed to have such a remarkable woman in your territory. If we choose to have another child, we'll probably move to Eagle River during the third trimester.
Susie is the type of person you feel comfortable hugging on your first meeting. She has a positive impact on everyone i knew that worked with her. She is a great woman, and accomplished midwife, and at the core a strong advocate for more peaceful world.
J Weis - Austin, TX
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