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  • Writer's pictureBryna Sampey, IBCLC

The Secret Side of Birth Work

I don’t usually write stuff like this, but I was headed home from am urgent consult in the wee hours and these words just flew into my head. Though mostly only other birth workers will relate, I’d like to offer you a peek into a part of my life that no one else sees. Thanks for sharing in my secret space.


Desert Highway

Driving home from a birth or a late-night home visit, it’s quiet.

The car, my mind, the road– the same sort of weighty hush surrounds me that accompanies a snowfall at midnight.

The cobweb-cones of streetlights in the fog reach out for my car as I pass the dark trees on either side, making my way to my bed. The road shines in my headlights and gets dark. A bit beyond that, it’s lit a little by the moon and an orange brush of the lights ahead.

It’s this time when I think the veil is lifted just a bit. I’m jangled and frayed, having ridden the adrenaline and oxytocin and catecholamine waves with the family I’ve just come from serving.

I’m tired, and I’m quiet, so I’m listening. Connected.

In my exhaustion and exhilaration, it sometimes feels like something is standing just behind my left shoulder, just at the edge of my perception. I can all but hear the ebb and flow of life like waves crashing on a beach miles away.

Right now, someone is being born.

Right now someone is dying.

Birth, death, over and over and over again.

It’s endless- but these moments are so singular and defined. Everyday miracles, I guess, but those words fall so short.

It feels a little bit like sacrilege-- tapping into the pulse of the world.

When I get home, I pull off my shoes and grubby birth clothes, leave everything in a pile on the bathroom floor and slide into bed like nothing happened at all.

It’s just another night of work.


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