When I left for Indonesia on June 10th, I knew that I would learn so much in the next 45 days. And I learned more than I thought I would learn and saw more than I ever thought I would see. I attended 32 births. I saw many many complications. I wanted to see complications in a bad sort of good way. Who wants to really see them, but I needed to see them for the experience. I saw things that some homebirth midwives would never see in their practices. I mastered some skills and learned some new ones. Sutured a perineum! Many breastfeeding hours put in. Many 36 hours days.
Joys: seeing women become mothers and men become fathers, palpating so many tummies, sitting at the feet of an amazing mentor, a VBAC mom with vertical scar push for 6 hours and never stop, the birth song as each baby emerges. Sorrows: mothers disappointed in having girls, seeing previous birth traumas, some I still can't bring myself to share.
I went tentatively and unsure as a student midwife. I came back a strong, confident midwife.
Indonesia changed me. I left a chunk of my heart behind. And I have to go back and find it.