Kim Osterholzer, a midwife who has caught over 500 babies in twenty-three years, ushers readers behind the doors of Amish homes as she recounts her lively, entertaining, and life-changing adventures learning the heart and art and craft of midwifery.
In Born for This, Kim chronicles the escapades of her nine-year apprenticeship grappling with the nuance and idiosyncrasies of homebirth as she tagged along after the woman who helped her birth her own babies at home. With drama and insight, she recounts the beauty and painstaking effort of those early years spent catching babies next to crackling woodstoves, by oil lamp and lantern light, and in farmhouses powered by windmills for running water and sporting outhouses for the unmentionables. She found herself catching babies born into leaky wading pools and through howling snow storms: huge babies, tiny babies, breech babies, and twin babies. Some births kept her from home for days on end, others she missed by heart-pounding seconds, yet every birth enthralled her, whether halting hemorrhages, sharing breath with tiny lungs, or bouncing through wild rides in ambulances.
Too many times to count, Kim stumbled home feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, yet as she strained against her misgivings, self-doubts, and seemingly insurmountable challenges, those intimate, sacred moments transformed her as time after time she rocked back upon her heels to soak in the spellbinding magic of hearty cries filling the air - the cries of brand-new lives with newly expanding lungs, of hardy men with overflowing hearts, of life-bearing women with the reward of their labors filling their arms---a harmony of cries that mingled with Kim's own and that, together, rose heavenward from rumpled beds speckled and splattered with the sweat, tears, and blood of those births. The very beds of those conceptions became sacred spaces awash with love and joy and gratitude.
She persevered, and her experiences became profoundly empowering as she unearthed the foundation and cornerstone of true midwifery---how to use her heart as well as her hands to serve, and to serve in the simplest of womanly ways---stroking, smoothing, wiping, tidying, nourishing, comforting, hearing, encouraging, validating, and witnessing.
Slowly, steadily, Kim learned to play her part as midwife to the Amish---her part in a symphony of inimitable women---a single, piping strain among the melodies of those skilled, focused, strong, and harmonious---women unflagging in their passion to welcome new lives earth-side effectively and gently. And at last, tried and tested, Kim took her rightful place among them.