My dream existence involves living on a Farm. Chickens, goats, a lovely garden of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. One day, maybe. But then there's The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. Anyone who has read Spiritual Midwifery, Birth Matters or Ina May's Guide to Childbirth has heard of this place. Once a hippie commune, now some 44 years later, it is described as an intentional community that has created a model for sustainable living. The part I was most interested in was The Farm Midwifery Center.
As I began my doula training with DONA, the first step was a lengthy reading list on a variety of topics that related to birth. At the top of the list were the books mentioned previously by Ina May Gaskin. These books with their birth stories were my favorites and ones that I could not put down! THIS was such an ideal way of approaching birth.
My daughter Sara was who initially introduced me to the idea of becoming a doula, before I knew what a doula was and has been my greatest encouragement to pursue this dream also read these pages with joy and anticipation. Before ever conceiving she knew that this was a place that she'd want to go to birth her baby.
Fast forward a year. Newly pregnant she began to investigate her options and contacted The Farm Midwifery Center to inquire about coming to have her baby in this wooded childbirth mecca, about 5 hours from where we are in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Her prenatal care was with a local practice and if necessary, would have stayed with them for the birth. They were on board with the plan and provided very good care throughout her pregnancy. (Although she did have to explain The Plan to go to The Farm many times along the way!)
Communication continued throughout the following weeks and months with her records forwarded to The Farm on a regular basis. They asked us to come up for a visit at around 2nd trimester so in mid September Sara, her husband Casey and I made our first trip to meet her midwife and team, Carol Nelson, CPM and two apprentice midwives, Sara and Tania. Part of the Midwifery Center is training the next generation in this special model of care and having these young ladies there from day one was wonderful.
I had seen pictures in the books and on the videos of this place and it looked exactly the same. I'd seen several OB/GYN practices in my lifetime, delivering 4 babies in 3 different states, 4 different cities. This looked nothing like those! Clinic hours are on Wednesdays. The number of families like us they serve is limited. On purpose. So, when we got there they were ready for us. No waiting to be seen. They were there for us. We spent 2 full hours just talking, getting to know one another. Talking, laughing, asking questions of each other. Never ever rushed. Peaceful and relaxed, within no time these 3 people were becoming friends. This was our TEAM! It wasn't until well into the visit that Sara stepped up the the table for an exam, just checking the baby's heart rate and measurements. Watching Carol's hands on that growing belly...I loved seeing her work, feeling her wealth of experience and feeling confident that we were beginning an amazing relationship with this wonderful lady! She talked about chiropractic care for some round ligament pain, nutrition and we left feeling well taken care of and supported.