Soon we sat in a white exam room flipping through pamphlets when in marched a midwife wearing a
T-shirt that said, “U.S. Navy: We Specialize in World Service!” We stood up. She walked right past me, introduced
herself to Emily, and sat at the table in front of us. “Have
a seat,” she said.
“Hi, I’m Brian,” I said, still standing, holding out my
“Hi, Brian,” she said, shaking it limply.
I deflated into my chair. This is “mid- wifery,” I tried
to tell myself, meaning “with woman.” It’s not about me.
Yet I couldn’t help flashing forward to the delivery day,
when I’d want to be alongside Emily as something more
than an out-of-place piece of furniture. And why the
Navy T-shirt, Admiral? Hup-two-push?
I don’t mean to be catty. I just didn’t want a bad first
impression of the person who might be delivering my
baby. That’s right: my baby. As she yammered on (to
Emily) about all the tests she should get, I thought to
myself, Wait a minute. I’m no bystander here. I’m the
father. I want a role.
Weeks later, Kathy, a homebirth midwife, sat on the other side of a steeping teapot in our living room.
She wore a finely patterned cardigan, leather boots, and
a nose piercing, which, as I poured us tea, I got close
enough to see was a tiny silver flower.
Kathy opened the discussion. “So, what questions do
you have about homebirth?”
Emily and she both looked at me.