The story of my birth has reached mythological proportions in my family. Much of it is probably hyperbole, but two facts remain: I was a bold and lengthy 10-pound baby, and a woman named Monica delivered me on my parents’ own bed.
Maica, the town midwife, is now 101. The deep wrinkles in her face resemble a complex roadmap, with each line and intersection sharing a story from a time when most births took place right at home. I recognize my own story on Maica’s sage face. And I will always remember her name.
Today, I am an obstetrician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies. I have helped countless women with complex medical problems achieve healthy pregnancies and deliveries. And I vividly remember the first time I welcomed a baby into the world. Her tiny fingers grabbed mine with a surprising strength. My heart raced. I’d found my calling.