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I am a midwife. A traditional midwife. What ever that may mean to others, to me it is just who I am. There is nothing glamorous about being a midwife. There are no great financial rewards. Your family, at times, suffers from your decision to be a midwife. There are many who do not have true knowledge about what you do. There are those that will despise you with all they are for what you do. Yet, there are the moments that every midwife has that are unequaled to any other experience a being can have. To write about them does not do justice to those moments.
Early in my career, I was living near the Elfwind Barony in the Northern Marches of the Empire. I was the local midwife for a great section of the countryside. The Bishop's cathedral was at times unreachable in the winter due to snow storms and dense forest. I was typically alerted by a heretic druid or one of her dryad allies if there was a woman in need of my services.
The Baron's only child, Adia had been abducted and assaulted by the re-emerging serpent people set free in the North at that time. The serpents had used her as breeding stock for their sorcerous experiments, and left enchantments protecting the pregnancy until the birth. Unlike the other sorcerous women abducted by the serpents, Adia had been spared from death. The magic in her blood burned brightest among them, and the snakes took special care to see that her fruit would be especially powerful.
Although she had been rescued from certain death, both her mind and body told the tale of the ordeal. When she arrived home, her limbs were thin and brittle from malnourishment. Her hair, tangled and matted in blood and vermin had to be shorn. Adia's comely features were marred by the scars and bruises from the serpents' torture and abuse. She spoke little, and kept to herself as much as she could. Her once sure and charming voice broke in anger and sorrow often. At times she would sit alone and weep quietly to herself.
At first, my visits did little to warm her spirits. I had no idea what sort of child grew within her womb, so there was little I could do to prepare her for the birth. There was not even any way to determine when the child was due. To make matters worse, Adia's father was of the opinion that the child should be slain immediately after the birth. Extra guards were ordered to stand watch at Clearbreeze manor which added to Adia's discomfort.
She had just passed her 130th birthday, and her parents' health was failing. The prince's heir stopped his courtship of Adia and instead married an elven maid from the Duriak Forest. The love of her life had fallen in battle. Her manor no longer seemed safe following the abduction and her companions had left her to herself following her rescue. Thinking back though, I believe it was Adia herself who made up her mind to continue living her life. It was as though she decided that she could no longer feel sorry for herself. Little by little, her magnetic personality began to shine through the cracks in the darkness that had shrouded her for so long.
One evening close to what we reckoned would be her due date, a dryad named Honeysuckle skipped into my home. The faerie let me know that Adia believed she was in labor. I made the day's journey to Clearbreeze manor arriving before dawn. She was beautiful, drinking tea and walking around. We talked, checked the baby, and decided to take a walk around her manor house as the sun came up.
Sparrows, foxes, white-tailed deer and blue remorpho butterflies seemed to accompany us. We would stop for contractions and the animals would all stop for us as well. Nature provided an orchestra of sounds matching the rhythm of labor. She progressed pretty fast on that walk so we returned to ready her for labor. The soldiers urged her to allow them in the birthing room, but she forbade it. Against her father's orders she declared she would not have those private moments marred with soldiers carrying weapons of war mucking about.
Her family was on their way from their manor deeper within the Barony and would be there by the afternoon but she thought the baby would arrive later on in the morning. Her baby was a good size and head down. Just as her pain began to escalate and she began to bear down, a most curious thing happened. No less than eight dryads appeared in the birthing room. At first I was a bit shocked, but Adia accepted the faeries and invited them to stay. They kept out of the way for the most part, but they were very curious. Their presence seemed to lighten Adia's burden and cast off much of the pain of childbirth. She had no problems with her son's birth. He emerged from the womb a perfectly healthy half-elven child. Following the delivery, the dryads all left a gentle kiss on the forehead of the babe in Adia's arms before they melted away into the morning mists. How they ever made it past the brace of guardsmen, I will never know.
She nursed her son Elias and nursed herself. The priests were amazed and the soldiers were relieved. She no longer looked like a victim. She looked like a radiant madonna.
Later, she wrote me a letter. She told me she had almost given up a couple times in the pregnancy. She had lost the will to go on. Even the thought of her son was not enough to sustain her. She told me giving birth the way she did in such adversity created in her a new heart. It was as if she, too was born again. Through that process she wrote that she found the strength to be a woman again.
Mother and child life happily to this day at Clearbreeze manor. Adia has taken to teaching the children of the Barony again. Her joy for life has returned and she channels that energy into raising her child. She has made a startling transformation that I was a part of. This is why I am midwife.