The second day of the conference was another fascinating one.
Our system in Canada is so different in that the majority of our deliveries are attended by physicians, in the UK midwives primarily attend birth and Drs rather act as consultants. But the way women birth remains the same and the passion behind birth workers is just as evident!
We heard from a scientist regarding the neurobiology of babies being born to connect and from an obstetrician about the perineal trauma that can occur at birth. Ina May Gaskin ended the conference telling stories of her 50+ years of delivering babies as a midwife.
We said our goodbyes and connected with many over Facebook, IG and Twitter and then walked 1.4 km (at least that’s what Google maps said) to only have to ask 2 people along the way if the train station was any where close. (All in 1.4 km lol)
We arrived and celebrated with selfies and candy!!
So now here we sit in the train. All staring at our phones, soaking in the day…still not tired of one another to be honest, and still laughing ourselves silly.
Now on to The Worlds End… I mean Edinburgh… ok really I mean both, and for those of you who read Outlander, you’ll know exactly what I mean! 😉
We laugh… but how much of this rings true??!!
Soooooo…tired… but tickled to be here!!! (Tired in Scotland is better than tired in Canada as far as I’m concerned)
…Hold this space… (for lots of coffee) … and for imparted knowledge…
Some days writing makes me feel like a mad scientist, mixing words with feelings for a reaction. Other days it makes me feel like a god, creating worlds and people inside of them for the sole purpose of worshipping the beauty of words.
Some days writing makes me feel like a midwife, helping birth ideas and stories into life. While other days I feel like a mourner, saying goodbye to what was and what will never be again.
Some days writing makes me feel like a physician, passing out elixirs in words to alter well being. But it also makes me feel like a patient, waiting on a cure, for that unceasing ache, that comes in the presence of beauty, sensuality, under the hands of love and lust.
Whatever it is, whatever role I play, I know it’s here, I’m meant to be; carving out a life that fulfills, that brings me both meaning and pleasure. Letting me be found, as a chemist, a femme-sage, a curer, an ailer or even a griever.
Letting me be all of these, simultaneously, unapologetically, so I can just be me.
That’s what writing does for me. This is why I write.
After 3 days in the feral highlands we primmed and propped this morning to arrive at our obstetrical conference in decent condition for civilization. We had a small clue about where this conference was and managed to wing a bus for a quick ten minute ride to our location.
The conference is being held at a Racecourse and occasionally throughout the day we heard screaming seagulls, being so close to the ocean as well. The atmosphere friendly, coffee inviting and the host phenomenally full of spirit and humour we begun the day changing gears dramatically from our first few days here in Scotland.
I kept my ankle elevated while the girls tried out some of these cool birth supports.
The day was filled with some phenomenal speakers. One speaker from Australia spoke on the ongoing debate and research surrounding home vs birth centre vs hospital births. It reminded me that although many of us come from other countries, the barriers of certain attitudes towards birth have many similarities.
We interacted with others on our coffee breaks, met a few others from around the world and even got a little artistic with henna! (Joelle is truly an artist)
The highlight for my day was listening to, meeting and talking with an obstetrician named Dr Andy Simm. About nine months ago, Dr Simm performed a gentle cesarean for a woman at her request, and a video of this woman’s birth went viral. Many opinions were voiced, as you can imagine from both ends of the spectrum, but hearing the man speak about giving the woman choice for her c-section and what it all involves had me buying in quickly. (Moved to tears actually…but are any of us surprised?) I find it profoundly impacting when I see health care providers care about more than just the bottom line of mortality and morbidity alone; when they can move into the realm of considering the experience of the woman, her partner and her infant as part of the whole process of a well birth. It just makes sense. And as a woman who had 4 cesereans, yes, I would have 100% of wanted this if the conditions had been appropriate.
And besides, it was fascinating enough just talking about differences in obstetrical practices between England, where he practices and Canada (ok at least Manitoba) where we work.
Here’s us with Dr Andy Simm! (Did I mention he had a delightful accent?!? 🙂
So basically we are full to the brim for today. It was a magical day in a whole other way than the highlands, but just as worth the quadrillion of hours it took to travel here to this amazing country!
Ok…we needs a nap!! Shhhhh…
Because every day in Scotland should include a highland coo
Our last day with our tour guide led us north travelling higher elevation near the highest road in Scotland. The day was filled with tales of Rob Roy, William Wallace (the true version as opposed to the Hollywood version) and the Frasers of Lovett. We saw mist and mountains and the road where they filmed a portion of Top Gear. (See!!! Mist and clouds)
We were dropped off at the train station and only had a few teary episodes surrounding saying goodbye to our brilliant guide Ally from Kilted Coastal Tours. (Nooooo I never asked him what he wore under his kilt!!! MANNERS PEOPLE!!) … but I did catch him unawares with the picture below…and it serves him right, he took one of me bending over when we were getting ready to pose hanging my arse out straight in the middle of the picture.
We said our goodbyes…
And now are off to Ayr by train… gonna go have some lunch. xo
THE MOST SPECTACULAR DAY EVER!!!!
After being convinced Skye was Quadpolar in regards to weather (rain, sleet, snow and sun) because of yesterday we were blown away at being graced with an entire day of sun.
We started our day driving to the furthest west point in Isle of Skye to see a lighthouse at Neist Point. Oh. My. Word. The views were stunning and the threat of life from falling off a cliff high! The butterflies were incorrigible…and the shaky legs… BUT I SWEAR I AM NOT AFRAID OF HEIGHTS!! (Just afraid of coming home one co-worker short!!!)
Then we grabbed lunch and headed off to the Faery Glen where we explored this terrain that can only be described as something from a child’s story book! I left a gift for the faerys and climbed along side a waterfall to see where it led…and got a booter…like 12 times. BUT OH MY GOD IT WAS WORTH IT FOR EVERY MOLECULE OF WATER THAT ENTERED MY SHOES!!
The girls took a climb up a mountain and I opted out due to a weeeeeee discomfort in me foot. (Rest, ice, compress and elevate righty?) fuuuuuuck…. I missed out on the most dramatic view of the day, overlooking the dips and rolls of Skye from up high. Giants left their foot prints. Spectacular.
Brick by brick
My ghosts towered within
This strange sensation buids
In my chest
Like they script my fears
From the inside out
Like I am one of them
Wanting to cling to a vacant gaze
Of hollow solitude
And I sink to the bottom
Stealthly taking a breath
Before I go under
To avoid my circumspect reflection
In the water
Photo by mira-nedyalkova
Not all selfies are about the people
My cheeks are cold from the labile temperatures and sore from laughing. We have had snow, sleet, rain, sun, and overcast…and it all seems to cycle inside a 28 minute pattern. We have visited standing stones, a castle, ate an incredible lunch and mortified our tour guide Ally by talking nursey talk. (Not everyone can stomach blood and guts apparently.) We’re off to eat… and probably to take a hundred more selfies!! 😉
Ps. Today I learned that there is an island off of Isle of Skye that is infested with black adders. So let’s be clear. If there’s a really great deal on a house in Scotland remind me not to buy it, just in case it’s on that island and they are trying to off load a house full of venemous snakes… apparently there are only 4 houses on that entire island and each house keeps antivenom in it. Jesus Murphy people… WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS?? (Yes I still love Scotland…and I can’t imagine with all the snow today any snake would even venture out…SNAKE POPSICLES). JESUS!! Ok panic attack done.
We made our final destination of Inverness mostly in tact. I mean all our belongings were in tact (ok except for a few spills in our bags) but our scrambled brains not so much from being awake so long.
We hailed a cab from an airport smaller than Reginas, so small in fact we had to walk on and off the plane from the Tarmac.
The cab driver grilled us about our tour guide for tomorrow and often spoke so quickly in Scots we giggled for our lack of ability to keep up. The hostel is fab…can’t go wrong for 26$ a night…and just down the street from a real live Scottish pub where we are Scottish food and drank non-Scottish ale. Oh we have laughed…but I suspect I will not get much writing done on this journey. And that’s ok, still plenty of adventuring to do!!!!
Today we are off to see an old battlefield from 1745, Culloden moor, it is where the last battle on Scottish soil took place and it is a memorial to the clans that were decimated that day . We’ll see some standing stones and hopefully go back in time to find Jamie Fraser (juuuuust kiddin) a castle or two (I know!!!!!), and hopefully find coffee and more ale!!
Ok I gotta go and find brekkie before Ally the tour guide arrives…