So….how did YOU end up being a midwife?

 

For years, I did not even tell new acquaintances that I am a midwife. I would say “I am a nurse-practitioner” or “I am an advance practice nurse”. “Midwife” is a loaded word….people have visions of earth mothers with crystals and baskets of herbs walking barefoot to the mudbaths to help women have babies, with the deep tones of the didgeridoo in the back ground. The average person has no idea what it takes to become a certified nurse midwife. They ask silly questions like “do you have to go to school for that ?”, “ What happens if the baby is Siamese twins?” OR “do you wear gloves?”. Sometimes it is better to just let the party conversation stay out of the messy birth arena.

I have been told I don’t look much like a midwife…..that I have too much schooling to be a real midwife…that I am way too medical….that I am not medical enough….

Everyone has a reason why they end up doing what they do. I was a 21 yo registered nurse who married a biology graduate student and moved to Utah. My choices were limited….I liked Intravenous Therapy…lots of chemistry, mixing up magic potions to put into peoples veins, but…they didn’t do much of that in Logan, Utah. What they did a lot of was birth! Everyone had 5-6 kids and their kids had 5-6 kids….So, my first job was on Post Partum…the after delivery floor.

A few weeks into the job a pregnant woman can in about to have a baby in the elevator….the elevator doors opened and all hell broke loose. Yelling (not just the mother) the father, the ER tech, the mother-in-law. The poor woman was half in, half out of the wheel chair….she could not sit down because the baby’s head was coming out. The nurse was trying to get her cross country ski pants down….but, since the head was out, she could not close mom’s legs together. Lucky for me, being a new graduate, I had my trusty, not yet rusty, bandage scissors and I had those pants cut off her before the baby tried to wiggle it’s way down the pant leg. The screams turned to “Oh, look how cute” and we whisked her off to the delivery room for the very orderly, sterile, doctor attended, birth of the placenta.

The next day, I was offered a job in labor and delivery! On this very busy OB floor, women had babies so often, that one of my nightmares was that women would come in to the hospital having babies and I would just find the moms in labor rooms and not know who they were ?, who was their doctor?, how far pregnant were they?

I learned a lot in Utah. Women know how to birth. Most of them need very little help. They need to believe in themselves and to have providers who are patient and ready to help when needed, if needed. The next steps were logical: childbirth educator, lactation consultant, nurse practitioner…….and, at last, nurse-midwife. 13years, one surgical birth, one forceps birth….and the SAME husband later….I arrived!

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