Friday, July 30, 2010

Dorky new additions to the free resource list

Posted by Tatiana

I've added the following free learning opportunities to the Free Resources for Midwifery Study post:

Pelvic Floor Muscle Trauma from Medscape.  You need to join the site (free) to access this one, and there's a free CEU for completing it.

Examination of the Newborn from the University of Oslo in Norway.

The Little Handbook of Statistical Practice from Gerard E. Dallal of Tufts University in Boston.  It is my opinion that with the amount of "studies show..." spouting that midwives do, we better well be equipped to coherently interpret studies.

The first two were posted to discussion groups by other folks, the last one I unearthed myself because I kept bumping up against "I really don't know enough about statistics to interpret studies."  I wish I didn't need to be reading for the doula training I'm doing next week so I could just read through that statistics handbook.  It's absolutely delicious because it answers so many questions I've had about statistics, plus it's math and that's just a good time on a Friday night as far as I'm concerned.  I really think that I need the ability to critically analyze research as a midwife, and doing that when I'm not even sure what p= actually means is problematic. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inspiration to be a Nurse Midwife

Posted by Laurel

If men flee the female, we will survive, but if women themselves treat femaleness as a disease we are lost indeed. ~Germaine Greer

10 thoughts on why I am inspired to be a nurse midwife...
1. Women are not socialized to celebrate their bodies, let alone live in them and own their power... I want to help bring in generations of beings that celebrate women and the female body. I love my body!
2. No matter where a woman is at in her life cycle, I believe that she deserves the option and opportunity for midwifery are. Whether a woman wants to have children, is pregnant, is pregnant and does not want to be, is unable to have children for one reason or another or choses not to... they can benefit from a midwifery philosophy of care. No matter age, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, SES, marital status, class, motherhood status, education, nationality, able-bodiedment - the option of midwifery care should be available.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Posted by D

I'm trying to figure out whether my exhaustion is a result of something with my health, or just my general state of circumstances at the moment. Several nights of disrupted sleep from a few births and also a 3 year old who is waking up at 3 Am and insisting that he wants to go play with his friend outside, does nothing to improve my sense of well-being.

It was an interesting week of births. Only 4...although I guess to some that sounds comical. Only? Four births with 3 different midwives. It both exhilarates me and exhausts me just thinking about it. I came away from all four births with lessons learned.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Celebration of Nursing

Posted by Katy
I just passed the NCLEX, which is the nursing licensure exam! It took me a humbling first attempt and much more confident successful attempt but now I am officially a New York RN! Som with that really good, relieving news I want to take some time to share some of the things I've enjoyed in this year of nursing school, several of which are quite surprising!

(1) I have enjoyed meeting all of the wonderful people with diverse backgrounds who completed the program with me. I learned so much meeting people from all over the country with interest and expertises including transgender health, dance, massage, art, and community organizing! I gained an enourmous amount of knowledge from and respect for my peers, they enriched the learning environment.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Naturopathic midwifery - Part 1

Posted by Tatiana

Naturopathic midwives make up a small minority among midwives. They are naturopathic doctors who practice midwifery either in conjunction with a larger practice, or as their primary practice. I was introduced to the existence of this subset of midwives recently and personally vacillate between being compelled by the notion and turned off by the notion. I want to know more. I'm investigating it further by interviewing some ND midwives, but I want to first provoke questions I haven't considered from the rest of you.  

Here's a breakdown of my current understanding and opinions of naturopathic midwifery:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Art and Joy of Pelvic Exams

Posted by Katy

"Scoot Down. Relax your vagina. Why? So you can shove mean cold duck lips inside of it? I don't think so" -Vagina Monologues

This spring, two of the beautiful student midwives organized a bilingual rendition of the Vagina Monologues at the medical center here, involving nursing, medical, and physical therapy students, a professor, and women who work in the violence support center of Alianza Dominicana, a local community health organization. I performed the Angry Vagina monologue which railed on poorly performed pelvic exams. Now, I'm learning how to give pelvic exams, hopefully in a more empowering, de-mystifying, sensitive way!

My Path to Midwifery

Posted by D
For so many midwives, the path to midwifery begins usually sometime in early childhood or adolescence, and I'm no different. I remember at 12, learning what a midwife was and being the one who willingly stayed up at night to "labor watch" the horses that were part of the breeding farm I worked on.

Fast forward to the birth of my first daughter in 1996. The story of her birth has been told many times, by many different women, in many different hospitals. Premature rupture of membranes, no contractions, posterior baby, pitocin, epidural, oxygen, internal fetal scalp monitor, and finally cesarean section. I wasn't aware at the time how much my body "failing me" affected me, but when it came time for my second daughter to be born I had to seek out answers. I got my records, wrote down questions and met with the hospital CNM to find out why things happened as they did. Her answers were honest, and I am thankful for that, if nothing else. The answer to many of my questions ended with, "Well, if you were at home, that wouldn't have happened. If you were at home, we could have waited. If you were at home..."

Friday, July 16, 2010

which way to midwifery, please?

Posted by da midwif

i could have been a nurse. i was on my way. it was never my intention to be a nurse though. i thought of nursing as i thought of garbage collecting: a job that someone has to do, but it ain't gonna be me.

nursing only came up because it was the main route to becoming a midwife. at the time i had abandonned med school and the pursuit of obstetrics (meaning, ob only, the thought of gyn was originally disgusting to me). i knew there were 3 routes: nursing, direct entry (they were still trying to get rid of the term "lay"), and some new method that was non-nursing but still affiliated with the nurse-midwives' organization. of the three, nursing seemed the most permanent? attractive? durable? i'm not sure what i thought at that time.

my mother said,
why be a nurse when you can be a doctor?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How I got where I am and where I plan to go from here.

Posted by Le
I also have a tendency to go on for far too long when explaining why I want to be a midwife, how I got to where I am and where I am headed from here so I will try to give the summary of the condensed version.

I first learned about birth doulas in 2001 and thought it sounded interesting. I happened to have time available between quitting work and starting college so I took the doula training course.

Spring break of my senior year I went to visit my Grandma in rural Idaho and we stayed the night at her friend's house - her friend happens to be a midwife. I mentioned to my mom that I thought it would be an interesting job and less than 3 days later I got a call from my Grandmother saying the midwife's assistant was getting married and I could be the new assistant if I wanted to be. Three months after I graduated I moved to the middle of nowhere Idaho and began working as a midwifery assistant. I realize now that it is usually much harder to find a midwife to work with but at the time I had no clue how blessed I was especially since I hadn't even been looking.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Free Resources for Midwifery Study

Posted by Tatiana

I started a blog about becoming a midwife a while back, but it fizzled because it lacked the collaborative awesomeness of this one. So I put it to bed, but I wanted to repost this collection of resources I've found to be instrumental, particularly in self-study mode. I update whenever I find something new, so please feel free to point me to anything you think should be on the list. Enjoy!

I've found a number of pieces to fit into the matrix of my studies that have made it easier to feel like I have access to quality information and that I'm a part of a larger community as I huddle with my books at home. I'd like to share!

Local Midwifery Organization:
I'll leave it to you to find your own local organization, for me it is the Oregon Midwifery Council. I joined the council on a suggestion of a midwife in my town. I go to the quarterly meetings, am a voting member, follow the happenings and lend my support in whatever small ways I can. This does a few things for me: It connects me to the midwifery community in my own area, it educates me about the political and legal issues in midwifery and also makes me a familiar face to midwives with whom I hope to have future alliances, apprenticeships, and friendships. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I've received!

Friday, July 9, 2010

An Introduction to my Student Midwifery Path

Posted by Katy

As an introduction, I will break down the university-based nurse midwifery program that I’m in. The program is intended for students who have completed a bachelors degree in another field and consists of a one year bachelors degree and certification in Nursing, followed by a year and a half masters degree and certification in Nurse Midwifery.

I moved to New York from Berkeley, CA last year specifically for the program. My sister (who is a marvelous doula), dad, and boyfriend all still live in the Bay Area and the rest of my family lives in Colorado, so living this far away is challenging. The program dominates my entire life right now which is overwhelming, but also seems like a good way to get a high volume of knowledge and skills that can be a strong foundation for developing a midwifery practice.

Robbie Davis-Floyd breaks down the pros and cons of university-based midwifery programs quite eloquently, so I’ll draw from some of her thoughts in “Types of Midwifery Training: An Anthropological Overview”. Davis-Floyd explains that university-based education provides an opportunity to become a midwife that is accepted in mainstream society and allows her the opportunity to teach, do research, and engage in politics as well as practice midwifery. A university education involves classes in a wide variety of subjects leading a midwife to be well-rounded in math, science, English, anthropology, etc. The program I am in includes a strong clinical component (classes 2 days a week and clinical 2-3 days a week), which connects the student midwife to a preceptor. The clinical placements are in a wide variety of settings, many of which focus on patients of underserved communities. This program gives attention to the individuality of the students and promotes creative, critical thinking.

Many of the challenges of the program are also articulated by Davis-Floyd. Davis-Floyd explains that experience of birth complications seen by student nurse midwives can contribute to a fear of birth rather than a confidence in the natural process. I am concerned about this happening, but I do not feel that I am in a position at this time to comment on this phenomenon. I hope that any birth complications I see will contribute to my body of knowledge in guiding women and babies through a safe birth, rather than promote fear or mistrust. Davis-Floyd also explains that student nurse midwives can become overly reliant on medical technology because of their training sites. I am also afraid of this happening, but I feel reassured that I am a flexible person and will continue to develop my midwifery practice throughout my life to adjust to what the women I’m serving need and want.

Perhaps the greatest critique of all is that university programs require student midwives to first complete nursing training. I feel that nursing training has taught me a lot about providing care for women and I think that many of the theories taught in nursing school are absolutely applicable to midwifery. However, the realities of nursing are antithetical of much of what my understanding of midwifery is and that difference makes nursing a huge barrier to becoming a nurse midwife.

Over all, I am unsure of what this year will be like, but I plan to take the good with the bad and use this year to begin the journey of becoming a phenomenal midwife.