Two births. Two mamas. Two babies. Two nights ago. I finally witnessed two vaginal births in person. No more you tube! There is nothing like it. Birth in person is something of its own outside of my own births and watching one on TV. I’m still having a hard time finding my words to describe how amazing they both were, but the point is that I have no seen it and everything I have felt in my heart without ever having seen a birth in person (outside of the OR) has been reaffirmed. I’d be lying if I said I was afraid that I’d go through all this hard work in school and find out it wasn’t what I wanted. Not the case. This is exactly what I want.
Before I found my passion in birth and midwifery, I thought I would be a teacher and before that, I had no clue where I was going. I declared a major in business for good measure and after my 2nd year, realized I had a strong affinity towards English. I had a pretty ridiculous English professor who was disliked by a lot of students, but I loved him. I thought he made learning language arts fun and interesting. I read The Catcher in the Rye three times between the 3 classes I had with him and decided I’d best be an English teacher. I did well in his classes, and all other English classes I had. I transferred to a university, met my husband in our senior seminar class, and graduated with my BA in English. I thought that putting off a year before teaching school would be a good idea. And then it was another year. And then I was pregnant! And here we are. Teaching English was never a passion. I just liked it and did well enough to convince myself I’d want to teach it. Not so. I birthed my first baby and just like that, a calling appeared.
Despite my wavering from becoming a teacher, I have also learned that I LOVE learning. I love school. I’ve always had to work hard at it, too. I was not the kind of student who gets straight As easily. I have to work my butt off sometimes, depending on the class, for a B! And yet, I still love it. I love that I am always challenging myself and furthering my knowledge of something I am so incredibly passionate about. It really is a great feeling.
That said, I recently found an incredible blog, Notes From A Student Midwife, and we could not be more alike. For the first two years after Logan’s birth, I denied this passion for midwifery. I didn’t let myself want it. I considered becoming a doula and childbirth educator and none of that felt right, nor was it conducive to our family.
Anyway, this lovely lady writes a great blog that I can identify with strongly. She’s just a little ways ahead of me in nursing school (I’ll be applying in the fall or next winter–I hope!) and this post is awesome. If you are applying for midwifery programs, here is a great list she breaks down on how to do it. I’m leaving it here for you, dear readers, and for myself so I may look back on it when that time comes. Happy Friday!
Holding an 8 week old baby while I’m 36 weeks pregnant.
It’s been two years since I started my journey to becoming a midwife. In the beginning, and even still, when I share my passion with close family and friends, many conversations begin with questions like “why? why do you want to become a midwife? what is a midwife? will you make any money? So are you a hippy now?” and so on. I’ll start from the beginning.
For as long as I can remember I have only ever wanted to BE a mother. Kids are asked all the time what they want to be when they grow up and while I fashion ideas of becoming a vet and an English teacher, I never felt the same deep drive in my gut about those professions compared to the feeling of becoming a mother and now, a midwife. Being a mom is a job. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The pay is not monetary but through hugs and kisses and first words, first steps, smiles, high fives and I love yous. Being a mother is priceless and becoming one is the most life-changing thing I have ever experienced in my life, ever.
B and I married just 4 days after I turned 24 and my forever goal had been to be a wife and mom by the time I was 25. I was already a college grad, had a steady job, a handsome new husband, and two rowdy dogs to boot. Life was perfect and before we knew it we were staring at two pink lines only 9 months after saying “I do”. We were thrilled. I was speechless and as my pregnancy progressed and we passed those crucial milestones my heart would grow 10 times over every time we heard his heart beat and every time we saw his sweet Irish cheeks on the screen. I was 14 weeks pregnant when I turned 25 and I could not help but BEAM. My dream was coming true and not just whenever but when we WANTED it to happen. I know that for so many this is not the case and I know how blessed we are to have conceived so quickly. I do not take that time and gift for granted.
During my pregnancy I read about everything baby-related, as most new mamas do. I read about every kind of cloth diaper, the best birthing classes, all about his current growth and where he was every week. When he could hear us, when he could taste the food I ate, when he could respond to outside sounds and even when his daddy could feel him roll around. WOW. While I certainly did my fair share of complaining about pregnancy symptoms (aches, pains, tired, sore breasts, etc) I never once wished it away and even as I type I can honestly say I loved being pregnant. It was such an incredible time of growth for me as a person (literally and figuratively) as well as for B and our relationship. I joined a baby board (The Bump) and began to build friendships with thousands of other women all over the world. I loved having a place to find out if something I was feeling was normal or not (usually it was). I read magazines and took prenatal yoga classes. I wanted to know every single thing there was to know about pregnancy and childbirth and even as the my belly grew and my due date came and went I still felt like I knew too little.
We chose to go with an OB for our prenatal care. A small practice of four other OBs seemed like the perfect place for us. I would see each one countless times throughout the pregnancy and get to know each of them so that on the day I went into labor I’d know who’d be helping me birth my son. Only a few times did we have some scares but nothing critical. We watched The Business of Being Born and I was blinded for a moment and could not believe I had waited 29 weeks to watch this movie and now I felt stuck with an OB. Cue pregnancy hormones. After a week or two of cooling off I knew that the doctors we had chosen really cared about us, about what our birth goals were and that there was a mutual respect between us. The day I went into labor, my favorite of the four OBs was on call and did an amazing job helping me bring my son Earthside. No episiotomy and no cord clamping until the blood stopped pulsing. We did have internal fetal monitoring which I never wanted but it was necessary after a scare with Logan’s heart rate dropping very fast and so we could avoid a c-section. I never once wished we’d had a midwife because the exact same things would have happened, at least in our hospital. The midwife refers to the OB on call if something goes array and I am certain that after consulting the OB the midwife would have still done an internal monitor.
Anyway, since going through my birth experience, which also included an epidural after 12 hard hours of back labor, I really wanted to keep learning more. I could not get birth and babies out of my brain. I knew that I was not ready to have another child yet so I just kept reading. And the more I read and the more friends who’ve had babies and the more I’ve learned since working at the hospital I just feel like I am going to explode with excitement from it all. It’s that same feeling I felt when I thought about becoming a mother. The same feeling that would take my breath away with joy in knowing that I was going to be a mom is the same feeling I have now. It’s going to take me YEARS before I am practicing midwifery on my own but I am okay with that. I would rather do all the work now so that 10 years from now I will have reached my goals and will be catching, or helping others catch, babies. But that is not the only thing you do as a midwife. Midwives also do yearly exams, treat patients with female related issues, and so on.
There is nothing more incredible then that of giving birth and I want to be apart of that most incredible experience with other women for the rest of my life. I have started to keep track of the number of births I’ve attended. As I learn more I’ll share more. Thanks for taking this journey with me.