BIO 306: Genetics

Genetics! What a loaded word that is for me, now. I don’t know if I studied this in high school or not. All I remember from high school was that an X chromosome is for a female, and a Y chromosome is for a male, and something about recessive and dominant genes. Well, that’s all changing this semester!

Who knew that becoming a midwife meant studying about genetics? I’ve learned about IVF and pre-implantation testing. I’m learning about alleles, heterozygous and homozygous genes, meiosis, mitosis, and gamete maturation, Mendilian laws and his experiments. I’ve learned about the genetics of blood types and the seriousness of ABO incompatibility. I’ve learned what genotype, phenotype and progeny mean, and I can apply those terms correctly.

I’ve also learned how to create a Punnet square and how to add and multiply in genetics to find out the probability of the phenotype. I had to create a chart for pedigree symbols and create a few pedigrees for different family genetics. I plan to incorporate pedigree education into my midwifery practice and offer pedigree analysis to clients.

It usually takes me three 6-8 hour days to complete two assignments for the week. It’s intense reading, learning, and information storing. It’s late nights, sore eyes, lots of hours of research, and trying to put it all down on paper for the assignments.

Reading about it in a blog does no justice to what I have learned in the first 5 weeks of school in Genetic’s class. It has expanded my knowledge and I believe will make me a midwife who can show people the probability of a genetic disease or disorder for their progeny (see how I used that term correctly?).

All this work keeps me off social media except for the milk sharing group I co-admin, the MCU student support group, and pm’ing with fellow students with encouraging words or letting them know how far behind we are!. So, if you are a friend on social media, it may look like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, but I’ve simply fallen hard into the studying.

As challenging as learning about Genetics has been, I’m just as fascinated by all the information. My hope is that I learn all I can from the class, and that I don’t have to extend the class. It’s week 5, and I’m still on track with the assignments. I shall update at the end of the semester whether I was able to complete this class on time or if I had to extend it.

An example of the diagrams I’ve created for this class:

 

Over 40 and Back in School: It’s never too late!

The decision to go back to school took about a full year to make. I didn’t go into this career change lightly. I mulled it over and over in my head for a month, then I talked to my husband about it, then I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. I reached out to another student midwife of whom I asked a lot of questions;  she patiently answered them all.

After much thought and discussion with my husband, we decided this was the right thing for us at this time in our lives. Our children are now older. Most of them are teenagers and they can take care of their own personal needs. Translated: I don’t have to clean up after them or do their laundry. They have chores and contribute to the upkeep of the house. They can cook, clean, and do their own laundry. Everything just fell into place perfectly with family and our lives.

The application process wasn’t short. There were essays to complete, reference letters to gather, and the waiting.  When I finally had all the essays completed, the two reference letters, and the whole application completed I was so nervous that I would not be accepted. Then there is the phone interview, also! I was a nervous wreck waiting for the acceptance letter. It finally arrived in my inbox, and I was a student at MCU at the age of 44!

I’m in college with people who are considerably younger than me. One of the benefits of doing online schooling, is that I don’t have to see these younger students face-to-face. It makes is much less embarrassing! It can seem intimidating, at times, when if I think about the age difference. However, I push those thoughts out of my mind, and tell myself that I am right where I need to be. We encourage each other, and I’ve never been made to feel that my age is means much. I am a fellow-student and we are all working towards the same goal.

I made a guest blog post, here and here is a portion of what I wrote: I will be a young, 48 years of age, when I complete all my work, and can begin my own midwifery practice. I am a prime example of “It’s never too late.” It’s never too late to start on a new pathway/journey. It’s never too late to go back to school. It’s never too late to change careers. I’m enjoying this change, and taking it all in, while trying not to cry from the hard, demanding work that it entails in going from a doula to a licensed midwife.

Sometimes, pursing a dream is not possible earlier in life. Sometimes, it’s necessary to wait a little longer until things in our life are different. That’s how it was for me. Yes, many times I have regretted not starting earlier. If I had started even 10 years ago, I would already be a midwife. But 10 years ago, I wasn’t ready to pursue this. I would have probably failed, because it wasn’t the right time. I have to force myself to not think about where I could be, but to think about where I will be 10 years from now.

College life is challenging. My brain is learning a whole bunch of things it never knew. I’m taking a Genetics class, for crying out loud! I’m learning about DNA, RNA, chromosomes, genes,  genomes, and a bunch of other stuff. Bring it one, Genetics! My older brain needs the work out to keep me young.

Please, watch this video entitled,”It’s never too late,” because it really is never too late!!!

 

By age 48, I will be a certified, licensed midwife.

 

 

Review: EZ View Med Bag (Hopkins)

When in the search for a workable assist bag, it’s extremely hard to visualize the images on websites selling their medical bags. Many times students ask which is the best bag for the assist phase. I’m not going to say this is the “best bag ever”, but I will give it the best review I can possibly give. I have provided pictures and descriptions of each section of the bag. This bag is being put to use as I assist at prenatals and births in the assist phase.

I purchased this bag to correspond with the Midwife Assistant class I took during winter semester, 2016.

When purchasing online, we are given an option of purchasing a black, navy, or royal blue bag. I chose the black bag. The purchase price was $54.95, and the EZ View Med Bag from Hopkins Medical Supplies arrived as promised. The bag came with a mini lock to facilitate locking a pocket on the bag wherever I see the need for protection. There are several pockets, two outer pouches, zippered baggies, small zipper pockets, and a main compartment.
Bag with folderOne of the outer sides of the bag has a zippered pocket where a few files can be stored and locked.

 

Front pocket with notebookThe other side’s outer pocket is not zippered and can easily hold a notebook or small planner or other non-essential papers. I keep my notebook in this pocket.

 

Both sides of the bag have  two zippered pouches. The picture online shows that a one-quart sharps container can fit in one of these pouches. One of the zippers has a red band that would indicate where the sharps container is located. I don’t have a sharps container, yet, so that pouch is empty. The other pouch holds my small tens unit.

Directly above these two side pouches are the handles where the shoulder strapped would go. That is an additional purchase which I did not make. However, I probably won’t ever purchase it, as carrying it with the handle works just fine.Handle

 

 

 

Inside bottom flapThe bag has two front (side) open flaps that lay flat when completely unzipped. This picture is the view of one of the side flaps opened all the way. It has six, small, rectangular, zippered pockets.

 

 

Inside these flaps are six clear ziplock type baggies with a slide zipper for closing.

These baggies are thin (9 1/2″ x 11″ each) and see through, and can fit a good sized amount of items in each baggie. The four-ringed binder clasps make the baggies easily movable: think a big binder with pages that can turn from side-to-side. On one side of the bag, I have my newborn stethoscope, adult stethoscope, and student stethoscope: one in each baggie. On the other flap, I have my scale and sling in one baggie, and some vitamin bottles in another baggie. There are a total of 12 baggies.

 

InsideEach flap also has different sized zippered pockets. These pockets are thin, and fit a limited amount of items. On one side of the flaps, I have my gloves and a whole bunch of alcohol prep pads. The pockets do stretch out a little bit to make some room for the items. On the other flap, I have a measuring tape and a pulse oximeter. These pockets are small and only fit a few small items in each pocket, but they serve their purpose. I will eventual transfer some of my essential oils to these small pockets.         Inside 3

 

 

 

Main pocket 1                          Main pocket 2Main pocket 3                          Side pocket with clinical binderThe inside, main compartment isn’t as big as I would have liked it to be. I am able to fit my blood pressure cuff and gauge, a gallon sized ziplock baggie with extra gloves, fetoscope, and a rebozo (not pictured). Just with that alone, it is packed. I would have like to be able to fit my clinical binder, but it doesn’t fit (side note: I can also put my clinical binder in the side,  non-zipper pocket, where I have the red notebook). On one side of this main compartment, there are two small mesh pockets. The other side has one zippered pocket where I can put some loose change, maybe a ponytail, or some lip balm.

 

 

Left: Pictured is the bag completely opened next to two cookie sheets for size comparison.

Right: Pictured is the bag completed zipped and on top of a cookie sheet for size comparison.

In all, I am pleased with this purchase. It is meeting my needs when I take it to prenatal appointments and births. The bag has room for more items and I look forward to filling it up. I would recommend this bag to anyone who is looking for a small enough bag to fit enough items to be able to effectively work at prenatal appointments and births during the assist phase. (I will update this in a year or two when I’m in primary phase.)

Prenatals or Client Meetings

(Semantics)

Quick: What pops into your mind when you see the word “Prenatal?” Maybe prenatal vitamin? Prenatal care? Prenatal appointment?

Okay, so, what is a prenatal appointment? A prenatal appointment is a set apart time where you receive care from your care provider such as an obstetrician or midwife. If a pregnant person is using a midwife, this care will be personalized to their specific health needs and desires for birth. If they are seeing an obstetrician, this care will be personalized to the OB’s practice. Whichever care provider they choose, they will have monthly, bi-weekly, and eventually weekly prenatal care throughout thier pregnancy.

In my role as a doula, I cannot provide any clinical care at all. My doula services are limited to educational, informational, emotional, and physical support. This means that I provide education and evidence based information on pregnancy, labor, birth, and breastfeeding. This comes in the form of private classes, answering questions, and providing evidence based websites for parents to do their own research. Emotional and physical support is provided through labor in the form of gentle, caring speech, rubbing the back, arms, legs, or hands, offering sips of water, offering ideas on different positions to find comfort, support the partner, the use of a rebozo, and many other comfort-level methods. None of these methods are clinical in any form.

In my doula role, I provide two client meetings before birth to help familiarize myself with my client’s birth wishes and to create a birth plan. These meetings are informational and educational.

Now to the nitty-gritty that may upset some doulas. This is not a slight on any doula. Please stay with me, because the purpose of this post will be evident in the final few paragraphs: I have never called my doula meetings “prenatals” “prenatal appointments” or anything closely related to “prenatal.” I call them “client meetings.” I could never get into the habit of calling what I provide as a doula, a “prenatal,” because I am not providing any prenatal, ie. clinical, care whatsoever. Prenatal appointments imply, to ME, an appointment with a care provider such as an obstetrician or midwife for the purpose of clinical care. What I am providing, as a doula, is education, information, and a 2-hour class on labor comfort measures. That to me does not equal a prenatal. It equals an informational/educational meeting.

I say all of the above, because this is an area where the change of roles is considerably different to me. As a student midwife, I am now, officially, attending prenatal appointments with a licensed midwife. Because as a doula I always called them “client meetings,” it was a huge deal when I switched to calling clinical appointments a prenatal. As a student midwife, the prenatal consists of all things clinical, as they usually do with a care provider. There’s the urinalysis, weight check, blood pressure, pulse, externally checking baby’s position, listening to heart tones, and discussion of any symptoms and/or concerns regarding the health of the pregnant woman. I can do none of these procedures during client meetings in the doula role, but I can do all these things during prentals as a student midwife under the supervision of a licensed midwife.

Using these two terms for what they are intended is a huge significance for me, now, as I switch between the doula role and the student midwife role. When I’m hired as a doula, they are client meetings. When I attend an appointment with a licensed midwife, they are called prenatals. I’m ecstatic that I have the privilege of attending prenatal appointments with a licensed midwife, and that I have the opportunity to perform all the clinical tasks which are part of a prenatal.

To some people it may be a matter of semantics, and that’s ok. To this writer it is a sign of a vastly different role:  student midwife/ midwife apprentice.

 

Apprenticing

(Any and all clinical work is done under the direct supervision of a licensed midwife.)

Being a midwife apprentice/student midwife is such an amazing experience. As an apprentice in the assist phase of clinical work, I am able to perform the tasks of a midwife assistant while under a licensed midwife’s supervision. Because of this, I have already been able to check for fetal heart tones using a Doppler during prenatals and during labor. I have checked blood pressure, measured fundal height, and checked for baby’s position externally. I have handed the midwife anything she needs during labor and birth, and I have charted during prenatals and labor.

The newest thing I’ve done is catch a placenta and perform a newborn exam! Catching the placenta is right there next on the level of awesomeness as that of catching the baby.

This is completely new territory for me, because, as a doula, my scope of practice was only that of providing education and comfort measures. I explicitly state on my doula website that I cannot perform any clinical work, whatsoever; I cannot even perform a simple temperature reading. As my role has now switched to an apprentice, I am in awe at what I can do under the direction of my preceptor (or any licensed midwife). Yes, even that simple temperature, I can now perform as an student midwife. It feels completely different, but I am enjoying every minute of it!

This weekend I had the opportunity to perform a newborn exam with my preceptor’s instruction. To have the opportunity to weigh and measure a newborn and perform other exams on the baby, is such wonderful experience! The baby’s skin, freshly born, is the softest feeling ever. I was ever so careful with the baby, and spoke to the baby as I performed the exam. This baby was so peaceful, and allowed me to perform all tasks.

As I go along my journey, I plan on learning from a variety of licensed midwives. Each one will be able to teach me from their vast knowledge and expertise. Gaining lots of experience from different midwives is the best way for me to know how my future practice will function. My current preceptor is so patient and calm while she teaches me. She instructs me with such kindness. I’m honored to be learning under her tutelage and gaining knowledge from her years of experience.

Please enjoy these pictures of my first newborn exam which were taken by the family’s doula. They are shared with permission.

Left photo: I am using a student stethoscope to listen to heart rate and respirations while my preceptor also listens. She is able to verify that my count is accurate.

Center photo: I am measuring the baby’s chest. My preceptor is next to me verifying that I measured correctly. I was actually measuring too low, so she let me know that I needed to measure at the baby’s nipples.

Right photo: I am weighing the baby using my preceptor’s scale and sling. Dad is standing right next to me reading off the weight.

Winter 2016 Update

There is so much to update, and not enough time to update!

First, before there is more written, I didn’t realize how little time I would have to keep this blog updated. I thought I would at least have a couple hours a week to write about my experiences throughout the trimester, but that did not happen. Instead, my days were full of school work (6-8 hours per day), house work (unending), cooking, church, and other student midwife related duties. So, this post comes between trimesters. I finished two weeks before the trimester ends which gives me about a four week break! Next trimester begins May 2, 2016.

A quick, condensed (not so quick/not so condensed) version of this winter trimester goes as follows:

I was able to complete all the observation births needed, and I qualified to move to the assist phase. This means I can now log all home birth/birth centers prenatal and births I attend with an approved Midwives College of Utah (MCU) preceptor.  I can also log things like doing vaginal exams, heart tones, catches, placenta exams, postpartum, newborn exams and well-woman care. Of course, there are many more things I will have to learn as I have different skills signed off.

I was certified in neonatal resuscitation (NRP) and basic lifesaving (BLS) using an AED (automated external defibrillator). These certifications were needed as part of the requirements to enter the clinical program at (MCU).

I reached out to three local midwives by sending them an email seeking a clinical placement. One of them let me know they would like to meet with me. Long story short, this midwife agreed to be my preceptor, and we spent a couple hours one mid-morning filling out the appropriate MCU forms. I sent them off, and waited for them to be approved. At the same time, I also applied to the clinical program. About 10 days later, my preceptor was approved by the Clinical Dean, and I was accepted into the clinical program! I have already logged a birth and some prenatals!

A benefit to being a midwifery student is that I can attend births and/or prenatals with other licensed midwives. They do not need to be my approved preceptor for me to assist them. However, because they aren’t an approved preceptor, the births and/or prenatals I attend with other licensed midwives will not count towards my numbers needed (more about in another post). But, I am eager to learn so I will assist at births with other licensed midwives so I can gain more experience!

The Midwife Assistant Orientation class I took this trimester with MCU prepared me for much of what my responsibilities as an apprentice will be. I was also required to prepare a midwife’s assistant bag, and this is what it looks like:

MidwifeInProgress Assist Bag

I collected several pieces of equipment, and I slowly plan on adding to this bag.

Watermarked MidwifeInProgress

The bag I purchased is here. I know I will eventually need a bigger bag, but this will do for now for prenatal appointments with my preceptor.

I also purchased and received my Practical Skills Guide for Midwifery from MorningStar Publishing Company. This is a skills book in which it has all the midwifery skills I need to learn. As I master each skill, my preceptor signs off the skill. There are skills from basic general skills like proper hand washing technique, using a stethoscope, and reading a blood pressure to more advanced skills like drawing medications, administering IV fluid, and suturing. These are only a few of the skills listed in the guide.

Oh, and I was honored with being called for jury duty where I spent 7 hours doing my school work before being called to a courtroom. I had to return for a second day to see about getting picked for the jury. Thankfully, they selected 12 jurors, and I wasn’t one of them!

School while on Jury Duty Water Marked

I created my clinical binder, which is a beauty!

 

I went to an IV class in Ventura, Ca, and I started my first ever IV. I still need a lot of practice, though! Hopefully, I can get some people to agree to being my practice models. But, I feel as if I might be able to start on IV in an emergency situation (doesn’t sound very confident, I know, but it’s a start!)

I am well supported by so many people, including my church family. My pastor knows that I have school so when he asked me if I would be able to be a driver and hotel chaperon for the fine arts competition for our school students, he said, that I would still be able to do my school work. So that’s exactly what I did. I drove the students there, dropped them off, and did my school work in my vehicle. I stayed at the hotel after I dropped them off the next two days, and I did my school work. I was able to complete ALL of my assignments for the semester! It means so much to me that people in my life understand this season in my life, and understand that I have to make adjustments to get through it.

School is demanding, to say the least, and this is my life for the next four years until become licensed as a midwife. I am thankful for the people in my life that understand this: my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my church family. It won’t be forever. In 3-4 years, I’ll be done with the first phase of this academic pressure/demand. I plan on continuing to the Bachelors of Science in Midwifery, and eventually to the Masters of Science in Midwifery, so that will add more academics. Hopefully, I still continue to have the same support as I do now. Lots of people dedicate their entire lives to their academic success, and I am trying to only dedicate the next few years. The next 5-7 years compared to the next 30 years or so of being a midwife is well worth the short-lived sacrifice.

Currently, I have allowed my life to revolve around my college career. I want to finish this season, and finish strong. I do need to find a balance, though. For now, that balance manifests itself in a break for a few weeks between trimesters.

I will update when I get my final grade for my last class, but currently this is how all my classes ended for Winter Semester, 2016:

COMM 114:  A+

MDWF 146 (Midwife Assistant Orientation): A+

MATH 212: A+ (this was a very hard class for me and many other students. I’m quite surprised that I was able to be successful and pass this class with an A. It took a lot of work and determination!! This class had 11 tests!)

BIO 202: A+

Winter Semester Opens

With huge anticipation, I was still awake at 12:20 a.m., Monday morning (January 4, 2016) when classes opened. The start  of a fresh semester was exciting because of all the possibilities.

This semester’s classes are
MATH 212 – Math for Midwives, BIOL 202 – Anatomy and Physiology of Obstetric, COMM 114 – Communication Skills,  and MDWF 146 – Midwife’s Assistant Orientation. A typical full time class load is three classes. However, I decided I wanted to speed up my academic portion, so I added another class to this semester. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into! It has been challenging, to say the least. I’m not sure I will do this again for any other semester.

I created my schedule spreadsheet to help me stay on course. This took me three days of getting all my classes organized, reading the syllabi for all four classes, figuring out Live Sessions, and trying not to be too stressed out.

WEEK 3 UPDATE: Things are going, well. I’ve settled into a routine of school all morning, afternoon, and evening! As long as I continue this way, I should be done by about week 12 (instead of week 15). This will give me approximately a 5 week semester break! I’m looking forward to that. I would much rather work extremely hard in the beginning of the semester, and take a nice long break at the end of the semester, than the other way around. As of right now, I’m one week ahead in two classes, and on schedule for the other two classes.

Let’s keep this momentum going!

First Semester Summary

This is a summary of my first semester as an enrolled student at Midwives College of Utah. Because I’m beginning this writing as I’m nearing the second semester (it starts this Monday, Jan 4, 2016)!), I’m only providing a summary. From here on in, weekly updates will be posted recording my midwifery progress.

Fall semester began Aug. 31, 2015.

The courses I took for the Fall semester were: BIOL 100: Anatomy for Health Professionals, HIST 184: History of Midwifery, HLTH 130: Holistic Health. I enjoyed all the classes, but BIO 100 was difficult. I was afraid, many times, that I would fail that class. There was a whole ton of memorizing. Electrons, protons, DNA, RNA, neurons, chromosomes, and a whole bunch more, including the skeletal, respiratory, digestive and other body systems. I studied, studied, and studied some more. I was shocked both times with the grade for the midterm and final exams: 200/200! All the hard work paid off.

This semester is when I hit “the wall.” “The wall” is a time when a student has a difficult time moving forward in their school work. It causes lots of discouragement, because the student falls behind in their school work. It can nearly break a student and make them believe they made the worst decision ever. I hit this wall mid-Oct.

I fell behind, and I didn’t think I’d be able to finish on time. Thankfully, MCU has protocols in place to assist students who are having a difficult time. First, my teachers reached out to me asking  me what was going on. That was the first little shake. Secondly, my house mother reached out to me, and offered to mentor me. Thirdly, I joined a Facebook student support group. Lastly, I joined a sister circle. (I’ll blog about these resources later.) It was hard knocking this wall down. My mentor called me once a week, and I gave her an update and a goal. She encouraged me, and she was my accountability person…. Using all these resources, I was able to knock “the wall” down, and push forward.

This semester is, also, when I met some amazing fellow student midwives. We’ve encouraged each other, kept each other accountable, and became internet friends. I was able to find the Facebook student support group which was a tremendous encouragement! It’s so good to see that others are also struggling through the same issues I am struggling! I hope to meet these fellow classmates some day at student conference.

I completed all my courses on time. I created a movie for the History of Midwifery class. I made a whole lot of awesome and some not so awesome foods for Holistic Health. I got straight A’s for my first semester enrolled as a full time student. I worked super hard for those A’s!

I learned that I MUST reach out sooner when I begin to reach “the wall.” I also learned that I cannot allow myself to fall behind.

I purchased a few midwifery items: student stethoscope, regular stethoscope, pulse oximeter. I also purchased a bigger and better planner to keep all my school work and doula appointments in better order. A friend, who used to be a midwife years ago, gifted me a baby weighing scale and the sling that goes with it.

My goal for winter semester, 2016, is to hit the studying hard the first six weeks, and get far ahead in all my classes. It’s better to work hard at the beginning of the semester, as opposed to working hard at the end and stressing about the deadline.

Come on, winter semester, 2016, I’m ready for you!

 

 

Why?

Oh, such a loaded, small, three-letter question…There is no other way to answer this question, than to simply submit to you the essay I wrote when I applied to Midwives College of Utah (MCU). It has been edited to shorten it for readers and to update some information.

“I believe midwifery is the gateway to a healthy baby but more particularly to a healthy birth. While a mother can definitely have a healthy baby in-hospital, she will have a higher chance of having a satisfying, healthy birth outcome at home. This leads me to have three main reasons why I am passionate about midwifery: I have had five home births with a midwife. I have been a doula at home births and hospital births. Finally, there is no one serving the Latina, Spanish-only speaking people in my community.

My midwifery path began with the birth of my own children. My first child was born via Cesarean surgery because she was in the breech presentation, and I was receiving care from an OB. My second child was a successful VBAC in-hospital, but was a highly managed birth. I was introduced to midwifery with my third pregnancy through an apprenticing midwife. That was the birth that changed my world, and led me into becoming a doula. I eventually had four more home births, for a total of five home births and three hospital births.

For my own birthing options, there is no other method of birth that can top having a home birth surrounded by a birth team of my choosing. My midwife soon became an independent midwife and asked me if I would like to attend births as a doula/assistant to the midwife. I was more than elated to participate as a doula/assistant. Although, I never provided any prenatal care, during births I attended births as an assistant to the midwife and a doula to the mother. I never caught a baby, but I was fortunate to have this opportunity for seven years, until the midwife moved out of town. I learned a lot about midwifery during this time, and it opened up my heart to a further understanding of the importance of midwifery and home birth options.

After the midwife with whom I was working, moved away, I became a hospital birth doula. This was a difficult transition. Witnessing the difference in care was astounding. The lack of personal one-on-one care from a main care provider was disheartening.

My desire was that all women who could and wanted, should have access to midwifery care. Yet, I still did not know that I had the capacity to become a midwife, because my own children were very young. I knew that I could not possibly take on the responsibility of being a midwife and being a mother to young children simultaneously. Additionally, I thought midwifery could not be something for me because I had no higher level education. I completely put it out of my mind, and continued serving women and families as a doula.

However, as the years progressed, I began to see a huge lack of diversity within the birth community in my city. I began to feel a sense of sadness knowing that very few women of color were being offered the MMC (Midwives Model of Care) or home birth options in my community. I did some research and found that women of color are underserved in the area of home birth options. It completely coincided with what I was seeing in my own city. I knew that no one in the Spanish-only speaking community was being served. I did not know what to do about this, or how to change this.

As my soul began to be burdened for the people of my Latino community, I became friends with a doula near my city who was studying to become a midwife. She has seven children, and was able to continue with midwifery schooling while parenting her children. Eventually, I began asking her questions about midwifery and how she handled going to college while being a mother and wife. She answered all my questions, encouraged me to look further into midwifery, and provided me with a bunch of links to read. This was the beginning of my calling into midwifery. Well, actually, this was the beginning of me finally listening and heeding to the calling.

With the help of my friend, she encouraged me to look into MCU for my midwifery education. MCU offers continuing education courses without the obligation of full enrollment. I decided to take four continuing education classes during the 2015 winter semester. It was a great method in helping me finalize and solidify my thoughts regarding the midwifery call. It was also a great way to help me see if distance education works for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the courses! My mind was blown away with all the new knowledge gained regarding health disparities women of color (WoC) face, maternal and infant morbidity and mortality rates among WoC, specifically African American women. Summer 2015, I took three additional continuing education courses through MCU to further my midwifery education. I learned that distance education, the structure of MCU, and the availability of the instructors works exceptionally well for my style of learning. These continuing education courses further assisted me in making my decision to pursue the midwifery profession.

After doing some further research, talking with my husband and children, seeking the Lord’s direction, and doing some soul-searching, I knew I had been called into midwifery! With all the knowledge I had learned in the last couple years, including winter semester, 2015, regarding health disparities in WoC, breastfeeding rates being lower for WoC, my children being older and more independent (not needing me for everything), my heart, soul, and mind moved into accepting this new role for my life.

It thrills me so much that I might be able to bring something to my large city that has never in the history of its existence had such a service from a Latina person. It is high time that my county, city and community had a Latina, Spanish speaking midwife providing the Midwives Model of Care to its Spanish-only speaking residents!

Ten years from now, I see myself as a midwife who has thrown the doors open wide for those who have never had the opportunity to have midwifery care due to a language barrier.I see my legacy being one of a woman who made home birth and midwifery accessible to a larger population of underserved and underrepresented people.”

 

Student-Midwife, Fall 2015

August, 2015, I became a full-time student enrolled at Midwives College of Utah. My life and the life of my family has been turned into a life of college with a mom of eight children (3 adults, 3 teens, 1 pre-teen, and a 7 year old) and wife who does school work 6-8 hours a day, six days a week.

I’ll tell the story of a Midwife in Progress for several reasons. It will be a way to document and show me how far I’ve come from the moment I decided to follow this path. You, the audience, will see the progress it takes to become a certified professional midwife (CPM). You’ll see the difficulties, tears, joys, setbacks, accomplishments, disappointments, and anything else that comes in the path of a student-midwife. There will be plenty of opportunities to feature other student-midwives and midwives, giving them a platform to tell their own stories in their own words. Finally, I’ll also upload my school work papers, client-handouts, and write about anything I find pertinent.

Once licensing and certification is accomplished in approximately 3-4 years, a midwife continues to learn and grow through continued education, research, and with every birth she witnesses. A midwife never ceases to progress. Thus, she is forever a Midwife in Progress.

Some posts will be long and meaningful, and some will be short and quick, depending on how busy I am with school and family life. So, follow along in this long journey towards midwifery certification and eventually the full midwifery role.

Watermarked

This was the first day of midwifery college. I had to do the whole “first day of school picture.”