End of First Year!

Has it really been a full year of being an official midwifery-student? It feels so surreal to be at the tail end of this first year. There have been lots of changes, many new things learned, new skills practiced, and even my first ever cervical exam, which went perfectly! What an amazing feeling to touch and feel a baby’s head before he/she is birthed into this world. I’ll never forget it, and I will never forget the momma who so patiently, and willing allowed me to learn on her. Thank you, C, you are the best!

At the 3-day postpartum visit, C and her husband gave my preceptor and I some flowers. Here are the ones they gave me:


My preceptor is also now giving me more opportunities to learn other skills. She has taught me how to draw medication from vials, so I can now prepare syringes for her. She taught me about the cervical exam and what to feel for and how to measure the dilation. What I love the most about my preceptor is that she never makes me feel inadequate. I know I don’t have the hands-on skills perfectly, but she never makes it seem like I’m inept. She is so patient, kind, loving, and gentle. Thank you so much, Linda!

This academic semester was a very difficult semester for me and for most of the student body. In an effort to streamline and become better equipped at serving their students, the school switched over to a different platform called Canvas. While we had a couple weeks to get familiarized with the new system, it didn’t prepare us well enough for the arduous task of navigating the new system. It took many of us weeks, if not the whole semester to finally feel comfortable using it. It took me 6 weeks to feel like I understood the system. I worked even harder than I had in past semesters, because it took me a minimum of two hours at the start of each day trying to figure out how navigate the system.

It reminded me of the time when I worked at a staffing agency a few years ago. We had been rolling along just fine with the system that was in place, when corporate decided it was time for an upgrade. Our office was one of a few offices chosen as a test pilot office. We got trained on the new system, but, again, it wasn’t enough time to prepare us for when it went live. I was in the office very late trying to manage all the payroll on the new system. It was days upon days of figuring it out, emailing with IT, and stressing. A few weeks into the change, my manager paid the massage lady next door to come to the office and give us a neck massage. That was awesome, Samantha, and I’ll never forget that you took care of us during that change! We all managed to figure out the new system, eventually, but not without a lot of headaches and stress. And this is exactly how this semester has been with the switch to the Canvas platform.

I’m positive that next semester will be easier, especially, because I finally understand the new system. I know where to find the syllabus, modules/assignments, how to upload assignments, discussion boards, and lectures. That in itself is a huge step forward!

This semester, I took three classes, Prenatal Care I, Genetics, and Herbology. Each class came with its own set of challenges. Out of the three, though, Herbology was the easiest and most fun. I blogged about Herbology, here.

Prenatal Care 1 had us creating a lot of handouts and forms. The three big assignments were the Guidelines for Universal Precautions and OSHA Compliance (6 pages of safe standards for infection prevention: hand hygiene, handling and disposing of sharps, water birth, personal protective equipment, and more, and being compliant with OSHA regulations), the Informed Disclosure for Midwifery Care (12 pages regarding how my own practice will function: philosophy of practice, transfer and transport plans, services provided, equipment carried and not carried, California laws, etc.) and the Pregnancy Discomforts Handout (13 pages). The Pre Consultation Form and the First Contact Form prepare me and the client for our first visit and our first contact. The Discussion Checklist will be perfect as a checkoff during each prenatal visit to ensure that I’ve covered all the necessary information at each visit. The Initial Prenatal Visit and Medical History Form is self-explanatory, and will be a form used for the client’s medical history. I’m thankful for these assignments, because now I have them all set and ready to go for my future practice.

Genetics class was extremely challenging. Here is a post I made about it earlier in the semester. Several past students had to extend this class, and I purposed in my mind that I would not extend it! I did learn a ton about chromosomes, mutations, diseases, disorders, and how to create a family health pedigree. I’m planning on including a family health pedigree for my clients who have markers for possible genetic diseases. I’m thankful that I had to create a pedigree key, because I now have the key to use with future clients. I also created a Prenatal Genetic Testing Table which list all the genetic testing available so clients know their choices. Thankfully, I will be completing this class on time and I do NOT have to extend it!!!

In all, even with the switch to Canvas, the challenging Genetics class, I thank the Lord that He gave me the knowledge, strength, and health to complete this semester, and close out my first year of college!! I was even able to take a week off to go to teen camp with the teens from our church! That was a wonderful break, and I had loads of fun. Those teens make me feel young!

I look forward to becoming a second year student-midwife at the end of August with the commencement of the fall semester.

Here is a list of all the forms and handouts created this semester that will be a tremendous asset to my future practice:

MDWF 338 – Prenatal Care 1
Warning Signs in Pregnancy
Breast Changes
Discussion Checklist
Fetal Movement Record
First Contact Form
Guidelines for Universal Precautions and OSHA Compliance –  6 pages
Pre-Consultation Form
Pregnancy Discomforts – 13 pages
Prenatal Examination Form
Initial Prenatal Visit and Medical History Form
Informed Disclosure for Midwifery Care – 12 pages
(Here is a section about the legality of midwifery in the state of California which I
included in my informed disclosure:

Legal Status of Midwifery in the State of California
California Association of Midwives states the following (Licensed Midwife Practice Act)
“The licensed midwife may assist a woman in childbirth as long as progress meets
criteria accepted as normal. Normal pregnancy and childbirth is defined as meeting all
of the following conditions:

  1. There is an absence of any preexisting maternal disease or condition likely to affect the pregnancy.
  2. There is an absence of significant disease arising from the pregnancy.
  3. There is a singleton fetus.
  4. There is a cephalic presentation.
  5. The gestational age of the fetus is greater than 37 0⁄7 weeks and less than 42 0⁄7 completed weeks of pregnancy.
  6. Labor is spontaneous or induced in an outpatient setting” (CAM)

BOTNY 150 – Herbology
Six Herbal Reports (5 herbs each report, for a total of 30 herbs)
Red Raspberry Leaf Handout
Safe Herbs and Herbs to Avoid
Pregnancy Tea
Herbs for Midwives Form

BIOLOGY 306 – Genetics
Pedigree Key
Prenatal Genetic Testing Table

FINAL GRADES:
MDWF 338 – Prenatal Care I:    98.61%
BOTNY 150 – Herbology:         98.92%
BIO 306 – Genetics:                   98.88%

That’s another straight A semester!

Herbs, Herbs, Herbs!

It’s WEEK 7 of Summer semester, 2016, and Herbology class is well under way! It’s the time of the semester when it all comes together and I’m doing the herbal practical skills. What a better way to learn how to recommend them than to try them ourselves! So, there are about 12 herbal preparations, total. I’m not showing all of them, but here are some of my favorites…

Of course, during this course, we have to plant a “midwifery garden.” All the herbs I needed were at Home Depot, and it wasn’t too expensive. I was able to use this trip for one of the herbal walks we are required to take. So, I did two things with one trip!
Herbs before transplantingWe were required to plant ten herbs. If we have some already in our garden then we can plant enough to reach the ten required herbs. Well, I have a rosemary plant on my front porch, so that counted for one plant. The other nine herbs I planted are:
2. Peppermint
3. Parsley
4. Thyme
5. Lemon balm (I accidentally ended up with two 6-inch pots of this!)
6. Sage
7. Spearmint
8. Basil
9. Catnip
10. Lavender

I also accidentally, didn’t buy enough pots. So, I ended up using two old, plastic coffee cans! I did punch holes on the bottom of them.

Final Midwife Herbal Garden:
Potted herbs
I do have a HUGE back yard where I “could” plant all my herbs, and plant way more than I have in the pots above. However, I also have backyard, free-range chickens. They love to scratch in the vegetable beds, and bathe in them. Since I haven’t had a free moment to enclose the beds, I had to transplant all the herbs in pots. I plan on enclosing these beds, but it might not happen for a few more months. See my chickens sun-bathing here:
Hens in boxes

We were also required to dry fresh herbs. On the left is red raspberry; on the right is nettles leaves.

 

Pregnancy TeaAnother requirement was to prepare an herbal pregnancy recipe, and make an infusion. Since I already had my own recipe from when I was pregnant years ago, I used that recipe. So, that meant I had to purchase some herbs:Herbs purchased
My favorite place to purchase is Mountain Rose Herbs.

Below is the herbal oil I had to prepare. I used the double boiler method to prepare a double infusion of plantain leaf and calendula flowers into olive oil. The first batch was drained, then I did it again with a fresh batch of flowers to make a stronger oil. This oil will be used to make a salve, another required preparation. For now, the oil can be used for itchy skin, scrapes, skin irritations, acne, and for ear aches:

 

Below are the liniment (for sore muscles and bruises), the red raspberry tincture (alcohol free), the red raspberry & nettle tincture (alcohol-based), completed plantain & calendula oil, and vanilla extract (alcohol based) that I made. We are able to choose the kind of herbs to use, as long as it falls under the required herbal skill (liniment, tincture, oil, etc). These will take 14 or more days to infuse (vanilla will take 5-6 months, herbal oil is finished). So they are in my dark pantry infusing, and I have to remember to shake them at least 1-3 times/day.
Jars

My final herbal preparation was an herbal salve made from the herbal oil I prepared. To this salve, I added some lavender essential oil. I also added vitamin E oil as a preservative. This salve will be great for all types of topical skin issues: but bites, burns, sunburn, itchy skin, small cuts, acne, dry skin, and promote healing of the previous mentioned uses.
Calendula, Plantain salve

 

All these projects were fun, and I found that making them was therapeutic. There are people that cook, bake, sew, clean, etc., to relieve stress. Well, I think making herbal preparations is my way to relieve stress!

Let the semester continue…

 

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!!!

 

I may be done with this process by age 48!

 

 

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!