Midwives: Worth their Price in Gold

Have you seen midwifery prices, and thought it was too expensive? Have you wondered why a midwife charges what they charge? Have you thought about asking your midwife for a discount? The following information is given to help you understand why a midwife charges what they charge. It is meant to help you understand your midwife and the price for midwifery care.

Plain and simple
Midwives have operational costs.
Midwives deserve to be paid a living wage.
Cost of living affects midwifery prices.
Home births and birth centers have different prices.
Midwives have expenses.
Midwives are trying to pay their own bills.
Midwifery practice is not about providing free care.
Midwifery is a livelihood and a way for midwives to earn an income.
Midwives need to pay the electric bill, phone bill, rent, mortgage, feed their families, etc.

What a Midwife provides
The following is an ESTIMATED breakdown to help you visualize the care Midwives provide. Some midwife’s breakdown could be more or less. Remember, this is your midwife’s TIME, knowledge, expertise, and one-on-one care that is being offered.

  • Initial prenatal
    2-4 hours depending on what is done during this time (some midwives break this down into several prenatal appointments)
  • 12-18 prenatal appointments
    Depends when you came into care…60 minutes long, sometimes up to 90 minutes
  • 1 – 5 labor checks
    lasting from 1 – 6 hours depending on your needs…these checks usually are the early labor checks when you think you are in labor, but then labor slows down or stops.
  • Labor
    Anywhere from 1 hour – 24 hours or more, price would depend on length of labor
  • Birth
    1 – 4 hours of the actual birth through the birth of the placenta
  • Immediate postpartum for birthing parent
    4-6 hours, sometimes longer
  • Immediate postpartum for the newborn
    4-6 hours, sometimes longer
  • 4 – 6 Postpartum appointments
  • On-call and 24 hour emergency line

AVERAGE $2,500 – 8,000

Midwives have monthly and yearly expenses (not every expense is on this list!)
• Handouts – ink and paper
• Reading materials – ink and paper, or purchasing reading material
• Up-to-date, safe equipment – constantly throwing out expired items
• Equipment maintenance
• Resuscitation equipment for birthing parent and newborn
• Certain medications
• Herbs
• IV supplies including IV fluids
• Licensing fees
• Liability insurance
• Gas
• Vehicle maintenance
• Food
• Childcare
• Lab
• Cleaning supplies
• Birth supplies
• Sterilization supplies
• Suturing supplies
• Oxygen tank refills
• Oxygen supplies
• Office supplies
• Office rent, utilities, etc.
• Cell phone
• Website
• Paying assistants or students
• Continued training in CPR and neonatal resuscitation
• Required training to keep their license
• Paying off midwifery student loans

After all this is subtracted from the midwifery fee they charge, they may have some money left over to pay their personal bills and hopefully save a few dollars. Most midwives are barely scraping by, and simply want to make enough money to live through the next month. Midwives take on several clients a month to be able to make a living wage.

Midwives don’t just catch/receive (deliver) the baby
A midwife doesn’t just come in at the end of labor to catch/receive the newborn. A midwife provides full prenatal and postpartum care that is tailored to each client’s individual needs. Sometimes this begins as early as 6 weeks of pregnancy. Midwives are with clients for hours upon hours providing one-on-one care. A midwife might be with a laboring person for 24 hours, straight, giving much needed care. Midwives also provide a newborn physical exam and can administer vitamin K injection in states where midwives are licensed. Midwives have a vast array of knowledge and resources to help families during their reproductive years. If you came into care late, the expenses remain the same, and sometimes are a little higher if things must be done quickly!

A midwife’s time is valuable, just like in any other profession. Midwives miss family birthdays and holidays to attend their clients births. Midwives will drop everything they are doing in a moment’s notice to go be with their clients during labor or birth. Midwives give 100% of themselves to their clients. When their client is in labor and ready to give birth, the midwives attention is solely on the care of their client.

A midwife also provides handouts to help with their client’s pregnancy education. They may provide herbs to use during labor, birth, and postpartum. They may give you lots of breastfeeding assistance. They will suture if any lacerations require repair. In some states, midwives can carry antibiotics for GBS positive clients, and they will administer this during labor. They can also give IV fluids, if needed. They can administer medications to stop immediate postpartum bleeding.

Midwives can’t pay their own bills 
Your midwife will never tell you that last month she didn’t have enough money to pay the home utility bill, because you weren’t able to pay her fee. Or a midwife may not tell you that their license must be renewed in a couple months, and they hope their clients pay their outstanding bill, so their license doesn’t lapse. A midwife will smile and give you the care regardless of your ability to pay that month, while your midwife goes without. This information is not meant to make you feel bad or guilty or shame you (although, I can imagine some people will, and for that I am so sorry), but simply to give you some insight into a midwife’s financial struggle.

Assistants and/or students
Your midwife, also, needs to pay her assistants their fair wages which can run anywhere from $500-$1500 depending on the cost of living for your area. Students don’t generally get paid, but as a struggling student myself, I could have benefited greatly if I had been paid, even if just for my gas expenses!

Discounts
When you asked your midwife for a discount, and your midwife gave you a $500 or even a $1000 discount, that reduced your midwife’s ability to pay any expenses they may have incurred that month. Imagine if your midwife gave everyone a discount? Your midwife might need to get a second job just to pay the bills!

When we look deeply into the expenses a midwife has and look into all the care they provide their clients, midwives should be charging much more. However, midwives also want to make midwifery accessible, and will offer discounts and most will not charge the full amount of what they are worth.

Your investment 
Midwifery is an investment into your own emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
Nothing compares to the one-on-one attention your midwife will give you.
Nothing compares with having your baby in the comfort of your own bedroom surrounded by the people you love and who love you (if you choose to have them there). You get to know your birth them throughout your prenatal visits, so you know who will attend your birth. Everyone who attends is someone you have previously met!
Free-standing birth centers may have higher expenses and may charge more, but they also provide that same care you would get in a home birth!

Final thoughts and planning
Yes, midwifery care is a huge expense for families, but so are weddings, 1st birthdays, vacations, parties, etc. The average wedding is $15,000. (You can have a wedding for much cheaper, of course, especially if you simply go to the court house. But if someone is having a typical wedding in 2019, it’s going to cost near that price average above.) Many insurances will reimburse a portion of midwifery fees, but you still have to pay out-of-pocket initially. Not all midwives accept insurance, though.

Every penny paid to midwifery care is worth it! You can begin saving for midwifery care NOW by putting aside a little money every month, even if you are not pregnant! If you can, you might consider having a yard sale, selling baked items, using your tax refund, or starting a fundraising event to help pay for midwifery care. Ask if your midwife will provide you with a payment plan. If your midwife does, try as best as you can to make your monthly midwifery payments on time so your midwife can pay her bills.

With midwifery costs ranging anywhere from $2500 – $8,000, depending on your location and whether it is a home birth or hospital birth, planning now is important!

What did you do to pay for midwifery care? What other ideas do you have to pay for midwifery care?

Midwives really are worth their price in gold!

Gold on Weight ok for website.jpg

 

A Guide to the Difference Between a Certified Professional, Licensed Midwife and a Certified Doula

Not every service that a CPM, LM offers was able to fit under the CPM section, so only the main topics were included. It’s not an exhaustive list but a starting point for families to understand some of the differences. The Spanish version is available here.
La versión en español está disponible aquí.

Midwives-Doulas Handout ENGLISH

So You Want to be a Midwife?

Do you know how when a pregnant person is in labor, and you ask them, “How many more children do you want?” Or when they are done giving birth, and someone asks, “Do you want anymore children?” What is the typical response to that? “NO!! I never want to do this again!!” Or, “Are you kidding me? That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I never want to go through it again!” Give it a few months, or a couple years, and she will have put away the hard work of labor, and will once again think about having another baby.

Well, I am currently the laboring person, and I am around 5 cm dilated, and it is a ton of work. I’m sweating, and wondering why I did this to myself? What I need is rest, sleep, nutrition, hydration, and a good support team which will help me while I dilate to 10 cm, and hopefully I can begin second stage of labor. However, there is still quite a bit of work left. I’m only half-way there, and the hardest part of labor is about to begin: transition.  I cannot wait for this to be over so I can hold my baby, but I don’t want to do it again!

Key:
Laboring person: the student midwife, ie ME
5 cm: Half way through didactic work
Support team: family, friends, doulas who offer support, and other midwives
Transition: Clinical work
Second stage of labor: prepping for NARM exam, and taking NARM exam
Baby: certification and license

I’ve had several people ask me about midwifery school. A few weeks ago, I met with someone who was interested in becoming a midwife. I cannot be anything but honest with anyone who wants to know what it’s like. So this post will detail what I said to this person. It’s real. It’s raw. It might not be what you want to hear. It may sound like I’m complaining, like I’m discouraging people from beginning this journey. However, my goal is to make sure that anyone who wants to begin this journey is well informed. Someone tried to tell me how difficult it would be way back when I first was considering becoming a midwife, and I didn’t quite pay attention to what they were trying to explain. Now I look back, and I honor their words, and I know they were only trying to prepare me for what lay ahead.

This is no cookie-cutter, gum ball machine degree. This is a four year, full-time, degree which includes at least 1.5 to 2 years of clinical work.  Sure, it can be accomplished a little sooner, but at what cost to the student? Going to midwifery school takes dedication, perseverance, and a lot of late night hours completing assignments. The didactic work isn’t much different from other didactic work. We have teachers, syllabi, assignments, exams, research papers, APA formatting, long hours, and deprivation of sleep and good nutrition. When completed, I will have an Associates of Science in Midwifery. When I pass the NARM exam, I will be a certified midwife. Then I will apply for licensing through the California State Medical Board, and become a licensed midwife. The point is to say, we work hard for our degree, same as any other associate’s degree.

Financially, it is not a low-cost expenditure. Midwifery schools range from $5,000 – $40,000, depending on the school. From what I understand, that low range number is about to go up considerably in June (will update when that happens). Since I’m in California, we cannot go the PEP route, and must attend a MEAC school.

Add to that books which are expensive, school supplies, and any equipment needed. When clinical work begins, add gas expenses, especially if travel needs to be made. I’m currently traveling 90 miles one way for my apprenticeship. Add also any conferences or student enrichment courses that may be needed, including NRP and CPR certifications. Some schools provide federal financial aid, which is a huge help to students. There are a few who provide scholarships. However, for the majority of people, it is an out-of-pocket expense.

Clinical work is a must. Many students cannot find a preceptor in their own city, so they must travel long distances to complete clinical work. Some have had to go out of the country to meet the clinical requirements. Some students need to move to another state, or attend month long placements in another state to get some clinical requirements met. Finding a preceptor is a huge challenge and can be a huge obstacle. There are students who are nearing the end of their didactic work, and still have no preceptor.

The partner in the relationship cannot be over-looked. I really cannot emphasize this enough, and while there may be a few who don’t have to deal with this, the partner in the relationship goes through a lot, too, while the student is working on their didactic and clinical work. I don’t really care how supportive people tell me their partners are, there WILL be push back, I guarantee it. There will be times when home life is not perfect, or there is an important discussion being had, and the call comes in from the preceptor that a client is in active labor. You have to get up and go. There’s no time to finish the conversation. Everything gets put on hold, or you miss the birth. Missing the birth is traumatic for you, but also for the client who got to know you. There will be times when you are driving to that birth, and you have to clear  your thoughts of what you left behind, and you have to walk into the birthing space, and leave all your worries at the door.

So, make sure you discuss this with your partner, in detail. This is no easy road for both of you, and no easy road for your children…

Our children…sigh…this is by far the hardest part. Our children miss out so much when we are going through this journey. There are missed birthdays and holidays. There are cancelled or postponed trips. The T.V does become the prime babysitter. Healthy meals, well they don’t happen as much, or at all. Fast food is easiest when it’s the end of the semester, and you have to turn in all your assignments in order to complete the class. Oh, I can be all romantic and say, “but my children see how important this is to me, and they will remember that mom went to school while she had a family.” Yeah, I don’t know. I think they will say, “I missed mom a lot when she was going to school.” Tears…

For me, it helps that my children are older, and can drive themselves here and there, and that they don’t need a babysitter, and can fend for themselves when I’m not home. They don’t need help bathing, getting dressed, brushing their hair, etc….However, if your children are young, then you have to consider the need for an on-call babysitter. Realize that a lot will be missed when you are away on births, and while you are needing to complete your assignments. Your children will grow up while you are going through this journey, and are you prepared for what you will miss, and what they will miss out on?

Extra-curricular activities are no longer a part of your life when choosing this route. Be prepared to not be able to just take a weekend to the mountains or to the beach, because assignments need to be turned in, or a client is within dates. That research paper won’t get done while you are frolicking in the mountains. Sure, if you finish all your work on time, there might be time to enjoy a mini get-away, but I’m sure you’ll be catching up on the messy house, and cluttered corner!…or cluttered cornerS.

Responsibility to our clients. Going from doula to student midwife, and then eventually to midwife has given me much to ponder. As a doula,  I am not responsible for anyone’s well-being or life. The care provider is responsible to make sure the pregnant person is continuing down a low risk route. They are responsible for an unborn baby!! There are so many health issues to consider: How’s the pregnant person’s blood pressure? How is the fetus’ heart tones? How is fetal growth going? What do the lab results show? Is there GBS present? How about gestational diabetes? Is that pre-e developing? Let’s consider the possibility of shoulder dystocia and how we will manage that if it occurs. Fetal heart tones are not recovering well after a decel. We must always be prepared to resuscitate a newborn.

These are things I never had to think about as a doula, because as a doula, I offered education, emotional, and labor support. Midwifery is not just about offering support. Midwifery is about offering individualized, competent, prenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum CARE, meaning, it’s not simply about offering support. Midwives have to deal with life and death situations, and make sound judgement about when to continue at home or birth center, and when to transfer care to an OB or hospital. Midwives and doulas have such different roles, that the two can’t ever be compared. They are two different worlds in their roles, yet, can be the perfect team for a laboring person.

I didn’t even mention our personal well-being! A small note: It’s not easy performing self-care like eating healthy, drinking enough water, exercising, meditation, etc. I gained 20 pounds the first year of midwifery school, ugh!! I’ve been able to get a handle on that, and have lost those 20 pounds, plus another 27 pounds. I still have not been able to find time to exercise, though. Additionally, sleep deprivation is real: long hours on school work and then births.

There’s so much more I could write, but I’ll leave you with these few items to think on. Like I said, I’m not trying to discourage anyone from going into the midwifery profession. I’m also not going to romanticize this journey and make it all rainbows and unicorns, and skipping merrily through the woods. This road is H.A.R.D. Is it worth it? For me, it definitely is.  Ask me again in five years, and I’ll probably tell you, I’d do it all over again. Right now, I’m in labor, so be prepared to get the nitty-gritty of this extremely challenging, birthing experience. Who knows, I might even yell and moan a little as labor continues. We need MORE midwives! And now you are informed on the challenges and you can make an informed decision to go into midwifery work.

Pictures below:
Left picture is Winter semester, 2017 when I was doing research for practice guidelines.
Center picture were some of the books used for Winter semester, 2017
Right picture is self-explanatory

 

Here is some information on becoming a midwife.

New Clinical Placement

A bit of history: Back in 2012, I became friends with Tesa Kurin. Back then, she was a doula, and was studying to become a midwife. I watched Tesa as she moved along through midwifery school, being in a clinical placement, and even going to the Philippines for three months to do clinical work. She did this all while parenting six children. I have eight children, and was parenting six children when I began to wonder if I could become a midwife.

As I began to get the midwifery calling, I started asking Tesa questions about school, and asked her if she thought I could do it. She answered all my questions, and encouraged me to look further into midwifery. Although I had already received the calling to be a midwife, I had not fully listened to it. However, having seen someone with a boat load of children, such as myself, doing this, I knew it could be possible. Watching Tesa’s journey inspired me to move forward and to accept what God was calling me to do.

Fast forward to 2015: I began classes at Midwives College of Utah (MCU) in January 2015. I began my first clinical placement in March 2016. However, my preceptor retired, and my last birth with her was in November 2016. So, now I was in need of another clinical placement. While there are two other midwives serving my city, they are currently not taking any students.

Tesa filled out the preceptor application and is now an approved preceptor with MCU!!! A couple weeks ago, Tesa and I signed the clinical training agreement, and I now have my next clinical placement!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Still in the assist phase.)

One little thing, though: Tesa’s birth center is 93 miles, which is approximately 1 hour and 30-45 minutes depending on traffic, away from my home! Right now, distance is not a barrier! I’m ecstatic to begin this placement, and I’m excited to see what Tesa has in store for the future of her birth center. I do believe I’ll be able to move right into the primary phase by the end of this year!

Today (4/18/17), I began apprenticing at the Antelope Valley Birth Center in Lancaster, Ca. It has been a great day and I also get to apprentice along side another MCU, Rebeccah! She is the primary student, and I am the assist.

Halfway Mark!

This is the halfway mark!! Today marks exactly TWO years since I began my journey with Midwives College of Utah (MCU). When I considered becoming a midwife, I was a bit unsure of which school to attend. Could I really do long distance learning? Would it be structured enough for me? Would I be able to be committed? Would I be smart enough? So many questions, and no way to figure it out unless I tried it out.

Thankfully, MCU  has a continuing education program. Students can enroll in a few classes, without any on-going obligation. Entering the continuing education program was my way of testing the waters before fully committing to distance learning. After the first semester, I was hooked! I took a second continuing education semester, and applied to become an enrolled student. In Aug of 2015, I became an official enrolled student.  However, my academic journey began earlier that year in Jan 2015 with the continuing education classes.

Today, I reflect on how frightened I was to go full force, still unsure of my calling. Unsure if I was fit for long distance learning as a student over 40 years of age. Still praying about moving forward and wondering if this was God’s will for my life. Wondering if I could hold it together while still raising five children, with six still living at home, and cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, school runs, teaching P.E., helping my children with their homework, helping my husband with his business, continuing to be a doula, church activities, volunteering at church, yearly youth camp (week long) trips, periodic youth trips, my daughters school competition trip and then comes the preceptorship. What’s more, attending MCU is year round with a three week break between semesters to rest before the next semester begins. Their academic year is divided into trimesters: three-15 week trimesters with three week breaks. Thankfully, I have been able to continue the forward momentum.

This journey cannot be forged, though, without the support of many people. With the support of my husband, my daughters, my son and his finance who sometimes pick up the slack and will drive my school-aged children to school or pick them up after school if I’m at a birth, MCU students who have cheered me on and have been my study buddies and a listening ear, and my MCU house mother whom I can text or call anytime I need help, I am able to continue on this journey to becoming a midwife!!

Here is a small window into the support from my children:

testing-chair-watermarked
When I am taking an exam with an online proctor, there cannot be any interruptions. For this particular exam, I told all the children that they could not come in the room while I was taking the exam. When I was done with the exam, I found this chair they had put in front of the door to block entrance into the room. One of them wrote this note: Don’t go in. Mom is taking a test.

Completion of the didactic work should be somewhere at the end of Dec. 2018 (almost exactly two years from today). It does seem unreal to be two years into this work, it will be equally           unreal when it’s all completed!!

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…

 

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+

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.”